Behind The Wine with Valentina Passalacqua

Eoghan Neburagho-Gregg
4 min readJun 17, 2020


Behind the wine is a series of interviews at Natural Swill whereby each edition will be a personal interview with a different winemaker in the natural wine industry.

Designed to create a more wholesome connection between the winemaker and you the drinker.

Today I’m going to open the gates for you to an oasis of easily drinkable, very appealing natural wines produced by a true rockstar and lover of all thing natural, Valentina Passalacqua.

To be frank, I have a very soft spot for Valentina’s wines, her Calcarius rangs was one of my first experiences with natural wines and let me assure you, it was 10/10. From the 1-litre bottling method and the low alcoholic percentage (most of her wines average 9%-11%) to the truly stunning colours, each one posses. Now think about the outstanding value for money on all of her wines and you have yourself an immeasurable experience.

Sold yet? Well if not, without further a due here’s a close look inside the living legend herself, Valentina Passalacqua ladies and gents.

Where in Italy are you from? Did you grow up in a wine family?

I call my place “Peaceful Valley”, we are in Gargano, Puglia.

No, actually my family has been working for decades within the marble industry, since our area is one of the most important pole of marble extraction. That was what we can call “Karma business”; after have being extracting to Mother Earth I engaged into a complete different relationship with Mother Nature: seeding, curing and collecting her fruits.

Why is organic or biodynamic farming & low-intervention wine important to you?

For me producing natural wines is so important because I think that it’s necessary to respect Mother Nature. In fact, Natural wine is just our first step towards a deeper understanding and connection to Mother Nature. In order to foster more empathy, we have to first make peace with ourselves. We do so by listening to Her. We do so by simply taking care of Her and showing gratitude for Her many loving gifts.

You are famously recognised for your glou-glou wines and 1-litre bottling approach, Is there any specific inspiration behind that or was it your plan all along?

I love glou-glou wines. They give you a flavour characterized by acidity and freshness. They are easy to drink, without the need of a great dish pairing; they are fabulous during a picnic.

Concerning the 1 liter bottles, I’ve tried to “democratized” natural wines. Indeed, I was inspired by my grandfather mineral water bottles, where he used to put inside his wine.

At what point in your life did you decide that producing and selling natural wine was the road to take for you? Have you got any regrets?

With the birth of her first daughter, I felt the unique and irresistible emotions typical of a mother. I was immediately seized by the desire to leave a better land for my daughter. It was an emotional pursuit as much as a physical one. How can we make a positive contribution to the world by respecting the soil, the sun, the mountains, the forest and the sea? My answer was wine.

I’m absolutely grateful for living my natural winemaker life.

What is the biggest problem you most often face in regard to domestic and international distribution?

We have no problem with international distribution. Within the domestic area we can see a lack of natural wines knowledge and interest. Actually, we need to use more resources to conquer new wine lover. We try to communicate our natural wines that are the future of winemaking. We think that the world is going toward that directions

Moreover, the great Covid19 lesson is that we have to eat and drink good stuff, respecting Mother Nature and ourselves: SHE deserves it, we deserve it.

Two Questions From Your Fans On Instagram

@rickjamesf : You have been making natural wine for 10+ years now and I am interested in finding out who is your favourite producer in the industry that you have discovered along your ten-year journey?

I love Austrian natural wines: they have the right acidity, freshness and

I really like natural wines produced by Slobodne, Gut Oggau and Nestare, among others.

@guswawa : As someone who has a brand myself, personally I really admire your work and your branding especially. What was your thinking behind the Calcarius branding and was it Breaking Bad inspired?

After several years of production, I felt the need to isolate inside our vineyards some parcels characterized by exclusively calcareous soil of the kimmeridgian type. Thus, was born Calcarius: wines of mineral terroirs, thesis and without compromises.

On the farm are grown indigenous varieties that are the result of a cultural-historical contamination which has its roots in Magna Grecia: Nero di Troia, Bombino, Greco, Falanghina, Negroamaro and Aleatico first of all. The approach in the cellar wisely not interventionist does the rest. Those indicated on all labels are the atomic number (20) and atomic weight (40.08) of the chemical element of calcium (Ca).


A truly insightful look inside Valentina’s wines and her astonishing accomplishments. Surely you’re not still struggling for reasons to get behind a revelating winemaker like Valentina right? What’s not like?