Vespa means “wasp”… It’s NOT a scooter, and has NOTHING to do with scooters.

Here is how it all began…

Our first vintage was made in the cantina of Valter Scarbolo. On the side of this cantina there was a very large wasp’s nest.

Each day, when the ripe grapes came in, the happy little vespe would fly down from the cantina wall and lap up the sweet grape juice from the just-picked grapes waiting to go in to the press…

The press was loaded by hand. That meant naked skin near sweet grapes which, of course, was very close to the wasps.

Hundreds of them. Maybe thousands.

Eveyone got stung. At least once.

In my life, I had been stung twice by bees and wasps. In September 1998 I got stung at least 4 times.

Once, by a wasp which found a comfy dark place to nestle inside my jeans that were drying on the clothesline outside. I have never removed a pair of pants so quickly.

Fast forward to spring 1999… Lidia and Joe Bastianich, along with Emilio, our winemaker, Maurizio Castelli, our consultant, Valter Scarbolo, and I were outside tasting the various components that were to go into the winery’s most important blend.

What do we call it? (as the wasps buzzed around our table)…

Is there a mascot for the vintage? Some symbol of the first vintage? (as the wasps continued to be curious about the glasses of wine, some sweet, on the table)…

“I had a wasp in my pants,” I said. “What about Vespa?”

Laughter all around…

But the name stuck, and now Vespa Bianco is possibly the most important wine we make.

Remind me to tell you about the vertical of Vespa we did a month or so ago…



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