Italian Students Visit New Ag School
12 Italian high school students, from San Ginesio of the Province of Macerata, visited The New Ag School (NAS) on November 10th. The objective of this field trip was for them to get acquainted with the wine business and industry in the United States. These boys and girls met with Doug Fabbioli the Executive Director of NAS and vintner at Fabbioli Cellars for an educational tour. This very promising visit might be the first steps to an exchange program as well as a sister city program, between Leesburg and San Ginesio.
The students were eager to learn more about the wine business in this part of the world. They were fascinated with very aspect of the tour: The vineyard, the tasting room, the barrel room and the production facility.
“This is what makes our approach special. At The New AG School, we equip our students with all the skills they need to build a successful career.” -Doug Fabbioli
“The students, as well as the teacher that accompanied them enjoyed being in the vineyard. We went over the varietals, soil requirements, vine pruning. These students have a wine program and winery in their school and it was easy to see that they were in their element. They were keen to learn about the similarities and differences of running a wine business in this part of the world.”, explains Doug Fabbioli.
Not only did the Italian students learn about the technical skills of making wine, but they also learned more about the personal skills require to run such a business. Doug Fabbioli invited Beth Erickson, the President and CEO of Visit Loudoun, Loudoun County’s officially designated tourism development and destination marketing organization, and Kindra Dionne, owner of the first Black-owned wine company in Loudoun County to address the students.
“This is what makes our approach special. At The New AG School, we equip our students with all the skills they need to build a successful career. It takes more than just knowing how to make good wine to make yourself a name in this industry, it takes creating and nurturing relationships, passion, perseverance. We teach the technical skills but we never forget to bring in the soft skills that make a huge difference in our methodology. Beth Erickson explained that if we make a good place for people to live, tourists will always want to visit, to see what it is all about or to see if they can move here. And more visitors in town also means more visitors for the businesses”, says the Vintner of Fabbioli Cellars.
He adds that Kindra Dionne, who also sits on The New Ag School Board, perfectly synthesized the vision of Loudoun County’s Wine industry when she talked about diversity in the wine industry and mentioned how wine is a beautiful product that brings people together and how it is important to have people of different backgrounds represented in the industry: “Another activity that really engaged the students were the videos. When I teach my classes, I really like to find extracts from movies that inspire and gets the point across. The visiting students really enjoyed that and it gave way to a really nice brainstorming session. With this first visit we are really looking to develop an exchange program. We want those Italian students to come here for internships and send our students over to Italy. We have even begun to talk about the possibility of Leesburg and San Ginesio becoming sister cities”.
A possibility that Sue Xueyan Su, the President of Via Soccer wants to see become a reality. Via Soccer is the organization that made the Italians student’s visit to the United States possible.
“At Via Soccer, we connect cities through sports and then make sister cities, which then opens up the possibility for both communities to exchange programs both educational and economic. We have been visiting Fabbioli Cellars since 2020 and have always enjoyed the experience. I met Doug in 2021. I was impressed by his philosophy, his open mind and passion to teach young people. The students loved their field trip at The New AG School and Fabbioli Cellars. They were very inspired by Doug’s stories and felt connected to him, since his family is from San Ginesio of Macerata Province”, says Sue Xueyan Su.
She shares that she has already talked to San Genesio Mayor about Leesburg as a sister city. With this new opportunity sticking its nose over the horizon, Doug Fabbioli is very excited at the prospect of branching out the New Ag School’s programs and teach the new generation of farmers from other corners of the world.