Gruppo Illy, the holding company behind Illycaffé coffee, has purchased Mastrojanni, a well-known family-run Brunello estate in Montalcino, for $23.2 million.
Mastrojanni, founded by lawyer Gabriele Mastrojanni in 1975, is spread over 222 acres in the hills outside Castelnuovo dell'Abate, in the southeast corner of the Brunello appellation. The estate includes about 60 acres of vineyards, 35 of which are planted with Sangiovese that qualifies for Brunello di Montalcino production.
This is not the first investment by the Trieste-based Illy family in the Montalcino area. Francesco Illy, vice president of Gruppo Illy, personally owns the nearby 32-acre Podere Le Ripe estate, which includes 2.5 acres of Brunello vineyards. Francesco will now be president of the Mastrojanni estate.
"The change of ownership will bring with it the resources to strengthen the brand and the image of the estate," said Andrea Machetti, Mastrojanni's manager and winemaker since 1992, who will stay to run the estate under the new ownership.
Mastrojanni produces, on average, 3,330 cases of Brunello di Montalcino and 500 to 650 cases of a single-vineyard Brunello called Schiena d'Asino. The winery also makes a Rosso di Montalcino and a Tuscan IGT San Pio, a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Gruppo Illy SpA was founded in 1933 and is currently headed by Riccardo Illy, Francesco's brother. Apart from the coffee subsidiary, the group also has a controlling interest in the Italian Domori chocolate company, the French Dammann Frères tea company and shares in the Piedmontese preserves company, Agrimontana.
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