Bash Redford: a dream winery stay in Piedmont 

Bash Redford started the Forza family with his childhood friend Michael Lavery. First there was a supper club, then Forza Win, the lauded and much-loved Italian restaurant in Camberwell and then Forza Wine, a rooftop bar in Peckham. They’ve recently opened a second Forza Wine in among the Brutal beauty of the National Theatre where they turn out superb small plates of imaginative Italian food – a light and lovely cauliflower fritti, coco beans with girolles – and a knock-out selection of natural wines. An all-round expert on the good stuff from Italy, Bash told us about an under-the-radar idyll in Piedmont.

When it comes to winemaking, Piedmont is about as good as it gets. To experience it at its best you need to go to Valli Unite, an incredibly well-run commune where they grow all manner of things on their gorgeous 112-acre farm. The ethos is Steiner-influenced so it’s minimal intervention. It’s run as a cooperative and all the people who work there have a share in it. When you’re there you drink their wine, and eat their cereals, rice, fruit, honey, bread and meat that has been farmed and butchered on their land. It’s about as cool as it gets. 

Every single day, without fail, the man who started the commune hosts a lunch at Valli Unite. For anyone who is mad about Italian food, it’s something you simply have to do. Everybody working on the farm downs tools at 1pm and they meet in this huge, converted barn. The butcher brings the meat, the cheesemaker comes with cheese, the winemakers come with wine. Guests can pay and join the lunch and it probably costs £20 or so but, believe me, it’s worth an awful lot more than that. It is a remarkable experience. 

Their natural wines were some of the first to make it over to the UK and they do a blend called Ottavio Rube, which comes in red and white and is pretty widely available across London. When I’m there I love drinking their gavi. It’s a very honest expression of the way that the grape should taste, a pure summer wine, slightly apple-y, just delicious.

A lot of Italian wineries are in beautiful valleys but Valli Unite is something else. It’s incredibly beautiful, postcard-beautiful. But more than that its ethos is beautiful. It’s so accessible and so welcoming. The last time I was there they sent me home with five kilos’ worth of sausages. And that was after drinking enough wine to float a ship. It’s just a place that dreams are made of. 

Cascina Montesoro, Via Montale Celli, 1, Piedmont, Italy; valliunite.com

To drink and eat with Bash, visit Forza Wine at the National Theatre London; forzawine.com

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