Language is wine upon the lips
This quote by Virginia Woolf seems as made for describing the successful union between wine and translation. We were a group of translators and interpreters from Campania, Puglia, Tuscany, Lazio, and Sicily who gathered yesterday on Sunday October 5th with a cloudy sturm und drang-like weather at Feudi di San Gregorio to learn about wine in Campania, wine terminology, and wine tasting in English. The main organizer was AITI Campania with Maria Chiara Spatarella. The AITI Campania team with Mark Walters, Natalya Vinkler, and Silvana Noviello were present and helped at the seminar. We started out early in Piazza Vanvitelli in Naples, heading towards Serbo Serpico and Feudi di San Gregorio where we received a very warm welcome by Lyllian Mele.
While Helen Farrell and me myself, Katarina Andersson, talked about wine and wine tasting in English, it once again became obvious to me how a common passion for wine, as well as language, can open up doors to new perspectives and new contacts and friendships. One often says that the way to a man’s heart goes through his stomach, and one could in a similar way say that a way to a translator’s heart goes through stimulating his/her mind. However, as I continuously argue, the stimulation of a person’s mind is not the same as filling it with facts and often useless information in a dull room. Rather, it is to try and find a common passion as a sort of common denominator, enveloped in a social and convivial environment which brings people together and somehow broadens their minds. This always worked when I was active in the local political party years ago, and today was yet another proof of how important the set up and the surroundings, as well as the way a seminar is organized, is for successful networking.
The morning session of the seminar was dedicated to an overview of vine varieties in Campania, the wines produced in the region and a guide to wine tasting in English. Thereafter, we got a tour in the winery led by Lyllian Mele followed by a lunch where we at the same time tasted their spumante Dubl, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, and Taurasi. The lunch was served as a buffet down in the winery among the wine barrels, in a quite relaxed and informal atmosphere conducive to networking and getting to know each other. This is, in my opinion, a fundamental factor for translators who often work in a quite isolated environment and might not get that many chances to meet and hang out with colleagues and friends.
There was not much space in the end to do a more in-depth demonstration of how a wine tasting and wine analysis is done, but many of the participants did not hesitate to ask me or Helen about the different steps in analysing a wine. All was done in a chatty and relaxed way, while mingling and tasting the different excellent dishes prepared by the chef at Feudi di San Gregorio. However, next time we will try and make space for a more extensive demonstration of specific factors to consider during a wine tasting.
All full and satisfied by the nice food and wine, the participants returned ready for the afternoon session which was dedicated to food pairing and the translation of wine labels, followed by a small hands-on translation task. Together with AITI Campania and Helen Farrell, I hope that all the participants were satisfied with the seminar and had as lovely a day as we had.
By helping organizing this seminar I hope, and am quite convinced, that AITI Campania took an important step towards creating a positive image of their regional section, which will help to attract new members and be conducive to networking and new contacts.
This was the second seminar in the series Words at the Winery, and the third wine and translation seminar (the first was Words & Wine), and I hope I will manage to develop this concept further with the help of Helen Farrell and another friend, Savina Tarsitano.