How a best friend and a bottle of wine led to a friendship and a new blog

It was on a cool June night last year in Piedmont that an Italian winemaker took his American writer friend for a dinner party at the Cascina Iuli, Fabrizio Iuli and Summer Wolff's amazing estate and winery in Monferrato. 

Giovanni Arcari (in the photo above), a grower and winemaker from Franciacorta (near Milan) had come to Piedmont in northwestern Italy to visit his long lost friend from Texas, Jeremy Parzen, who was teaching at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences there. After a Saturday full of winery visits, the two headed to the Iuli farm for dinner. 

What followed was a magical night under the stars replete with a classic Italian country meal — charcuterie and fresh cheeses followed by wholewheat rigatoni tossed in creamy wild asparagus and grilled meats as the main — and an impromtu piano bar concert accompanied by an acoustic guitar with two strings missing. Needless to say, the merriments continued late into the evening. 

But the thing that made the soirée even more memorable was that Fabrizio share a new wine with his dinner guests that evening. His "La Rina," made from an abandoned Piedmontese light red but tannic grape variety called Slarina. Once known only to the old-line farmers in the area, Slarina is now being revived by Fabrizio and other likeminded grape growers who recognize its immense potential and deliciousness.

Maybe it was the brio of the get-together or maybe it was the moreish aromas and flavors of the bright and lithe Slarina, but something magical happened that night. By the next morning, Fabrizio, Summer, Giovanni, and Jeremy had decided that they needed to find a way to work together — to recreate that magic in their professional lives.

Many emails and WhatsApp calls later, Summer has asked Jeremy to join the Hootananny Wines team as one of its in-house bloggers (she, the other one). And voilà, the Hootananny blog is born! If you're here reading this, please stay tuned: Summer and Jeremy have just begun to populate this virtual space where the hope to share the enchantment of the wines, the meal, the conversation, and the music that came together that night. 

Thank you for being here and please stay tuned for more. We're confident that you will enjoy the blog as much as we enjoy writing it!