Italian wine in the present and future as seen by eight women
By FRANCESCO SAVERIO PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE ESTATES ©RENATO VETTORATO, posted on 27 April 2022
The world of Italian wine is increasingly 'female'. In fact, one in four farms is now run by a woman, as are 30% of wineries. Enrolments at viticulture and oenology faculties are also increasing, as is the number of female winemakers across the country. We have selected eight of them to illustrate the fundamental roles played by women in the Italian wine industry.
Anna Maria Abbona - Tenacity and farsightedness in Piedmont
Anna Maria Abbona started by producing a handful of bottles of Dolcetto di Dogliani in 1989 when she was only 24 years old to save her grandfather's vineyards. Later came plantings of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Riesling and Nascetta.
Today, Anna Maria, who runs the company with her husband and two children, shares her views on the future of Italian wine. “I foresee a strong focus on biodiversity and sustainability. That's why I believe so much in the potential of our land, where woods, hazelnut groves and vineyards alternate. However, environmental sustainability also means economic sustainability and further work is needed to increase the profitability of these areas while maintaining their balance. Small-scale production must be protected even more.
ANNA MARIA ABBONA, HER HUSBAND FRANCO SCHELLINO AND THEIR YOUNG SONS LORENZO AND FEDERICO
Many young people want to be winegrowers, but it is difficult to guarantee an income that justifies the many sacrifices and the amount of effort this profession requires. Small wineries producing lesser-known wines have to deal with low margins, high climatic risks and competition from large companies. Sometimes vocation and determination are not enough. There is a need for new rules and laws to protect small businesses".
Camilla Lunelli – Study, voluntary work and the family business.
A Bocconi University graduate with first-class honours, Camilla Lunelli gained professional experience around the world before deciding to pursue voluntary work, spending three years in Africa.
In 2004 she returned to Italy to continue the family business at Ferrari Trento and Tenute Lunelli alongside her cousins Matteo and Marcello and her brother Alessandro.
Regarding her views on the future of Italian wine, she says, “environmental sustainability is fundamental, and Ferrari has been leading the way with organic and Biodiversity Friendly certification of its vineyards, in addition to spreading the message of sustainability through the strapline ‘The Ferrari Vineyard - healthy and sustainable mountain viticulture’.
CAMILLA LUNELLI, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS FOR FERRARI TRENTO AND THE LUNELLI GROUP COMPANIES
At the same time, there is a growing need to move vineyards to higher altitudes due to climate change.
International markets will also be increasingly important for Ferrari Trento, which is a leader in Italy but not as well-known abroad. We want to highlight the quality of Trento DOC sparkling wines on the world stage and the response has been encouraging!
The future also involves e-commerce and new opportunities for a more direct relationship with the consumer through social media and other customer relationship management tools.
Digitalisation is also becoming essential in the countryside and in the winery. For example, we use artificial intelligence to optimise irrigation, gather agronomic information and select grapes.
Finally, we need to encourage people to drink responsibly, prioritising quality over quantity.
Marina Cvetic and Miriam Lee Masciarelli – Leading the green revolution.
Marina Cvetic, Gianni Masciarelli's wife, and their eldest daughter Miriam Lee Masciarelli are now at the helm of the well-known Abruzzo-based Masciarelli company.
Together they have increased wine production, expanded markets, created a food line, made Castello di Semivicoli a wine tourist destination and expanded distribution of Gianni's Selection.
Women make up 54% of the company's top management.
Marina and Miriam recount how they see the future: “The future of winemaking will be increasingly competitive and there will be new challenges to face, including climate change, which we will have to adapt to. However, the biggest challenge for wineries is the energy transition, and water management will be the most important factor over the next few years.
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER MARINA CVETIC AND MIRIAM LEE MASCIARELLI CURRENTLY HEAD UP THE FAMILY BUSINESS IN ABRUZZO
Wines will also change because habits will change. Future generations are asking us to be greener. There will be a need for innovative agronomic practices, improvements and efficiency. Our company is committed to continually improving sustainability and working with the upmost respect for the environment.
"Less is more” should be the mantra in agriculture and beyond. By reducing waste, we achieve a new balance and make our time more valuable."
Sabrina Tedeschi — Viewing oenology as continuous research
Sabrina Tedeschi was bitten by the wine bug at an early age and has always followed the path of wine. After graduating in food technology in Milan, she did an internship at the Burgundy University of Oenology, and then became an oenology teacher at the Institute of San Michele All'Adige.
Today, alongside her brother Riccardo and sister Antonietta, she runs the F.lli Tedeschi estate in Valpolicella, while continuing to carry out research in order to achieve complete sustainability in agronomic management and the winemaking chain.
"Our future is strongly pink, as the next generation of our family is made up of five girls and two boys. We hope that they will inherit the same passion that we inherited from our parents. Working without passion is not possible, especially in our sector where sacrifice is the order of the day.
SABRINA TEDESCHI, WHO HEADS UP THE F.LLI TEDESCHI WINERY IN VALPOLICELLA
Regional identity will become increasingly important as a bottle of wine encapsulates the history, traditions, soul and passion of the producer, as well as their knowledge and know-how. In a globalised world, we hope that wine will also maintain the values of craftsmanship and family. Clearly, we will have to continue to innovate, without losing sight of tradition”.
Elisa Dilavanzo – A dream called Moscato Giallo
Elisa's passion for wine began as a sommelier, so much so that she won a national competition, 'Charme Sommelier'. Her story at Maeli, on the other hand, began in 2010, as a saleswoman. Here, she fell in love with the Moscato Giallo grape, which she dreamed of vinifying in five different ways. Initially, it seemed to be a dream that only she believed in. Then she met Gianluca Bisol who became her partner for the purchase of Maeli.
