Letter from Italy: “A rainbow for the colors of life” by Alicia Lini.

Alicia Lini and her family have been making Lambrusco in Canolo (Reggio Emilia province) for more than 100 years. She’s one of my best friends in the wine business and one of the people I admire most.

April 5, 2020
Palm Sunday
Canolo (Reggio Emilia)

Dear Jeremy,

Here I am writing you a letter.

Nothing is obvious anymore. Nothing is the same, nothing we think of is like it was before. These days, everyone has something to say. But not me.

In the film “The Pursuit of Happyness,” Will Smith often carries a Rubik’s Cube with him. It has six sides, each with nine little colored squares. Each of the sides can be moved horizontally or vertically. I’m sure you’ve seen one before, haven’t you? There are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible combinations (yes, that’s trillions). But there’s only one way to solve the puzzle, when the color is the same on all six sides, all at the same time.

When the puzzle is solved, do these six sides represent happiness?

Over the last weeks, staying at home has meant mixing up those colors.

Every side of my life has been turned upside down, remixed, repositioned in an unexpected way. It seems counterintuitive but I’m actually happy that I don’t have to try to get all the colors to be the same. I just have to “try.”

I decided that when the coronavirus interferes with our lives, I’ll just let all the colors get jumbled — every time.

I grew up in the 1980s. I grew up with a Rubik’s Cube. But every time I look back on important moments in my true life, I realize that nothing ever happened without sacrifices, without breaking a sweat, without real focus, without delving deeper… Nothing ever happened without mixing up the colors.

I want to live this moment of my life by striving to “learn more.”

That’s exactly what I mean when I say I want to learn more about what it means to be happy.

More about opportunity to grow.

More about my deepest-held values.

More about beauty.

More about silence.

More about the sacred.

More about what I want to achieve in the world of wine.

More about what it means to be a mother and a woman surrounded by all these colors.

The keyword is “learn.”

If director Gabriele Muccino would have called his film just “Happiness,” it wouldn’t have been the same.

My daughters are big fans of rainbows.

In one of the last photos I took of our winery, there is not just one but two rainbows that stretch over the roof of our four generations. My family has been making wine for 110 years. Over the arc of that time, we have experienced two world wars, struggles, destruction, rebuilding, good times, tough times… and now even the coronavirus.

All of the colors are mixed up again. Just like they’ve always been.

Whether in times of challenges or times of great happiness, my grandfather would always open a bottle of Lambrusco.

I find hope in the fact that we can always open a bottle of Lambrusco together, as long as we are alive.

The important thing is that all the colors are there.

Sending hugs,

Alicia

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