As I missed out writing a blog for the week first week the TV show Second Chance Summer went out, I am going to do a bit of a catch up.

The evening of the show, however, was entertaining as I was in a local restaurant called Rintocco,
which is in Cinigiano and in my opinion one of the best places to get pizza in the area.
I was with Stavros the Greek and a friend of his and we were all watching the show on our
phones, when he looked up halfway through the episode to say “my friend has to go”. Timing
wise it couldn’t have been any worse, but I am now used to the Stavros way, so we left the
restaurant. Once outside the WiFi stopped and I couldn’t watch the show anymore. Stavros
came to the rescue by connecting to the mobile network and putting the phone in the window
mounted cradle he has, and we drove home watching the show.
Cast your minds back a couple of weeks ago when I told you how Otto and I ran over the top of a
wild boar on a corner on the drive back from the airport, remember? Well, it would seem all the
wildlife have been talking and saying this is the place to cross as the English will drive over the
top of you….! Because, on this night, we turn the corner and a bloody porcupine decides it’s time
to cross the road.
Yep, a bloody P O R C U P I N E!
I shout “PORCUPINE!” And as casual as you like, Stavros says “where?” swerves and we miss it
We stopped up the road and I went back to check, luckily there is no sign of it and we pottered of

The start of the next week brought Vinitaly in Verona. Vinitaly is the largest wine show in Italy,
and possibly in Europe. Over 4,000 wine producers attend Vinitaly to showcase their wines.
Being a start up in the wine industry, and based in Italy, I thought I would pay it a visit and see if I could find any new wines to try and grow our portfolio.

I was lucky enough to be sent a link by my friend from Villa Patrizia, which is a small organic
winery not far from me and whose wine I will be featuring. The link entitled me to a free ticket, but
I had to apply for it by the 4th of April, which I did….on the 4th of April.
I booked an apartment in Verona for the Monday night, organised Jackson to stay with Stavros and asked the GM of the local hotel if I could print my ticket for the event.
I emailed the link to the reception team in the hotel who opened it to say “Oh, you needed to have
printed this by the 4th of April.” You can image my reaction to this. Then I realise the event
organisers didn’t reply to my application until the 6th of April….!
Before panic set in, I made a quick call to my friend Gregorio (the guy in the crowdfunding video
with Jackson in the background) who had a spare ticket for the event as he was exhibiting and was on his own.

Once I finally found my apartment in Verona, I was greeted by a lovely lady who was the owner.
She showed me around the apartment and explained that she would bring me coffee and breakfast in the morning as there were none in the apartment.
I asked how I would get to Vinitaly and she said “the bus, I will show you”.
We walked down to the bus stop and she looked at the bus schedule for a while before saying
“you take the 51……no, no you take the 11 to….or is it the 12, it’s the 11 to the stadium, then
change onto the 12” then she looked at me and smiled and said “capisci?”. I think the vacant look
on my face said it all. “You stay here, I will get my car, STAY HERE!” and off she went, leaving
me standing in the street feeling like I was under strict orders to not move a muscle.
She appeared, as you can image, like Cruella De Vil screeching to a halt and beeping manically at me
from across the street, “come Rob, come, come” and off we went to Vinitaly at the speed of light!

I found Vinitaly to be a bit of a circus, but a lovely way to immerse yourself in the Italian wine
market and try wines from multiple regions all in one place. I also got to spend some quality time
with all the boutique producers I have met since being here and whose wines I will soon start
exporting to the UK.

I wanted to just write and say a huge thank you to all the people that have taken the time to write
to me over the past few weeks. I think episode 2 of Second Chance Summer really struck a chord
with a few people and they have taken the time to write to me. I have received some of the
kindest messages from people, all being so supportive and all wishing me well.

Those who know me, know that I’m very honest, sometimes too honest. So, I wanted to tell you
all that your emails have really given me a boost, I really struggle here in Tuscany with the
loneliness of starting over in a new country. The isolation I can deal with, it’s just the extra layer
of solitude that you get from not being able to communicate fluently with people all the time. I
used to love going into shops and chatting away to the butcher or the people in the local coffee
shop back home. I am trying to learn Italian, it’s coming along slowly, but I was never going to be
fluent overnight. I have Jackson to keep me company which I wouldn’t change for the world, and
when we are out exploring I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just think that with the show being
out now and all the moments they have used of me talking about my parents it’s made me feel a
little more alone than usual.

So, again, thank you for your words of support and encouragement they really do mean the world to me.

We also are so grateful to all the people that have placed pre orders for our wine.  We passed the £2,000 mark this week which is a huge achievement, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you wouldn’t mind sharing the things that I post, I would really appreciate it, I’m trying to grow
my business as organically as possible, and that needs you to help it grow.

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