Italian Sparkling-Wine Producer Diversifies Into Red Wines

Jul 11, 2001
Casa Ferrari-Lunelli, a top Italian producer of méthode champenoise sparkling wine, has purchased 85 acres of land in Umbria's Montefalco area, where it will begin making red wine.

"The idea is to diversify our range of wines," said Giampietro Comolli, the marketing and business development manager for Casa Ferrari-Lunelli. The 100-year-old company annually produces more than 333,000 cases of sparkling wine, of which 29,000 cases are exported to 18 countries. "This is our second winery acquisition outside the region of Trentino, our home base," he added.

Casa Ferrari-Lunelli is investing $4 million to $5 million in its Umbrian acquisition, which consists of two nearby properties, in separate communes. One estate, in Montefalco, has 37 acres of Sagrantino vines, and the other, in Bevagna, has 48 acres of land, which will be planted with vines starting next year. The company also plans to build a new winery for the properties.

"Our strategy is to concentrate on the indigenous varietals," said Comolli. "We aim to produce a Sagrantino DOCG, a Montefalco Rosso DOC and a traditional Sagrantino passito, made with partly dried grapes." Sagrantino makes intense, deep-red wines, which are aged for 30 months, 12 of them in wooden casks. Traditionally, the wines were made in the sweet passito style, but dry styles are gaining in prominence.

The as yet unnamed wines from Ferrari-Lunelli's first Umbrian vintage, 2001, will be available on the market in 2005 or 2006, with an initial production of about 500 cases. "As soon as all 85 acres are in full production, the aim is to produce an average of 6,000 cases, of which 70 percent will be for export," said Comolli.

Casa Ferrari-Lunelli's other recent acquisition is a 150-acre estate, called Podernovo, in the Chianti appellation, which it has been replanting to Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as some experimental blocks of red varieties native to the Trentino region. The producer plans to make a super Tuscan red, starting with about 1,600 to 2,500 cases from the 2000 and 2001 vintages, which should be available in 2004.

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Check our recent ratings of Ferrari sparkling wines.

Read recent news about other purchases in Italy's Umbria region:

  • May 26, 2001
    Up-and-Coming Italian Winery Buys Umbrian Estate

  • Jan. 10, 2001
    Tuscany's Cecchi Family Invests in Umbrian Wine Estate
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