The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

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Page 46 of 120

46 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 These were the words of an Italian man born in 1730 near Florence; they were translated to English and first appeared in 1774 in the Virginia Gazette. The man to whom they belong, Philip (Filippo) Mazzei, was in the American colonies at that time and rubbing elbows with the likes of men such as Thomas Jefferson. Soon he would not only be considered by many an American patriot, but within the same year would become a naturalized citizen of the colonies. Originally trained as a physician in Florence, Mazzei eventually left that pro - fession for a life more consistent with his family's merchant background. At the young age of 26, he traveled to London as a wine merchant and importer of olive oil, lemon tree shoots and other Tuscan specialties. While there, Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany also set Mazzei on a mission to acquire two Benjamin Franklin stoves. Little did Mazzei know that the completion of this task, and the encounter with Franklin, would one day bring him to an entirely new landing-place. During his tenure in London, Mazzei developed close ties with not only Franklin, but also other businessmen from Virginia. Given his upbringing around the libertarian ideals of the reigning Asburgo-Lorena family in Tuscany in the 1730s, Mazzei quickly fell in step with the political ideas that these American colonists were sharing. WINES OF LIBERTY AND INDEPENDENCE MAZZEI FAMILY TRADITION RUNS DEEP AT FONTERUTOLI AND BEYOND BY MARCELLA NEWHOUSE PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCHESI MAZZEI A view of the Mazzei family's estate at Fonterutoli. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCHESI MAZZEI

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