Paolo Rosi is a modern-day risk-taker. Owner of Via Vecchia Winery, Rosi is originally from a village in Tuscany, “where there are no Walmarts,” mind you. He has taken the family heritage techniques of winemaking to Columbus, where the natural trend is only beginning.
The winery itself is similar to what you would expect from an Italian city, combining rustic detailing with church-inspired arches. Located in The Brewery District, Via Vecchia is all about the natural process of winemaking, grape crushing and all.
Winemaking today is far different than what it used to be, as it begs the question, “What does natural really mean?” The issue, aside from artificial processes, lies in the default categorization of wines. Lindsay Everson, marketing manager, said, “Wine is being manipulated to fit palettes… What a cab tastes like is not really a cab.”
“It’s what supermarkets have done to chickens and cheese,” Rosi added. What often happens is that places start with a perfectly good grape, more or less; it’s the steps that follow that alter the quality of the wine. So when a group of friends are enjoying their $6 bottle of sauvignon blanc, they aren’t realizing that what they’re drinking is more than just delicately fermented grapes. A bottle of wine with a better quality winemaking process and a higher price tag, then, is out of the picture. Everson explained, “Wants turn into needs, and appreciation turns into demands.”
So why Columbus? Everson explained that, for Rosi and Michael Elmer, co-owner of Via Vecchia, “It’s family. This was a fun thing to do and it evolved into this. It wasn’t in the cards … It was a matter of chance.” And with the pattern of trends, who knows when Columbus will get a taste of the fresh and trendy East Coast? “I’ve had my eye on New York because they have natural wineries and I think it’s starting to cross over,” Everson said. Rosi added, “The East Coast is educated.”
What makes Columbus different from the East Coast, however, may simply be more than the lack of awareness; it could also be the particular location. Everson said, “The Brewery District is a destination spot. In the Short North, park your car and you’re there all day.” Despite being settled in The Brewery District, Rosi and Everson agreed that the most important thing is to get the natural wine movement out there.
“We could cut corners like everyone else, [but our honesty stems from] integrity of history. It’s Paolo’s family history,” said Everson.
Think of Via Vecchia as Willy Wonka’s factory; after being closed to the public since 2012, the winery recently began welcoming people in for Wine Wednesdays. On the last Wednesday of every month, enjoy an appetizer plate and a glass of wine! Entry is free, appetizer plates are $14, glasses of wine are $8, and bottles (take-home only) are $26.74.
Looking to buy Via Vecchia wines? You can find them at Celebrate Local, Bexley Natural Market, Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza and Ale Wines and Spirits in Powell.