A family-run winery with a great story

A family-run winery, Cantina Botrungo is a great story of tradition. The wine shop was once located in a neighborhood dotted with many great wineries but much has changed since Sergio’s grandfather started the company. While the wine shop remains in its original location, many of the others were replaced with condos. Sergio remains firmly planted in respecting tradition while employing modern techniques to make better wine. As a small producer it is important for him to create wine that is representative of the region. So in the thirty hectares of vineyards in Salento, near Brindisi there are only native grapes, which Sergio believes is the best expression of the land.

The winery only uses wine from their own grapes and you can find single varietal offerings such as Ottavianello, Susumaniello, Malvasia Nera, Negroamaro, Primitivo and Fiano Malvasia Bianca. Cantina Botrungo sells directly to the consumer so it’s possible to taste and buy wine on site. They also feature many great local products including cheese, olive oil and traditional spreads like rapini, olive and artichoke. For those looking to hold events, the top floor includes a great dining room with a view overlooking the city.

Experience the "cooking with wine" philosophy

While there are plenty of well known large wineries throughout Italy, Cantina Botrungo is a great story of a local, family-run business that has been able to survive and thrive throughout the years. We met with Sergio, third-generation owner of the winery who proudly showed us artwork on the building celebrating the hard work his grandfather put into the business. This sense of tradition and respect is felt throughout as we toured the wine shop, Sergio showed us both the old equipment as well as the new, sharing why they moved to some newer techniques to make wine.

Afterwards we made our way to the top floor where there is a room for special events and a terrace with a great view of the city. Today we would learn to make very traditional dishes – braciole, ciceri e tria and orecchiette – the pasta dish of Brindisi – that means “little ears” for its shape. While cooking isn’t new for me, or Dave who has been working in the kitchen for nearly twenty years, we were really keen to learn the traditional way to these typical dishes of Brindisi.

Braciole is a simple dish rolled beef filled with garlic, celery leaves, pecorino cheese, salt and pepper. It is cooked in a sofrito, rose from the winery and tomato puree. Cicero e tria is a classic dish with dried chickpeas and small pasta tossed with capicolla and pecorino. It’s the perfect dish on a cold winter day as it’s so filling. It was one we knew we would make back in Canada. And the real treat was the fresh orecchiette, which was made with wine from Cantina Botrungo.

After making the meal we sat down for lunch, tasted the various wine from Cantina Botrungo and were able to talk about the tradition of making food in Brindisi and how one dish may be made in a nearby town like Bari but could be totally different. It was also interesting to hear how the chickpea dish was once considered peasant food but is now quite trendy in restaurants as people are too busy to make it at home. It was unfortunate to hear but I guess everyone around the world gets too busy to cook at home as much as they would like. But I do know one thing; we will be making these dishes back in Canada.