Straight from the hills of Tuscany, Michele is one of the newest members of the Ponte team and will be blogging once a month. We can’t wait to hear the perspective of Temecula wine country from someone who was practically destined to be a wine lover from birth.
In his first entry, Michele tells us a little about what brought him to Ponte…and about his first American meal.
I am Michele, I am 26, and I am from Tuscany. I joined Ponte on February 13th, and a lot of you ask, “What are you doing here?”
Today I will write a little about my history, and about my first month in Southern California and at Ponte Winery.
I was serving wine in my family cellar in Tuscany when I met my girlfriend, Renee. We spent so much nice time together in Italy that she decided to stay in my family home. But, this had to finish because she had to come back to California for school. So, I started to send resumes to some wineries in Temecula, to stay close her, and to have an opportunity to see and work in this very young wine country.
Claudio Ponte answered my e-mail and, after a Skype interview, he told me, “You are in.” You can’t imagine how happy I was! So, after a long procedure for my visa, I booked my flight and arrived in LAX the first week of February. When I arrived, my girlfriend let me experience the California life style by bringing me to In And Out Burgers…ahhh that was my first real American burger of my life!! Nice way to start.
The next Monday I drove to Ponte Winery; I was very excited to start. The first day was super busy so I came back home very tired but also super excited to go back the next day. During this month I worked also with Mark the winemaker, a very cool guy. I spend 2 days a week working in the cellar with Cuva, our cellar assistant, to see how wine is made. In my opinion, this is the most creative part of the wine business.
What I really like about Ponte Winery is the feeling of being at your home, the respect for each other, and that everybody is ready to help a friend (here, associates are all friends). I like also that the guest is at the center of everything. We love people and we want them to spend a wonderful day in the country.
I have goals that I am working for while I am here: I want to someday be able to manage a winery, but I also want to bring to Italy all that I am learning during this year.
Finally, I want to say thank you to all the people working with me. Thank you for your patience and for letting me feel at home.
–I’ve now been to In And Out. What other California restaurants should I try while I’m here?