Gede Sumarjaya Linggih (pak Demer) fell in love with wine in 1994. Ever since then he wanted to make his own, quality Indonesian wine. It was not easy because there are only two areas in Indonesia that can grow grapes. Bali and East Java. It was important not only because he liked cultivating grapes, but because Bali is one of the biggest tourist destinations and people who love the wine keep coming more and more – both Indonesians and foreigners.
Grapes were one of the fruits used in Balinese offerings, so all we had to do was find the farmers that produced the grapes and combine it what we knew from visiting vineyards in Napa Valley in the USA. It was difficult since we are not experts and the climate here is very different – said Bagus, Demer’s son, who is also infatuated by making grapes into wine. His family tried to make good wine for more than 20 years. First, they had the partnership with a British man who lives in Bali and they produced “Indico”. Then it was a partnership with an Indian and another British guy with whom they were making “Singaraja Hills” wine. But unfortunately, those partnerships didn’t become what Linggih family wanted them to be. Until two years ago when they met Giotto and Giacomo – two Italians in love in wine as well – and the successful collaboration began producing Isola brand.
Our vineyards are located in Seririt area in the north of Bali. In the west side of Buleleng regency, close to Pemuteran. This area is the best place to grow grapes because it has the least rain on the island, while still having a good source of water. It is located near the beach in order to avoid the rain and next to rice fields for irrigation purposes – said Bagus who is currently doing a little bit of everything in a company – from sales to logistics, sometimes even delivery.
We are still small. But we make a great team. My dad is not active in the company but he occasionally gives me advice and the contacts he has – said young Balinese. The winery is located in a village called Tajun in the east side of Buleleng and it is actually where Bagus’ family originally came from. They chose different places of winery and vineyard within the regency to give job opportunities for the locals – especially in Buleleng area. They want their product to be produced by Balinese with a knowledge of great Italian makers. And so far they are succeeding!■