Frank Maruccia is wearing jeans, polo-shirt and a light jacket; but what really catch the eye, are the traces of mud all over his hands. Since 2009 he has taken care of 90% of the tasks at his own vineyard. To produce his own Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Callet, he cultivates the land, operates all the machinery and even treads the grapes himself. Frank made his dream come true by turning his hobby into his job.
He studied Economics in Germany and Northern Ireland. He started working as a junior partner, but soon started his own firm – studying the market and advising clients. The company grew fast, but Frank wasn’t satisfied. “I worked six and a half days a week, was the first one at the office in the morning and the last one who left, I had no private life,” he recalls. “I always knew I would not want my life to be like that forever.” In 2003, an American businessman became interested in the firm and the sale was quickly arranged. Although Frank continued working at the company for four more years, he also then had a holiday apartment on Mallorca.
By 2007 he finally left his work in Hamburg, with a clear goal: moving to Mallorca and finding a piece of land where he could become a viticulturist. “I never imagined that I would be able to do this so soon in life, but once I got my opportunity, I dedicated myself to pursuing my dream,” he says.
Frank found a piece of land that fit his purpose, in Llucmajor in 2009: 1.5 hectares with topsoil, where he could not only plant vines, but also build his bodega and house. Now he wakes up in the middle of the vineyard and spends his time taking care of his plants and producing good wines in the most handcrafted way possible. That means, for example, that the grapes only get rainwater; he has never watered the grapes artificially.
Although he works with the oenologist Stefan Winterling, he only employs people to help with sowing vines and grape-harvesting. “It takes a lot of time to make your own wine.During the fermentation period, I have to get up every four hours to push down the grapes in the barrel, so they do not float on the surface,” says Frank. “The most important extracts for a good wine are in the fruit. If the grapes remain on the surface, the taste of the wine gets lost. To get up every four hours is like having a new-born.”
“My goal is not to be faster, better or richer, I had these things. My goal in life is now to mingle with good people and to be happy. I genuinely enjoy my country life, I like hearing the chickens in my backyard. It’s a kind of work that connects you with nature. It grounds you. In the truest sense of the word you’re connected to the earth.”
When he realized that he was producing eleven thousand litres of wine a year, he decided it was time to share his passion. In 2011 he founded the Club de Vino 953: a group of wine lovers who were not only interested in Frank’s work, but also appreciated it and bought the wines. “In the beginning, the idea of 953 members had to do with giving each member a number of vines they could also work on. It was a clear mistake. You cannot attend to 953 members properly,” he says. “And, more important, I realized quickly that I did not want people in the club who didn’t appreciate the hard work or understand my philosophy.”
Today the wine club has a total of 135 members and this winemaker would like to keep it like this. “They are people that I wouldn’t know if we didn’t share the same passion: wine. We enjoy the same things together and build relationships.
With every bottle he uncorks, Frank is reminded of his childhood dream. The dream he made a reality.