In the year 2000, Mila Voulo took an opportunity to leave Rome and return home to the Amalfi Coast to live out her dream of restoring the historical vineyard and farmhouse her father bought when she was sixteen. The telecommunications company she worked for started to lay people off and she volunteered to be cut. She explained, “It wasn’t a bad job, but I had to go. I had no family and other people needed my job more than I did.”
Throughout the Amalfi Coast, top restaurateurs smile at the mention of her name. She’s always on the region’s short list of leading producers and as soon as we met, the passion for her work was evident and her free-spirited charm made it easy to understand why she’s well-liked everywhere she goes.
The Voulo family property is known locally as Passione, a fitting name for this once famous vineyard that made some of the finest wines in the Amalfi Coast. It has luckily found its way back into the right hands to stage a renaissance. Upon her return, Mila committed the property to organic farming and began to reestablish the vineyards, hazelnut trees and olive groves. With the help of a well-known enologist and viticultural specialist, Guido Busatto, the Aglianico vines were the first to be planted, in 2001, followed by Fiano in 2004.
Located in southern Italy’s Campania region, the IGT Colli di Salerno (hills of Salerno) is a sweeping appellation that covers the coastal land from the Amalfi Coast to the Cilento Coast along many of the hills close to the Mediterranean.
Passione is located just north of Salerno, on the sparsely populated north face of Giovi, a hill that gives much of the city its prime south-facing views of the sea. Mila’s vineyards receive ample sunlight during the summer and fall and the cooling nighttime winds from Monti Picentini bring the added advantage needed to produce wines of freshness and good acidity in a warm climate.
A perfect view of the picturesque and iconic limestone hill, Monte Tubenna, Mila’s hazelnut and olive trees and a wild forest surround the vineyard on all sides. The vines are planted on clay soil rich in limestone and organic matter, full of nutrients and a good natural water storage capacity to keep the vines happy under the hot southern Italian sun. Beneath the clay are deposits of limestone pebbles that rest on a limestone bedrock. This gives the more vertical elements of the wine, while the clay gives it a more horizontal richness. It’s a perfect place for high quality viticulture and its storied past is no surprise.