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Course of Oenology and Tasting within the Master in food and wine criticism

“I would like to tell the world of wine, both in terms of production but also how we interpret everything that this world gives us”, these are the words with which Dominga Cotarella’s story begins.

Daughter of art, of the renowned oenologist Riccardo Cotarella, Dominga Cotarella was born in Orvieto in 1974. She enters the family business at the age of 16, where she follows public relations in Cantina Falesco (now renamed the Cotarella Family). You graduated in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Tuscia. After your studies, you began a training period in the area of ​​public relations and marketing at the court of the Antinori. She then returns to Falesco, where today she holds the role of Sales and Marketing Director. Since 2016 she has been at the helm of the company together with her cousins.Dominga Cotarella, one of the most famous figures in the world of Italian wine, will be part of the teaching staff of our Master in food and wine journalism with the discipline: Oenology and Tasting. We interviewed her to learn more about her path and to get a taste of what her course will be within the Master.

What is your role in the family business?

“I play the role of Marketing and Commercial Director of the Cotarella family. We have had a historic estate in Montefiascone since 79 ‘then my father decided to build a new winery in Umbria, in Montecchio. Then in 2017 we bought Le Macioche in Montalcino where we harvest the Brunello. So there are in total three estates in three different regions, namely Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany. Once we joined the company, my sisters and I, we decided to highlight the value of the family and we renamed the winery as Cotarella family “.

What is the most important teaching that your father, one of the best known and most esteemed winemakers in Italy, left you?

“My father and my uncle started this company together for the family. Our mothers taught us to stay in the” back “of projects by making a difference. And our fathers have always taught us the value of consistency. Be consistent. and credible are the values ​​to which they have always given more importance “.

Having grown up in the world of wine, have you always dreamed of becoming an agronomist from an early age or were you interested in other sectors?

“When I finished linguistic high school my father and my uncle were thinking about choices such as economics or communication sciences. I remember very well when I went to my father and told him I wanted to study agricultural sciences. He was speechless and then said to me” But why? You never said you wanted to be an agronomist. “And I:” You’re right, I’ll never be an agronomist but I want to be credible when I tell about wine. “Having a base of knowledge and competence is essential to have authority in the world of wine. So I decided to graduate in agriculture knowing that I would never be an agronomist, but these extraordinary five years of university have given me the knowledge base and the right skills “.

What led you to enter the world of education?

“I have always loved the world of young people, training and teaching. I think it is important to make children fall in love with study and the subject. If you love a subject, you will talk about it with emphasis, enthusiasm and involvement. I believe that also the sense of hospitality is an art and cannot be separated from training. Tell us about the course you will give at the SWSF Master, what will it be about? I will bring all my experience into the world of wine. Surely there will be a part linked to the more scientific and technical aspect such as research in the vineyard, experimentation, as well as the oenological and agronomic culture.

We will talk about the identity of the wine, which is linked to four factors mentioned three do not depend on us: genetics, territories and vintages. But we will also talk about a fourth factor that determines the identity of this extraordinary product next to the others: the ability of man to interpret what nature made available to you in that year and in that area. It is not simply the sum of the factors of that territory and that vintage, but it is also the product of our perception. In fact, there is an objective and scientific component, but there is also a subjective component that is the result of a series of experiences. What is the importance of having a solid foundation in oenology for food and wine critics? Culture and knowledge gives us greater credibility and somehow increases our listening skills and abilities. I think knowing how to listen is much more difficult than knowing how to tell. And knowing how to listen also means understanding what our client wants. When a food and wine criticism is made, it means entering the DNA of what we are analyzing, knowing how to interpret it and then know how to tell it. The more our skills and knowledge are, the more credible we become. We must enter the project, this course where I have the honor of being able to participate is just the example, in order to be able to talk about a topic and deal with it with great consistency and credibility, a specific path is needed. Passion is enough, even if it is important, but this must be supported by a training course “.

What advice would you give to future food and wine critics attending the SWSF Master?

“I advise future students to never stop studying, never stop being curious, and to always deepen to get to the core. This allows us to grow and fall in love with this job, ultimately doing it with love and passion”. 

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