May 1: International Worker’s Day. Celebrating Hard-Working Italian Women in Wine

It finally feels like spring today or even almost summer, a far cry from the recent weather we’ve been having on the East Coast. It certainly is good weather for May Day, also known as International Worker’s Day. We don’t celebrate it in the United States but in many parts, it is a national holiday, including in Italy. It is one of the long weekends which Italian call “il ponte.” That usually means the holiday falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday and people take off Friday or Monday as well and have a four-day weekend. There is a big concert held in Rome on this day, and many use it as an excuse to go “fuori porta” or away for the weekend or day.

When I lived in Italy, I remember spending this weekend sailing or at the beach. I believe I once went to Ponza, one of the islands off the coast of Rome – le Pontine. I also spent one May 1 sailing around Elba and another one sailing around the Porquerolles and then one sailing around Capri and the Flegree islands – Ischia, Procida. Thinking back on those amazing trips, I am thrilled to have been able to do them. Six to eight weeks a year of vacation makes it all possible in Italy.

May day is about workers and while Italians do have it better than most in terms of holidays, no one works harder than Italian women – between family, kids and their professions. Today I want to say salute to so many women producers that I am friends with, have worked with and respect. These five women are on my mind as I just saw them all at Vinitaly, working hard. Susanna Crociani from Tuscany, Angela Velenosi from Le Marche, Ilaria Petito from Donnachiara, Diletta Malenchini, also from Tuscany and Alessandra Noventa from Lombardy. I hope they are all sunning themselves somewhere lovely today. Knowing them as I do, I bet they are but are also keeping an eye on work. They are all incredibly hard-working and determined women and their wines are lovely as those who have tried them know.

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