In preparation for Open That Bottle Night (live, only on Palate Press; Saturday, February 26 from 7 pm – 10 pm EST), contributing editor Howard Hewitt shares some information on the bottle he plans to open for the event.


I was lucky to visit Italy for the first time on a work assignment over the 2010 New Year’s holiday. Unfortunately, I had just one day to make it into Tuscany and visit two wineries. I found a transplanted New Jersey man trying to start (and still is) an internet sales business in the U.S. for small production Italian wines.

Anthony Finta was kind enough to take me into Tuscany and visit two small wineries. Our first stop, and the most charming, was at Corzano e Paterno only 30-40 minutes south of Florence. But it’s off the main highway and around some corners, up a dirt road, etc. The estate featured old homes on hilltops, pastures for the milk sheep, and vineyards.

Arianna Gelpke, winemaker, gave us a tour of the winery. We tasted sheep’s milk cheese made by her sister and heard the stories of how their father, a Swiss architect, bought the property in the 1970s.

Galpke also shared her wines. I had never tasted Chianti as pure and cherry-driven as these beautifully crafted wines. I stuffed a bottle of the 2006 Il Corzano e Paterno Tuscan blend into my suitcase. It is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon (40 percent), Merlot (15 percent), and of course Sangiovese (45 percent).

It was a cool and wet day on New Year’s Eve 2009 that the Gelpkes welcomed us to their property and into their homes for a visit. The countryside near their estate was stereotypically picturesque. I can’t wait to savor the wine and re-live the memories.


Howard HewittHoward W. Hewitt is a former career journalist who writes a bi-weekly newspaper column in Indiana. he also writes about value wine on his blog, Grape Sense – A Glass Half Full.

  • Basil

    I have found out about this winery some years ago. They produce outstanding wines of great quality and frankly I can’t think of any better Tuscan wines under 50 € a bottle.