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Rare and Local: A Passionate Online Affair

Rare and Local: A Passionate Online Affair

Three Italians, the Finottos, embark on an adventure against standardized wines online and partner with Terzi for a gourmet coffee shop

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“The loss of man’s bond with nature leads to the disappearance of diversity as wealth”. In short, this is the philosophy of three Italians, Michele, Nicola and Giovanni Finotto, which gave way to an idea – selling fine wines online at reasonable prices on The wines they carry are not valuable because they’re vintage, but rather because they’re not well known – though they’re of high quality and from limited productions. A few such examples are the Casa Caterina company in Franciacorta, Italy, that makes biodynamic wines, and the Georgian Ramaz Nikoladze who makes wine through “qvevris” maceration, which involves burying pots underground instead of letting the wine age in a cellar.

This is the story of three talented young men from Lombardy - two brothers and their uncle, with less than 80 years between them - who in a delicate period of economic crisis decided to invest their money, energy and youth in conquering the world. It all started with a shared passion for wine and dining. Despite the fact that they were students of philosophy, they left university with the idea of selling wine online, at the condition that they go to the source and see it for themselves, even if it meant other sacrifices. From there the first stop was in Georgia, on the hunt for local producers. The search continued, along with the sale of other organic wines that were relatively unknown. It was a search that became structured over time, into a real “I’m wine” philosophy as well as a manifest (published in full on the I Am Wine site) that explains the businesses cornerstones.

What are the founding principles of “I Am wine”? “We’ve always fought a battle against standardized wines, herbicides, chemicals and forced fermentation. We enjoy wines that are made from grapes, time, a gift from the Earth and human patience,” explains Nicola. “But these principles don’t just apply to wine,” he continues, “now we’ve moved on to coffee”. The Finotto family has just opened a coffee shop in Manhattan, I Am Coffee.

The same diligence that they use with wine is now being used with coffee. They chose a name that is already known in the gourmet world, Terzi of Bologna, Italy, a purist like them who selects and purchases blends directly from importers. If you want to sell Terzi’s coffee, you must first pass a long training period and tough initiation tests. They passed.

“It will become a small temple amongst traditional cafés,” says Giovanni, “where you can not only drink coffee, but there will also be courses organized to accompany tastings as well as books and films”. This is all to take place in 7 square meters, put together by an artisan from Cremona that the trio brought to Manhattan. The objective is to make it clear to customers that a real cup of coffee is a work of art, like a glass of all-natural wine; for this, the size of the café itself doesn’t matter. “We started with Georgian wine and now we’ve moved on to coffee. But our search for ‘real products’ goes on. The rediscovery of artisanship and know-how, connected with nature is what we’ve been called to do”.

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