12 Aug Meet Matthias – story of a local from South Tyrol/ Italy
You can only get to know a country by meeting its locals.
May I introduce you to Matthias, a local from South Tyrol/ Italy.
Community and values
‘One for all and all for one’ – that’s how they roll in Schenna. If someone is in trouble or needs help everyone pitches in for each other. ‘It’s always been like this and that’s how I was raised’, Matthias explains. Matthias is a 32 year old farmer from Schenna, South Tyrol– an autonomous province in Northern Italy. Tradition, solidarity and community play an important role in this region and those values are deeply rooted in the people – as it is in Matthias. Ever since he was young, Matthias has been involved in one of the community associations as an organiser. They arrange trips and events for the community members but they also organise traditional, cultural and social events for Schenna itself. Matthias also manages the fresh water supply for his village. The water that comes from the mountains is urgently needed for the various farms in the area. Seeing that food production (apples, wine, cheese and ham) in South Tyrol plays a vital role in the population’s life and livelihood, it is a huge responsibility and time consuming job Matthias does on the side.
His life as a farmer
With his wife Ruth, his daughter Anna and with his parents Matthias lives on an apple farm in a beautiful (and one of the oldest) buildings in Schenna. Ever since he was a child, he has had to help on his family’s farm. There was always something to do, he explains. In 2014 Matthias took over the farm from his father and is now the 6th generation running it. Besides South Tyrol’s dependence on food production this region is also dependent on tourism – so is Matthias and his family. 10 years ago they built another house with 5 apartments which they rent out to tourists that go there in summertime for hiking and skiing in the wintertime.
Innovative idea at the right time
At some point renting out apartments and running an apple farm wasn’t profitable enough as the prices for apples dropped on the world market. Matthias had to think of another way of securing his and his family’s life. Since he has always been interested in making alcohol he turned his hobby into his second profession. Resolutely Matthias decided to create his own spirit and liquor brand.
He dealt with lots of bureaucracy for a long time but eventually managed to get licensed in making alcohol. He started off with 5 different types of spirits offering it to his guest only. Getting told that his brand had potential for something bigger Matthias decided that he is going to sell it at the farmers market soon and is also planning to organise tastings and guided tours on his farm. Right now he makes nut, apple, apricot, grappa and pear liquors but he is planning on making more flavours soon. He hopes that everything will work out in their favour.
Here you can get in touch with Matthias if you are interested in renting one of his apartments or in purchasing his spirits.
Watch my Vlog about Matthias making liquor on his farm:
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