"Tenuta Arabona is the continuation of the family farm founded by my parents in the 1960s, who were passionate winemakers. Having completed my agricultural studies, I dedicated myself to the farm with the goal of increasing its size, diversifying the production line," said Domenico Radica, co-owner together with and Maria Antonietta De Acetis, of Tenuta Arabona winery.
"Since 1991, we have adopted organic farming methods on our 20 hectares of land, with the aim of processing the products directly fin the fields, in order to offer customers a product with a controlled supply chain."
Maria Antonietta De Acetis and Domenico Radica, owners of Tenuta Arabona
In addition to wine production, since 2006 the company has been processing native grapes into grape juice, jams and cooked grape must, made from one of Abruzzo's most widespread and ancient grape varieties, Montepulciano.
"With climate change and prolonged drought, farms are experiencing a difficult time. That's why I believe that staying anchored to the land also means embracing a lifestyle in which only a strong passion wins over daily struggles."
"The processing of grape jam has a long tradition linked to the territory, which has been handed down for generations. After the harvesting by hand of the whole berries, picked at an optimal point of ripeness - with different methods than for wine production - they are crushed, again by hand and with patience, through the traditional operation of 'scrocchiatura.' They are then cooked briefly over low heat, and then the skin, and any remaining seeds, are separated using a sieve," explained Maria Antonietta De Acetis.
Consumers who typically buy these processed products aim for ones that express tradition and service, but above all, enjoy the healthy aspect associated with organic, environmentally friendly farming.
There are two formats available, one of jam of 230 and 750 grams, and the other one of grape juice of 250 and 500 ml. The high content of raw material, long-lasting taste and the craftsmanship of processing, made without the addition of sugar, thickeners nor preservatives, are among the main selling points.
In addition to the produce basket, the company processes small batches of chili pepper pâté, pumpkin jam and Pera d'Abruzzo tomato puree. The latter is a local vegetable, brought back to the forefront by local keepers of biodiversity, who have recovered the seeds and promoted it. It is a niche product, with peculiar characteristics, being very delicate, as it lacks those resins that instead characterize hybrid products.
"Our cooked grape must is a niche product whose distinguishing feature is a high brix degree. It is processed according to strictly traditional methods, which is why it is in great demand as a condiment to accompany cheeses and meats. In Abruzzo, it is mainly used for the preparation of typical desserts."
"Critical issues at the moment include rising production costs and the difficulty of finding raw materials, including cardboard and glass, the latter of which has risen by an average of 30 percent. We are stocked in specialty stores and wine stores both in Italy and abroad (the United States, Denmark and Belgium) where the made in Italy brand of quality is in high demand and holds its own against competition."