Search: deconciliis

Drinks, Recently

by whitney on April 25, 2012

Here’s what I’ve been knocking back in the past week! Some Hungarian bubbles by way of Törley Gála at new resto Red Hill. Get into it.

Of the non-alc variety: a strawberry elderflower agua fresca at neighborhood favorite Forage. Yeah, that food wasn’t too shabby either. Pro tip- drink 1/2 of the agua fresca and refill with Pelligrino. You’re welcome.

Dug into some French vin while at Night + Market. I don’t remember what left these little snacks in the glass, could have been the Descombes 2010 Morgon I brought or the Domaine des Sablonnettes Le Bon Petit Diable Kris shared with us. Both most excellent.

“Visited” my old friend Bruno late Monday night with a glass of his 2004 Antece at Terroni. Fiano like you’ve never had it before. Have always loved this wine. Miss you boss!

I’m thirsty now.

Find me on Instagram @ubriaca



by whitney on September 20, 2010

A little over a year and 125 blog posts ago, I started Brunellos Have More Fun.  Also around this time, I was settling into my cozy digs at Casa De Conciliis, working my very first harvest and beginning what would be the most marvelous adventure I’ve ever had. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. So, I’ve decided to get retrospective and share some of my very favorite photographs from that magical time (and the posts that they accompanied). I mean, can you get better photography inspiration/subject matter than Italia??

Sit back, grab a glass of vino and enjoy.

It’s Raining Pasta- Sunday morning with a family in the kitchen. Happiness.

Mezzogiorno - aka Lunch at The Winery.

Ode to Moscato di Terracina- in Lazio with Andrea Pandolfo in some of the most beautiful vineyards I’ve ever seen.

The Secret Vineyard- my secret vineyard.

True Wines and The Ultimate Cellar- A day with Giampiero Bea at Paolo Bea in Montefalco.

The Lion Count & The Forgotten Varietals of Emilia-Romagna- Leone Conte, a wild Vespa ride & two people in love.

An Attic Full of Acid Never Tasted So Good- a peek into the Medici acetaia.

Liguria: A Love Letter in Photos- a stroll down the sea cliffs of the Cinque Terre.

A Lot of Olives Equals Not  A Lot of Oil- working the olive harvest in Tuscany with some donkeys and WWII parachutes.

Looking back over all these words and photos and memories, my heart aches (more than) a little. The people I have been so lucky to know, the laughs and stories shared, the glasses clinked and bread broken, the utterly breathtaking landscapes I have been able to experience…

If I never get back to Italy ever again, these could fill me with happiness for a lifetime.

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Going Back to Cali

by whitney on October 5, 2009

No, not me. Not just yet. But about 1,000 bottles I labeled heading for California. As I sat in the warehouse applying my 832nd label sticker of the day, I thought “maybe i should document this.”  If not only to be informative, then to at least momentarily cure my boredom. In a small winery, sometimes the wine is bottled and left unlabeled. When a large order comes in, the bottles are then labeled according to the country and importer. And at De Conciliis it is all done by hand. Yes people, by hand. So, here it is: a step by step peak into how a bottle gets packaged and ready for shipment.


Sunday Sip: The Last Supper

by whitney on September 27, 2009

Today is my last day in Campania with De Conciliis. I am sad to leave this beautiful place and these truly wonderful people, but there is much more of Italy to see…and much more wine to be sipped. To send me off, everyone went out for a special lunch at a local favorite, Nonna Sceppa. And I certainly can see (and taste) why it is loved.

biz card


Nonna Sceppa is in the town of Paestum, home of Greek temples and many a water buffalo. It is owned and operated by two brothers who happen to be married to two sisters. The men work the front of the house and the women run the kitchen. The menu is heavy on fish and seafood as are many menus in this coastal part of the region. Other items that pop up continually are eggplant, artichoke and the prized mozzarella and ricotta di buffala. We began our multi-course adventure with some Franciacorta. Bubbles and fried food = a match made in heaven.


Fried mozzarella with anchovy and tomato & Fried eggplant "meatball"

Fried mozzarella with anchovy and tomato & Fried eggplant "meatball"

Classic fritto misto of calamari, zucchini, alici (like sardines), shrimp & artichoke

Classic fritto misto of calamari, zucchini, alici (anchovies), shrimp & artichoke

We continued with the Franciacorta for part of the next course….crudo! Crudo =  raw. This stuff was fresh, fresh and more fresh. A bite full of freshness.

Shrimp and herbs on crostini. Simple and delightful.

Shrimp and herbs on crostini... Simple and delightful

Tuna crudo with a splash of aged balsamic on crostini

Tuna crudo with a splash of aged balsamic on toast. My favorite!

prawn bonanza

[click to continue…]


A Day in the Life of an Italian Grape

by whitney on September 18, 2009

I am in Italy and It’s September! I’m excited.  But, my enthusiasm is not due to gelato/pasta-induced comas or the ever increasing ability to wear long sleeves and jackets. No, I am beaming with delight because it is that magical time of the year in the world of winemaking. And the busiest time of the year. The harvest! Or, vendemmia, as they say over here.

In case you didn’t already know, I was given an invitation to join Bruno and the entire De Conciliis clan for some of the 2009 harvest. Their winery and vineyards are located in the region of Campania and in the town of Prignano Cilento, a couple of hours south of Naples. I join a whole crew of people who have descended on this little town for the sole purpose of crushing some grapes. There are members of staff that have been around since the beginning as well as some young Italian winemakers that are working and also getting mentored by Bruno for their own wine. In addition, there is a young winemaker from Austria and one from California both of whom have been traveling the world harvest to harvest for the past several years.

And then there is me. The newbie.  This is my very first harvest experience and I have learned heaps in just a matter of days. But, it has also made me realize that I have so much more to learn about this intricate process called winemaking. Anyway, I thought you might want a sneak peek into the world of a winery during the grape harvest. I know I would!

getting some juice

I come in each morning and spend the day observing and lending a hand as much as I can without getting in the way of the process. The first thing we do is taste all of the juice to assess acidity, sugars, tannins, etc. From this point, Bruno can decide the next step. Does it need more oxygen, does it need heat, to be chilled, to be racked (to separate the juice from the dead yeast, aka the lees), does it need nutrients to feed the yeast? And it’s amazing how much the juice can change in a day…even in half a day in the beginning stages of fermentation. Here is a great step by step outline of the general winemaking process if you so care to take a gander.


cloudy day

This is what the juice looks like before it actually becomes wine.

From this point, there are a few main activities. Each day there are different tasks to be done, but you usually don’t know what you’ll be doing until after the juice is tasted. If there are grapes coming in, we sort them by hand cassette by cassette off the truck onto a big conveyor belt. The stems are stripped from the grapes and the juice and skins travel into a tank or a press. Or the juice is immediately separated from the skins. But most of the time, we are tending to the juice already crushed.  What I never realized is how much of the process is just moving wine around. From tank to tank….from press to tank…from tank to barrel…from tank or barrel to bottle, etc.  That involves lots of long tubes and pumps.

down the rabbit hole

it's raining grapes

Aglianico juice being separated from it's skins.

grape escalator

The skins and all being sent into the press.

merry go round

The press rotates as an interior bag presses the remaining juice out of the grapes.

There are so many different things a winemaker has to think about on a daily basis. It really is multi-tasking at its highest form! Their mind must be in the vineyard, the tanks, the barrels and the bottle. The current vintage, the previous vintage and the next vintage. As we prepare this 2009 wine, we must also begin to bottle the 2008 vintage for release…stay tuned for bottling day!