An interview to a young wine-maker, who chose a pirate name for his company, Il Bey, and he aims to the international market.
Giuseppe Privitera, athlete and sports coach, in 1995 took over the family business. The centuries-old vineyard and olive trees of the Bey are located in Oliveto, not far away from the coastal city of Imperia. Oliveto is a wonderful hill village, tight between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. Since his childhood, while living such a bucolic life, dipped in the old Ligurian countryside, he has always taken stock from the familiar tradition, and in the last years he has successfully conjugated his passion for the old fascinating countryside with his entrepreneurial spirit. Tradition, Professionalism and innovation are only a few of the corporate values he believes in, in order to produce only quality products. The Bay wines – Vermentino, Pigato and Rossese – tell about a a charming an charateristic land such as Liguria, talking to Italian client but also foreign ones: from Switzerland, Germany, France and even from area of the ex-Jugoslavia.
Bay is a very particular name, where it does come from?
Bay used to be an Arabic peerage, which literally means leader (commander) or governor. We have chosen this name in order to remind a forgotten story, and to honor our origins, the ones of Corsair who founded Oliveto. His name was indeed Bey. The story tells that one of the Bay of Mustafa, the Tunis Sultan, fled in the XV century, stealing away a huge treasure. He roamed and roamed all over Europe, trying to find a safe place in one of the biggest European cities, without success. Then, once tired and bruised, he has been found by a local farmer, right next to my ancestor house, in Oliveto. Everything is history so far, but now we need to immerse ourselves in the myth. They say that the farmer and his daughter took care of the Bay, and on the other hand, the corsair has fallen in Love with the farmer’s daughter. They got married, and had 7 sons, all called Bayo (the sons of Bay). From here on out around the city of Imperia we will see growing up fast the line of Beiro, now one of the most common family name of Liguria.
The Business is owned by your family since longtime ago, lots of generations, someone says even from the XVIII century…
My ancestor at the very beginning were used to produce only olives, just like every family. We also did have a part of the field dedicated to the vineyard and a small animal farm, but oly for the family livelihood. Only in 1995 I decided to develop what my family left to me, transforming it into a real farm business. I left behind what I though was my future, being a soccer coach and teacher of sport, and I became a farmer, because of my deep passion. The base of our corporate philosophy is the affection to our land and to our products we try to tell a story through our wines, the “Vermentino della Riviera di Ponente”, the “Pigato” and the “Rossese”, the story of a farming vocation and attachment to our territory.
Please, tells us about the relation between the Bay and the territory…
I grew up in this farm. Since I was in first grade, I use to help to my mom, working in the vineyard and gathering olives. I always kept in my heart the slow and fascinating rhythm of the countryside life and the respect my parents taught me for the fruits of nature. Respecting traditions is one of our core value, and goes together with the attention to the future, and the innovation. We keep some old practices, as maintaining the old walls made by stone which we call “muretti a secco”, but on the other hand we decided to abandon intensive work techniques. The Bay practices an integrated agriculture, without using any herbicide nor artificial fertilizer. We also care about sustainability, as we use a photovoltaic capacitor.
In March you took part to the Slow Food Expo in Bern, Switzerland. Can you tell us about this experience…
This was our third year of participation to this exposition, and here we met an interesting market niche, where clients were particularly interested to the Ligurian gastronomic traditions, especially concerning wine and extra-virgin olive oil. Thanks to this experience we built important networks. In fact, we don’t have an export manager for the Swiss Market, but we go personally to expositions to promote our products. The Bern exposition is oriented to the B2C (direct selling to privates) market and, as such, we are able to make people know everything about our products. Our goal is to represent the Ligurian region, participating to as many international expositions as possible, such as “Slow Food Germany” or “French Expos”. Every year we come back home richer, in terms of experiences.
How’s gone in Switzerland? How did they like the Ligurian wines?
The answer could not have been more positive. Aside from the gastronomic point of view, the Swiss market is interested in tourism industry as well. The majority of people already knew Liguria, and they remembered the quality of products, and its excellences. To them, buying our products, is just like buying a postcard full of memories. The ones who do not know the territory, as soon as they teste the product, want immediately to know what is the origin, and how is the relation with the territory. We tell them about our work, about the influence of the Mediterranean wind, about the particular configuarion of the territory and about the passion we put into our efforts to maintain it. It happens often that people met at exposition, come to our farm to explore the land of good wine.
Projects for the future?
From Switzerland to the former Yugoslavia, this would be our challenge for our future. We met our representative for the Balcans Slow Food Exposition, and we discovered the growing interests of these countries for the Italian wine. This would be a difficult match, but we’ll face it even thanks to the OCM vino, which helped us in finding always new satisfying prospective. Our farm door is open to anyone who wants to know about the story of our products, our territory. We are ready to go!