LA MORRA – BARCELONA, ROUNDTRIP
In this post, we’ll continue the fascinating journey about the life of Manuel Marchetti; read the first and second parts here: From Varaita Valley to Guatemala and Return to the Land of Wine. Before becoming a winemaker, Manuel Marchetti traveled three continents: from South America, where he was born, to the United States, passing through Turin and Barcelona and, finally, La Morra. Here in the hills of Barolo with his wife Luisa, he began a new chapter in his life with the historical winery Marcarini, where today he is the owner together with his children Andrea, Chiara, and Elisa.
MANUEL, AFTER THE EXPORT BUSINESS IN WINE THAT YOU FOUNDED WITH YOUR FATHER IN 1984 FAILED, MANY PEOPLE WOULD HAVE GIVEN UP. BUT INSTEAD…
Instead, we held strong and decided to being a completely new activity. After getting to know Buffetti at a fair in Milan, we decided to open a dealership in Bra. At the time, there were many new offices opening up, and people came to us as a kind of “specialized pharmacy:” we didn’t only sell technical office solutions, but also advice on how to optimize employee’s work habits.
BUT YOUR FUTURE STILL HELD SEVERAL SURPRISES.
Exactly. While we were playing the part of “office-supplier-consultants,” in 1985 I had the opportunity to get an interview with an important textile business of Alba. I presented myself at the interview, and they hired me, which in part was due to my knowledge of Spanish and English. At first I did secretarial work, but it wasn’t long before I made a career out of it. They offered me a directorship of their Spanish branch in Barcelona, which, at the time, wasn’t sailing in the smoothest waters. When I announced my transfer, however, it was an atomic bomb for Luisa Marcarini’s family, who was still my fiancé at the time.Manuel Marchetti and his wife Luisa Marcarini
Luisa was still studying agriculture in Turin, and she had just started her thesis. I didn’t want to wait: I promised myself that, before going to Barcelona, I would marry her and we would move to Spain together.
WHAT WERE THEIR REACTIONS?
Luisa’s father firmly opposed me. He didn’t understand why I had to marry his daughter while she was still in college. And overall, why she had to follow me to Spain. But I’m stubborn. He would have never changed my mind! We convinced them to let us marry as long as Luisa was given the chance to finish her exams. While she studied, I took a management course in Nice. From Monday to Friday, I was in France. I came back only during the weekends; and I had to find time for premarital classes.
WHEN DID YOU MARRY?
In July of 1988. Then we left for our honeymoon in Guatemala and Mexico, my birth land. And two days after we returned to Italy, we left for Barcelona.
HOW WAS WORK IN SPAIN?
When we arrived in Barcelona, we only had our car, a Lancia Ypsilon 10, but we supported each other. We rented a house near my office. In the beginning, we lived without furniture, camped out in the kitchen with our bed curtained off and a metal shelf as our armoire.
BUT NOT EVEN SPAIN WAS THE FINAL DESTINATION OF YOUR JOURNEY.
Our contract had us living in Spain for five years, but I was made to understand that they would have offered a much longer contract, in time. And I didn’t want to live as an expatriate for the greater part of my life, like my father. I began to want something of mine, my own activity. And Luisa’s parents continued to tell us to come back to Italy, to help them in their prestigious winery of La Morra, which was undergoing a restructuration in that moment.
Manuel Marchetti with clients of the Marcarini winery in La Morra
HOW DID YOU MAKE THE STEP FROM TEXTILES TO WINE?
It was a shot in the dark—we didn’t have any guarantees, just hope. We returned to Italy in 1990 and threw ourselves into the adventure of wine production. Luisa was an expert in the productive side of things, from the vineyard to the cellar work, as she had studied for this. She was very concrete. And I helped us with the many commercial contacts I had, especially in America. And I’ve always been an incurable dreamer. For us, wine was a whole world that we had the chance to create almost from nothing.
THE STORY CONTINUES...