Lucas Lanci: From Wine Enthusiast to Wine Professor

Growing up in a large Italian family, Lucas Lanci always looked to food and wine as a medium of celebration and enjoyment. Seeing friends and family come together through the consumption of food and wine, cheering to good times and good company was something that sparked immediate interest from an early age. This interest soon turned into a passion as Lanci transitioned into collegiate life and studied Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. “It was the perfect storm,” said Lanci as he described the program as hands-on experience in the agriculture and wine industry.

Leading into his master's program, he took his knowledge and passion for wine and food to the next level by moving to Bra, Italy to study at the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) in 2012. Here, Lanci was able to continue his pursuits while being submerged in a cultural experience that went hand-in-hand with the food and wine world. Travel and culture became very important for Lanci, as he wanted to experience food and wine for their truest flavors.

His search for the raw, most authentic flavors led to a passion for the natural wine industry. Natural wine is the foundation for Lanci’s wine-practicing philosophy. “I see wine production as less of a mass-production and more of agricultural practice,” explained Lanci. Sustainability in the wine industry with the help of natural wine production is abandoning additives and chemicals and focusing on what wine truly is: a grape fermented into alcohol. This simple practice, that has become so industrialized and inorganic, is what Lanci strives to do and represent in the wine world.

Post-college, Lanci was able to turn his passion for food and wine into many different careers worldwide. Working on vineyards, producing olive oil, and partnering on restaurants (just to name a few), he has truly taken the food and wine world by storm. Lanci says that his priority is simply to do what makes him happy; making money while doing it is just a bonus.

Despite his success when returning to the states, there was always something pulling him back to Italy. “Although my master's program was only 14 months,” explained Lanci, “going back to Bra felt like going home.” This feeling soon turned into a reunion for Lanci and Italy. Beginning in 2019, Lanci became Professor Lanci of the International Wine and Culture class at Florida State University (Florence Campus).

When asked what he wanted his students to gain from this course, Lanci responded, “I want them to know that the world of wine is huge and I want them to be brave with wine.” As emerging young adults, newly legal to drink alcohol in Italy, the world of wine is daunting and can intimidate any young college student. However, Lanci has done something incredibly rare with his class by turning a traditional classroom setting into a safe space for students to try wine and food, explore flavors, and be truly educated on the vast industry and culture behind a glass of wine.

As study abroad students, it is crucial for us to use this time in a foreign country to step outside of our comfort zones and see life through the lens of a culture that is different from our own. As individuals, we hope to gain something so rare and unique with each experience. With Professor Lanci’s class, we are able to do this through the most universal medium of all: food and wine. With this class, we are taught to not only break bread with people, but also with culture.

All photos courtesy of Lucas Lanci.

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