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Today I was doing some deep thinking… Yea, yea, sometimes I do that too! 😉

So, I was thinking about the people I know in just my own circle of friends who have given up their profession, to take up their passion as their chosen career. They were journos, marketing managers, bankers, engineers and so on who suddenly woke up one day and said, “Enough is enough, I wanna do what I wanna do!” And just like that (of course, with gallons of sweat, tonnes of talent and a little bit of luck!) have braved into the unknown and made it big… Hats off to all you guys – you know who you are 🙂

The handsome Emanuele Graetz tasting Chef Cananzi's Mushroom  Cappuccino

The handsome Emanuele Graetz tasting Chef Cananzi’s Mushroom Cappuccino

This ‘uncharacteristic’ deep thinking was brought about by a chance encounter with a young and handsome Italian named Emanuele Graetz, who was hopping by Mumbai with a bouquet of very exclusive and refreshing wines, shipped all the way from his family vineyards near Florence. What’s the connection, you ask? They are created by Bibi Graetz, someone who gave up his profession of making spectacular paintings on glass and instead took up making wines that have a little bit of craziness in them!

The glass-painter turned winemaker Bibi Graetz

The glass-painter turned winemaker Bibi Graetz

While Emanuele enthusiastically described how Bibi creates handmade wines from Sangiovese, Colorino and Canaiolo grape varietals, all from the verdant slopes of Tuscany, Chef Davide Cananzi of Mezzo Mezzo kept up a stream of delicious nibbles like Crisp Bruschettas and Rocket-Pecorino Salad, and gobbles like Lobster Ravioli with Sea Bass Fillet, and Baked Asparagus Pancakes with Black Truffle. Belissimo!

A platter of flavourful and fresh cheeses and dips at Mezzo Mezzo

A platter of flavourful and fresh cheeses and dips at Mezzo Mezzo

But what’s so special about these wines? For one, they have names that raise more than an eyebrow! The entry-level Casamatta means ‘crazy house’, the complex, full-bodied Testamatta Rosso means ‘a little bit crazy’ or ‘madcap’, and the Soffocone di Vincigliata is bound to induce a blush and a sputter amongst local Tuscans who know that ‘Soffocone’ does not just mean ‘Suffocation’! (Look it up!)

The beautiful painted label of Testamatta, hand-drawn by Bibi himself!

The beautiful painted label of Testamatta, hand-drawn by Bibi himself!

The famous bottle of Soffocone wine, with it's cheeky illustration!

The famous bottle of Soffocone wine, with it’s cheeky illustration!

 

And then there are the hand-painted wine-bottle labels – splashes of colour that instantly conjure up images of lush green Tuscan valleys with vines bending under the weight of grape bunches, Mediterranean blue skies and smiling Sunflower heads nodding in the breeze in bright yellow fields. But, the Soffocone is different – the charcoal sketch on the label here is an artistic representation of a nude lady, (cheekily targeted at a hot date!), which actually got banned in the US!

 

Grapes of Tuscan Valley

So that’s the story of the charismatic Bibi Graetz and his boutique wines… a successful and talented glass-painter, born into a family of artists, who turned to the complex art of wine-making and grabbed the world’s attention, not just because of beautiful packaging, clever pricing and crazy branding (check out the interesting website here), but also because of the unique taste of his handcrafted offerings that make them some of the most fashionable wines you want to be seen drinking! Salute!

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