Rich McCor, aka @paperboyo: the Bello e Buono wine tour

Rich McCor aka @paperboyo on Instagram has built up a large following on social media with his witty imagery. Constructed from photos he takes on his travels, they feature paper cut-outs he holds in place with a visible hand. It’s digital but analogue at the same time; you’ll need to take a look to fully understand the charm of the result. On @paperboyo’s Instagram profile Rich calls himself a “paper creative” because, he says, ‘I'm a little uncomfortable with the word artist, but photographer doesn't fully describe it either.’ He does have a form of words that he thinks sums him up well, though: ‘Someone did describe me as a non-destructive vandal, which I quite liked. I think that's appropriate because, yeah, it's sort of vandalising landmarks and landscapes, but in a way that’s non-destructive.’

The idea he arrived at through experimenting was to focus on largely recognisable locations and landmarks and put a new twist on them. ‘I try to make you look at it a second time in a new way,’ he explains. Now living in Brighton, he says he arrived at his distinctive style when he was living in London and getting into photography. ‘I realised I was taking the same photos that everyone else takes, and I remember someone saying that to stand out in the world of photography you need to either become better than everyone else, or different. I liked the idea of trying to find something that was different.’ Before @paperboyo, which started in 2015, Rich worked at the BBC in the creative team on the copy and editing side. ‘I think I was always a frustrated art director, really. So what I'm now doing is perfect for me,’ he says. A self-confessed F1 fanatic, Rich’s Secret Tip comes from a visit he made to Ferrari Trento, the maker of prestige Italian sparkling wine, when attending the most recent Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Any time you find yourself in northern Italy, you should really check out Ferrari Trento, this amazing sparkling wine company in Trento, north-west of Venice and north-east of Milan, and near the Austrian border. The name might make you think it’s related to the car company, but it isn’t. It was founded by Giulio Ferrari in 1902, and he is no relation to Enzo, who started the famous motoring firm in 1939. But Ferrari Trento is now the “Official Toast of Formula 1” and I went to visit it during the last Italian Grand Prix as I am mad about the sport.

Any F1 fan will recognise the Ferrari Trento logo and branding from the sparkling wine they use on the podium, but going beyond that, realising there’s a whole heritage and family business and history behind it, I think that’s quite fascinating. And then there is the fact that the sparkling wine originates from, if not exactly down the road, then not a million miles away from Monza itself where the Italian Grand Prix takes place.

The winery does a tour called Percorso del bello e del buono Paths through Beauty and Excellence – and despite it being such a prestigious and almost secretive place to visit, you can do this for free by getting in touch and booking in advance. Well, free apart from the last part, should you choose to end the tour by going for dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant the firm owns at the foot of its vineyards, the amazing Locanda Margon.

To begin, you drive up through some of the vineyards on what is almost a dirt track in places. And then suddenly, this villa emerges through the foliage, and it’s immaculate; it’s in beautiful condition. We were lucky enough that the sun was hitting it perfectly and the paintwork and the murals were looking amazing. The brickwork on the chapel was casting shadows and it almost looked like a film set.

This is the 16th-centuryVilla Margon, the family villa of the Lunelli family, who bought Ferrari Trento from the founder back in the early ’50s and has run it since. The Villa is like a spiritual home for the winery and is used for entertaining. The fact that it is completely hidden from view when you’re driving on the busy main road beneath it means it just takes you by surprise when you lay eyes on it for the first time.


A 10-minute walk away on the slopes, with their spectacular mountainous backdrop, are the vineyards themselves. They’re high up but they’re also in their own little crevice of the mountain. So they have their own microclimate where the clouds, the moisture and the sunlight are all probably just perfect to create the best conditions to grow the grapes. The head of viniculture who accompanied us explained that it is the altitude that gives the grapes the acidity that they require for sparkling wine.

There was a genuine sense of peacefulness walking through the vineyards; there was no one else around apart from one guy working on the grapes. Seeing the mountains and the clouds going through them in the background and then these lush green vineyards in the foreground – it was very idyllic. A very peaceful moment, just exploring. 

By contrast you then go to the winery, which is an industrial place of course. Because we were there during harvest we saw the grapes, which are all hand-picked, being loaded onto the conveyor belt and taken up to be mechanically pressed.

Ferrari Trento is right at the forefront of technology clearly, but they’re definitely holding on to, and are proud of, the heritage and the past. The wine is still made in the same way it always has been – the traditional method, as used in champagne. We met the new winemaker at Ferrari Trento, and he has previously made champagne in France. But obviously champagne is made in the wine region of that name. Here in Italy they have their own appellation for this high-quality sparkling wine: Trentodoc. But don’t make the mistake of calling it prosecco! That is made in a different way and is an entirely different thing.

There are still parts of the winery where you get a feel for the heritage and the family history. You go from a bright, almost sterile environment with the big steel vats to a dimly lit, almost medieval-looking underground world of the cellars. There seems to be miles of them, and here you can see a display of old dusty bottles too, dating back decades, and I was struck by how the brand logo is still exactly the same. So you can see the consistency, and there are rows and rows of bottles that are still turned by hand.

And then we went to their restaurant, Locanda Margon, which is right on the edge of the vineyards, perched up the side of a mountain. The chef here, Edoardo Fumagalli, is a young Italian and has a Michelin star. The meal was great and I lost count of how many courses it was in the end – and each dish was surprising. Not, overly gimmicky, but just in a very pleasing way. And obviously incredibly tasty. 

One thing I appreciated at the meal was the effort they put into the presentation of the food. There was one dish that looked like cigars in an ashtray that was brilliant. When they first laid it down on the table I thought ‘that kind of looks like a cigar’, but I kept it to myself and didn’t say anything to anyone. And then I realised it was done on purpose. When I looked closer there was even grilled onion, crushed, that had been designed to look like the ash. The bowl was like a large ashtray, too, so clearly the chef had thought through not just the food but the visuals too, which as someone who is visually minded was of course very appealing to me.

There was also a salmon “carrot” that was amazing – it looked like a big orange carrot sliced in half. I don’t know much about cookery, but the technicality of how they did this was very impressive, because when we cut into it, it unravelled itself – I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been to do. And then there was a raspberry that was actually cheese, and different-flavoured butters that were brightly coloured. So there were lots of very intricate, well designed, well thought-out ideas, and it was definitely a visual feast as well as a tasty one.

Of course, all the dishes were paired with the most incredible sparkling wines from Ferrari Trento. Again, I lost track of how many we tried, but they were all great. I was told that one of the reasons the firm opened the restaurant in the first place was to demonstrate how well these wines pair with food. I’d say they have succeeded.

You can follow @paperboyo on Instagram. Ferrari Trento, Via del Ponte, 15, 38123 Trento TN; Tel:+39 0461 972311; ferraritrento.com/en

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