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Selling Green Wine: Italian Winery Aided by LVC Student Abroad
11.16.12 |
“There’s an old peasant proverb: ‘Leave the land a little better than you found it,’” said Stefano Cantelmo, head engineer for Montevibiano Vecchio Winery in Italy.

Standing 20 feet below ground level, LVC sophomore Chuck Spinella and his fellow Umbra Institute students listened carefully to Cantelmo as he leaned on one of the 85 oak barrels full of new wine. The students visited the winery in the hills above the Tiber Valley on a field trip for their course, Business of Food in Italy, with Umbra Food Studies program director Zach Nowak. The course focuses on the differences in production, distribution, and consumption in the Italian food sector.

After showing the students the barrels in the winery’s cantina, Cantelmo described his work. “I designed the sustainability project for the winery,” he explained. “We use both high-tech (solar cells, biodiesel) and low-tech (passive cooling, roofs painted white) to reduce our carbon footprint. And in 2010 we were certified zero emissions.”

Montevibiano has since won a Slow Food award for sustainable winemaking and an award for wine quality – a great combination for the winery, according to CEO Lorenzo Fasola Bologna.

“We started the project because zero emissions was the right thing to do for the environment, and it was the right thing for the winery in terms of visibility,” he explained. Bologna and Cantelmo want to break into the U.S. wine market.

After Friday’s field trip, the Umbra students — many of whom are in the Umbra Institute’s Food Studies Program — will create two proposals for the Montevibiano Winery and two concepts for marketing the “green” wine in the U.S.

“‘Green’ isn’t the typical color you think of when you think wine, but we think it’s an even more important color than red or white, in the long run,” Nowak joked. "Montevibiano’s wine is the perfect marriage of tradition — their castle is over 1000 years old — and innovation. The students’ proposals will be focused on how to make eco-wine popular in the U.S., to promote responsible consumption that helps the earth."

His students said the field trip complemented the Business of Food in Italy course.

“It added to an already wonderful experience,” Spinella said, noting the value of “interacting with the workers and (hearing about) the engineer’s opinion on his wine … helped me to fully understand Italian culture.”

After a ride on the solar-powered golf carts to see the wineries’ vines, Spinella headed back to the Umbra Institute, which is an American study abroad program located in Perugia, the central Italian city known for its chocolate and 35,000 university students.

Learn more about LVC's study abroad program in Perugia by visiting

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