The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 54 of 124

54 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016 I PEERED OVER THE VOLUMINOUS DICTATED INTERVIEW WITH LARS LEICHT, National Director of Banfi's Cru Artisan Wines and realized something: Leicht offers a level of detail and thoughtfulness unparalleled by most. I suspect this has something to do with his experience as a journalist, but whatever the reason, what was originally going to be a general look at the past and future legacy of the traveling Cru Artisan College, is now a story of educational endeavor told through its creator, Lars Leicht—with a twist-ending to boot. Jessie Birschbach: Lars, tell me about your experience with Banfi and how you came up with concept for the Cru Artisan College? Lars Leicht: I've had a 30-year career so far in the wine business and I've been with Banfi the whole time. I've done selling to retail accounts for wholesalers, brand marketing, selling in wholesale territories, and even lived in Italy working in winery management, hospitality and European sales for Castello Banfi. From 1997 to 2013, I led Banfi's public relations initiatives. Three years ago we started Cru Artisan College; doing so was a way of consolidating winemaker visits, especially for me—I'm the company's official translator. We used to have several individual winemakers coming through for trips; we'd work with each of them. But with Cru Artisan College, instead of ten winemakers with ten different visits, we could get more winemakers together at once so I don't have to spend as much time translating! [We laugh.] But we've seen great results from this because it creates a synergy having many different winemakers on stage, with their differing arguments, { reflections } Q: The Sixth Sense LARS LEICHT REFLECTS ON EDUCATION AND THE MEANING OF WINE THROUGH HIS ADVENTURES WITH BANFI'S CRU ARTISAN COLLEGE by Jessie Birschbach / photos by Hardy Wilson Lars Leicht (right), National Director of Banfi's Cru Artisan Wines, translates for Italian winemaker Rudy Buratti of Castello Banfi during the Cru Artisan College.

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