Elisa thus achieved her dream of vinting Moscato Giallo in five different ways: sweet sparkling wine, still dry wine, sparkling wine bottled with its own yeasts and re-fermented in the bottle as per the ancestral method, classic method brut nature and finally passito dessert wine.
Today Maeli is run by five women with a strong focus on the environment and regional identity.
ELISA DILAVANZO, AT THE HELM OF THE MAELI VINEYARD IN THE EUGANEI HILLS
Elisa shares her views on the future of wine: “Wine has changed a lot in the last twenty years. Climate and environmental factors have a significant impact on wine growing, but the most important changes are dictated by the tastes and trends of the young Millennials and Generation Z. The dualism between industrial production and artisanal winemakers who cork a few thousand bottles stored with utmost care will always be relevant. Conventional, organic, biodynamic, vegan, sea-aged, alcohol-free and more – ‘regular wine’ will be increasingly rare. And yet that very wine, far from the spotlight of the most coveted areas on the international wine scene, the result of respectful practices, will be the most precious of all time, because it will be a pure expression of the land and the care of those who have looked after it from the vineyard to the bottle”.
Giulia & Camilla Perini – the present and future of Cantine 4 Valli
Giulia has wine in her genetic make-up. After completing her studies, she immediately started work in marketing, becoming the company's Marketing and Communications Manager in just 7 years. Today, she works with a team of 4 people developing ambitious and stimulating projects.
Camilla started out at Cantine 4 Valli in the analysis laboratory of the production department, before becoming Quality Control and IFS and BRC Certification Manager and, later, working in the logistics department. She is currently in charge of management control.
Here are their opinions about the future:
Giulia: “The wine sector has a very high potential and always manages to find new ways to grow. Wine consumers are increasingly young, attentive and knowledgeable, and this aspect is very stimulating for us as producers. Online wine shops have grown and will be increasingly important, not only in terms of sales but also as a source of information”.
GIULIA (MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER) AND CAMILLA PERINI (MANAGEMENT CONTROL) AT CANTINE 4 VALLI
Camilla: “Wine is a product of pleasure, it has existed since ancient times and will continue to be a staple on the tables of all countries, including emerging ones, over the next 20 years. It will still be the "star" of every important event, with an increasingly careful focus on quality. There will be a greater search for regionality and therefore more attention paid to niche production. Wines will mostly be organic because agriculture will be entirely organic, and the most suitable areas will probably also change due to climate change”.
Francesca Moretti – Fairer agriculture and winemaking
Francesca became passionate about wine as a teenager, after a holiday spent visiting French chateaux with her father. Soon afterwards, she decided to study viticulture and oenology at the University of Milan. Then came her time at the family winery, where she put to use what she had learned.
FRANCESCA MORETTI, WINEMAKER AND PRESIDENT OF THE TERRA MORETTI VINO GROUP
She subsequently became CEO of the entire wine sector at Moretti Holding for five years. A role that shaped her vision. Her passion for the winery and the vineyard, however, took her back to the vineyard and the cellar. “I believe that the world of wine will be increasingly linked to environmental protection, and therefore to the growth of agriculture which cares for and respects the land. This trend has tripled in recent years and is destined to grow further, according to forecasts by the Directorate General for Agriculture, with increased demand for wines with lower alcohol content and sparkling wines. Priority will be given to climate change, which modifies the characteristics of wines and which, even in typical areas, influences acidity and aromatic profile. So winemaking methods will also have to adapt to the different properties of the grapes. The search for new markets will be important: exports will be a fundamental growth asset while new digital technologies will help support the transition to more ecological production. I believe we can’t wait any longer! The health of our planet is the priority and as protagonists in the world of wine, we must be the standard-bearers for fairer agriculture and winemaking”.
Chiara Lungarotti – historic Umbrian wine turns female
Since the death of Giorgio Lungarotti, the company has been in the hands of the female members of the family: Chiara as Managing Director and Teresa as Head of Marketing and Communications. Chiara was only 27 when she took over at the helm and, despite the weight of responsibility, she has successfully brought innovation to the vineyard and cellar.
She was supported by Maria Grazia Marchetti Lungarotti, who pioneered Italian wine tourism and created the Torgiano Wine Museum and the Olive and Oil Museum. Today, at the age of 95, she runs the Lungarotti Onlus Foundation, supported by her daughter Teresa and granddaughter Gemma.
Chiara shares her thoughts on the future of Italian wine: “In the coming years, viticulture will be even more environmentally friendly. Lungarotti has been working towards sustainability for over 30 years, because caring for the land ultimately impacts the final product. Our commitment in this area will continue because we are convinced that complete sustainability is a must, especially in this sector.
CHIARA LUNGAROTTI, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE LUNGAROTTI FAMILY BUSINESS, IN UMBRIA
Our goal is to educate the consumer to drink and eat well. It will therefore be essential that the entire industry correctly uses the Recovery Plan funds for increasingly environmentally friendly production and greater energy efficiency, as a driving force for the national economy. The wine world will only be able to do this if it is supported and not hindered by bureaucracy.
The world of Italian wine is finally changing, and the growing presence of women is already giving wineries very interesting prospects from both a winemaking and communications perspective. Women will also play an important role in wine tourism, where 'women of wine' are at the heart of hospitality and regional promotion”.
You might like these articles.