Filippo Resente’s snail farm, including the land where saffron and spirulina are grown, was one of the start-ups awarded at the end of ReStartApp 2014: “During the course I met Miguel Acebes, who became not only a good friend, but also a business partner: Giulia and I had the chance to live and work in Tularù, and we tried to develop our business idea on the land made available to us – says Filippo –. We soon realised, however, that our project had no future”. The couple spent a year in Ponzano di Cittaducale, in the Rieti Apennines. “That first experience working in the mountains made us understand that we were looking for a more balanced lifestyle, in harmony with nature”. After working with Tularù, Filippo and Giulia decided to give up the snail farming project and move to the Marche region, where Giulia is originally from. In 2017 their first daughter, Matilde, was born In Jesi (Ancona). “It took us a while to find the farm we were looking for. The one where we live now had to be completely restored. We live upstairs. Downstairs, once restoration works are completed, there will be a warehouse and a tasting room” explains Giulia. To reach the farm, one needs to leave the provincial road heading to Cupramontana (AN), and drive up a white road: via Rovejano. “When we got here, we fell in love with the farm. I said “I want it!!”, she jokes.
Filippo remembers how he praised the beauty of the vineyard, making the previous owner laugh.
“We bet on the reclamation of these abandoned vineyards, in an area near Cupramontana that was not deemed particularly suitable for this type of culture. This certainly contributed to lower the value of the land, making it affordable for us. Indeed, a one-hectare vineyard considered at the end of its lifecycle is normally worth between €25 and 30 thousand, while you need at least €55 thousand for a ten-year-old vineyard at the peak of production. Someone says we should even have uprooted the old vineyards because they were not productive enough, but we are a small family-run business, so we decided to focus on product quality, offering a truly unique wine having a strong identity” explains Filippo. “This is also how we chose the name of our start-up, Colle Jano, drawing inspiration from the myth of Janus, the god with two faces – one looking back to the past, one looking ahead at the future”, he adds The vineyards also include some ungrafted grapevines – specimen that have survived Phylloxera, a parasite that, starting in the mid-19th century, has devastated grapevines all over Italy.
Ungrafted (or own-rooted) grapevines are those deeply rooted in the soil. There are few such grapevines in Italy, situated in areas having specific climatic conditions, a specific altitude and soil geology, or isolated. Indeed, starting in the mid-19th century, a plant insect, Phylloxera, destroyed a huge number of vineyards in Italy and across Europe. Phylloxera is an aphid parasite that feeds on the roots of European grapevines, ultimately killing the plant. The response to this plague was grafting European grapevines onto American roots, which are resistant to this insect. For this reason, all new Italian vineyards are grafted onto American roots.