Students and prisoners in the vineyard: the solidarity harvest of Torrevilla with Terre di Mezzo
Students and prisoners in the vineyard: the solidarity harvest of Torrevilla with Terre di Mezzo


Students and prisoners in the vineyard: the solidarity harvest of Torrevilla with Terre di Mezzo

WITH THE 2021 HARVEST, THE INNOVATIVE PROJECT OF THE TERRE DI MEZZO ASSOCIATION IS GOING TO UNITE THE MORE THAN 200 WINE-MAKERS OF THE TORREVILLA WINE-GROWERS ASSOCIATION, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AND INMATES OF THE VOGHERA PRISON.

Cooperation between the realities of the same territory can give birth to many things, even a new wine.

Torrevilla, the Association of winemakers that brings together over 200 winemakers in the heart of Oltrepò Pavese , has decided to take part in a project of social cohesion with a great impact , giving its availability so that an "unusual" group of workers could harvest in their own vineyards.

The initiative was launched by the Terre di Mezzo Association , founded in 2018 by the parish priest Don Pietro Sacchi of the parish of San Pietro di Voghera: after the pilot project launched in 2020 between Alessandria and Tortona, the decision was made to replicate it for the 2021. Then comes the involvement of the Voghera Prison and the Torrevilla Wine Growers Association, with a novelty compared to the previous year: the participation of students from local schools.

This is how an unprecedented group of grape harvesters takes shape in which the workforce and commitment of 30 students from the city's high schools, three students from the Maserati Institute and four inmates from the Voghera prison converge . Every day, for a few weeks, this group has been traveling by bus to the hills outside the city and, among the rows of the Torrevilla winemakers, the manual harvest of the grapes begins. A harvest by hand which on the one hand rewards the attention to manual work , on the other hand favors the comparison between different experiences and stories : the students are working the hours foreseen by the school-work alternation, the guests of the prison are instead inserted in the internship of a job bag insertion path. All are united by the desire to do, to test themselves, to grow . A desire that will animate the work even after the grape harvest, scheduled towards the end of September: students and prisoners, in fact, will support the winemakers of Torrevilla in every step up to the production of a new wine , which will have its own name and brand name.

«We are proud of our bond with the territory, which has been deep and has lasted for more than 100 years, and of our traditions, which we have handed down from father to son for generations. This is why we enthusiastically welcomed the collaboration with the Terre di Mezzo Association to carry out this wonderful project that puts people and the territory at its center, combining inclusion, nature and tradition, with the hand-harvesting of the grapes done by children and prisoners. flanked by our winemakers - says Massimo Barbieri, president of the Torrevilla Winemakers Association . We have always been sensitive to social issues and over time we have supported various solidarity projects, in the area and beyond. I remember, among others, the DiVento project, with Donne della Vite, or the wines made for the “Luca not to get lost in time” association, to raise funds for PaviAIL. But this is a new experience of which we can't wait to see (and taste) the final result: a new wine, which will be a symbol of inclusion, dialogue, hope, the future ».

"The purpose of our association is to bring together two worlds that would hardly otherwise meet - the world of young people and that of the realities on the margins within a project, a protected environment in which these realities can relate and both benefit from this confrontation. - explains Noemi Agosti, head of the project and of the Terre di Mezzo Association . Torrevilla's involvement has the aim of bringing to the territory young people - high school boys - who can rediscover the beauty of the vineyards and also to introduce farms to a reality they do not know, such as that of prison. Seeing four prisoners who commit themselves in fact breaks down an unfortunately consolidated stereotype about prisoners; to this is added that the work outside the prison walls thus becomes a very important measure for society and for social reintegration ».

TORREVILLA has been the association of winegrowers that has been a point of reference for viticulture beyond the Po Valley for 114 years. It brings together 200 winemakers who every day, with effort and dedication, dedicate themselves to the cultivation of vines on over 600 hectares of land spread over nine Lombard municipalities. Among the most dynamic realities of Oltrepò Pavese winemaking (about 50,000 quintals of grapes processed each year and an annual production of around 2,500,000 bottles), Torrevilla proudly claims its deep bond with the territory, the centuries-old experience handed down from its father as a son, and the desire to look to the future by investing in technologies and collaborations that make viticulture ever more efficient and sustainable.

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Students and prisoners in the vineyard: the solidarity harvest of Torrevilla with Terre di Mezzo

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