The historic Barolo winery Vietti, a family-owned producer founded in 1873 in the commune of Castiglione Falletto, was purchased last week by the Krause family of Iowa for an undisclosed price, Wine Spectator has learned. Enologist Luca Currado, the current generation managing the estate, will remain as CEO of the new company, overseeing the vineyards and making the wines, and Mario Cordero will continue as director of marketing and sales. The deal includes the brand, the winery and 84 acres of vineyards.
"Two great families are coming together," Currado told Wine Spectator. "It will allow us to take a big step up in quality and [it's] a guarantee for the future."
For Kyle Krause, president and CEO of Krause Holdings, Inc., it fulfills a long-held desire to own a Barolo winery. "My mother's family is Italian and I have always had a passion for Italy and for Barolo," he said. "When the opportunity arose to buy Vietti, it was too good to pass up.
"From our standpoint, we're looking for a long-term relationship between our family and the Vietti family," he added. Krause noted that though his family will not be actively involved in running the winery, they will consult on strategy and major decisions.
Krause Holdings is the parent company of Kum & Go convenience stores, with more than 430 locations in 11 U.S. states, as well as Solar Transport and a portfolio of real-estate holdings. Krause began looking for Piedmont vineyards last year, his first moves in the wine industry. He bought the Enrico Serafino winery, inventory and vineyards from Gruppo Campari in 2015.
In addition to the 84 acres of vineyards now owned by Vietti, the company will include nearly 30 acres acquired by Krause over the past year in some of the region's top sites: Codana in Castiglione Falletto; Mosconi, Le Coste and Bricco Ravera in Monforte d'Alba; and Briccolina, Meriame and Teodoro in Serralunga d'Alba. An additional 12 acres leased by Vietti will be phased out over time. (Enrico Serafino will continue to be run separately.)
According to Currado, they plan to use the extensive holdings initially to increase the quality of Vietti's Nebbiolo Langhe Perbacco and Barolo Castiglione blends, but could potentially create new single-vineyard labels in the future.
For Vietti, the sale represents a new chapter in a long history, which includes losing its vineyards during the 1930s and painstakingly reacquiring them all by 1989. Currado's late father, Alfredo, began managing the winery in 1960 after marrying Luca's mother, Luciana Vietti, who still works there. Luca began working alongside his father in the 1990s, and gained a strong reputation for making quality wines that balance Barolo's modern and traditional styles.