- Liguria, Italy
Andrea Marcesini and his small farm, La Felce, can be found in the far east of Liguria, right on the border with Tuscany. La Felce--the fern--is the name of the località, like a lieu-dit, because the plant thrives in the acidic soils of the area. Andrea likes the image of the fern for another reason: it was one of the first land plants on Earth, along with moss and lichens and, “to add a little poetry,” La Felce is one the oldest farms in this corner of Liguria.
It’s the classic story of a multi-generational polyculture farm. Andrea had been working as a carpenter for years, but upon his grandfather’s retirement in 1998, he came back to the land. He was the first to shift the focus to production of wine in bottle. These days, though, he’s returned to the concept of mixed agriculture. Beyond wine, La Felce is a commercial producer of fruits, vegetables, olives, saffron, and honey.
They farm 6.5 hectares of vines, 11 parcels in the radius of 10 kilometers. Vermentino is the main planting, and it’s here in the Colli di Luni where the grape arguably reaches its greatest expressions. The vineyards are also peppered with Malvasia, Trebbiano, and Albarola for the whites; for the reds, you can find Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Massaretta, Alicante Bouschet, Barbera and Merlot. The ultimate goal is to cultivate perfect grapes, choose the harvest dates with maniacal precision, and then gently guide them in the cellar so that they make honest, elegant, territorial wine. The Marcesinis have always farmed organically, not for commercial reasons but for the desire to leave the land healthier for the next generation. Andrea’s son, Francesco, age 22, is involved 100% and is poised to take the reins when the moment is right. Viva La Felce!
For Andrea, wine is meant to be drunk, not to be marketed or fetishized. He doesn’t understand large wineries with seemingly endless stock of crafted and tailored wines. In his words, “it’s the market that has to choose the product, not the product that chooses a market.” He prefers the freedom of the IGP Liguria di Levante rather than classify his wines under the DOC Colli di Luni. Ironically, he’s the president of the newly formed consorzio for the DOCs of Colli di Luni/Cinque Terre/Colline di Levanto! He also created a beautiful project in a local psychiatric hospital, where he planted a small vineyard in the ward’s courtyard garden. He’s taught some of the residents to work the vineyard, giving them fresh air and a chance at work integration. In 2023 the goal is to bottle this comunal vineyard’s first 4,000 or so bottles.
Andrea is a busy farmer, ultra-protective of what little down time he has. He’s notoriously adverse to technology, including that especially pernicious example known as E-Mail. He was once spotted on Zoom, though, and there’s a video to prove it. Anyway, he’d rather be in the vineyards or out with his truffle dog, Otto. For all of these reasons, his wines have had little presence in the States. We welcome La Felce to Bowler with a tight squeeze!