Local writer Suzanne Hoffman pens ‘Labor of Love: Wine Family Women of Piemonte’ | VailDaily.com

Local writer Suzanne Hoffman pens ‘Labor of Love: Wine Family Women of Piemonte’

Suzanne Hoffman is not a wine expert. The valley local prides herself on being a wine family expert.

Hoffman first traveled to the Piemonte wine region of Italy in 1999. In March 2013, the licensed attorney began working on her first book, "Labor of Love: Wine Family Women of Piemonte."

"There was a book inside me about my experiences in Piemonte watching this transformation, not only of the region becoming more popular globally, but also watching the women come out of the shadows," Hoffman said.

'Labor of Love'

Hoffman set out to tell the tales of 10 families of the region, but she ended up with 22 families for "Labor of Love." All of the wine families have been rooted for generations in the Italian wine region of Piemonte.

These families have survived poverty, war and Nazi occupation, only to become part of one of the celebrated wine regions in Italy, with women emerging at the forefront after societal suppression.

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"My goal was to write about the women in the families, and that meant talking to the husbands, sons, brothers and children," Hoffman said. "The stories are rally diverse, but they all pretty much say the same thing."

In the 16 years Hoffman has been going to the region, she saw each story telling a tale of sacrifice, joy, loss and triumph. She's built a sacred trust with the families to tell their stories accurately, with some families telling their generational history for the first time in "Labor of Love."

The book captures the stories behind the labels, some centuries old, and combines them with more than 200 photos to give a unique look into the world of Piemonte's familial wine industry. There are genealogies of each family, some going back eight generations.

The first women to captivate Hoffman and set her on the path of "Labor of Love" were Giovanna Rizzolio, of Cascina delle Rose in Barbaresco, Italy, and her late grandmother, Beatrice Rizzolio.

Beatrice's story of grit, courage and determination — she helped Jews avoid Nazi capture, among other things — isn't well known outside of her family, despite being memorialized in the garden of the Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem. Hoffman dedicates one of the chapters in "Labor of Love" to the Rizzolios.

COLORADO ROOTS

"Labor of Love" has strong Colorado roots. Cindi Yaklich, of Epicenter Creative, in Boulder, designed the book and is responsible for the cover and interior design, including the family trees; Jody Berman, of Berman Editorial, also in Boulder, is the copy editor; and Hoffman worked with three Piemontese photographers from Alba, Italy: Pierangelo Vacchetto and his daughter Elisabetta and son Eugenio, who spent nearly a year photographing the families.

Editor Elatia Harris, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the only member of the editing and design team who is not from Colorado, and she is responsible for the conceptual and developmental editing of "Labor of Love."

The publisher, Under Discovered Publishing LLC, is based in Vail.

"Labor of Love" will be released at the Ca del Baio winery in Barbaresco, Italy, on June 2. The book's American release date is July 7 at The Bookworm of Edwards, and Hoffman will be there to discuss the book, as well as join in on the wine and book pairing event.

Hoffman enjoyed the experience of writing her first book, and the long days and nights put into "Labor of Love" have her looking forward to her next endeavor.

"I left so many stories on the table," she said.

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

‘Labor of Love’ on Kickstarter

Author Suzanne Hoffman and her publishing team of photographers, editors and designers have begun a Kickstarter campaign to fund a second printing of “Labor of Love: Wine Family Women of Piemonte.”

“We had to cut the run to 2,000 copies when we chose Italy over China for printing, but the demand is there for the additional 1,000 copies, so we’re trying to fund it through Kickstarter,” Hoffman said. “It’s a great way to pre-order signed, first limited edition copies of the book.”

To support the campaign, search for the book title at http://www.kickstarter.com.