Maarten Leereveld, commercial director of the ColleMassari Group shares with The Yum List some stories from behind the scenes and some of his favourite drinks.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
My job is to run the commercial and marketing operations of the Tipa Bertarelli top estates in Tuscany, namely ColleMassari, Grattamacco, Poggio di Sotto and San Giorgio.
I got into the industry of wine and food around 30 years ago when I moved to Italy, Tuscany and started as export manager for the famous Chianti Classico producer Baron Ricasoli. My father was the commercial director for Heineken in Holland so in one way or the other the family tradition continued. I prefer wine, of course.
From that time on, I have always been engaged in the promotion of great wine and food from Italy and more specifically Tuscany. By all means, after such a long time in this beautiful country, I consider myself more Italian than Dutch.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of my job is to be able to work with the best wines the region has to offer thus bringing a lot of pride to my work. Also meeting with people and cultures around the globe is such a beautiful thing.
The worst part of my job is when I am not travelling and have to do the boring office work. But then again it gives me time to consider many things and re-charge for a new trip.
What’s your favourite meal and drink?
My favourite food is chao fan and xiao lo bao! But also a simple plate of pasta with a homemade Tuscan meat sauce or just olive oil and garlic with Parmesan cheese can be amazing. When not enjoying wine, I love to drink artisanal beer like Baladin or Agricole rum.
What’s one of the wildest/ craziest/ scariest/ funniest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
When travelling so much a lot of things happen but you also learn how to stay away from trouble so fortunately, no scary things have happened. A funny thing that happened to me when I was in Vladivostok in Russia about 15 years ago. The hotel where I was staying had a casino and I had never been to one. So I tried the blackjack table. After not such a long time I had won 300 dollars!!!! Don’t ask me where my luck came from. So I decided to go and spend them in this freezing harbour city, met some fun young Russian and American students in a bar and after a couple of hours I spent all on vodka and beer to my new friends, and soon my 300 dollars were gone again. What a great way to enjoy a night out!
The perfect day off would be…
…relax, go boating enjoy the sun and an ice cold Montecucco Vermentino with seafood.
A day in the life of a commercial director is…
Never boring, always new things going on.
What do you do for fun?
Boating, sailing and taking my dog for a long walk.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Collemassari – Grattamacco and Poggio di Sotto?
The wines are amazing and of great character. They’re made with Italian passion and Swiss precision as I always say. The terroir where the grapes are grown is unique to each growing area delivering amazingly complex grapes. Organic viticulture is applied in all estates.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
Bistecca alla Fiorentina with ColleMassari Poggio Lombrone Sangiovese Riserva.
What’s your view on the wine scene in South East Asia?
The wine scene is young and vibrant. People are open to new experiences and not always biased to the big brands only. Extremely curious consumers are willing to learn more and more about wines.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We are now concentrating on what we are doing right now in order not to take away focus from the great winemaking. But you never know…. the owner Mr Tipa always has his eyes and ears open if something extraordinary in terms of a top estate in Tuscany may become available. But it has to be the top of the league.
Read more about ColleMassari wines here and find other interviews similar to this one with Maarten Leereveld here.