The original idea for this blog was to write about Italian women in wine. I have gone far afield but in my heart of hearts that is the focus of this blog. Every Friday, I will showcase a different Italian woman in the wine business. Today, there are three ladies who are part of a new association which is being presented in Milan next week on September 29. These women are part of the Pinò Club, the first association ever created by producers of pinot nero in the Oltrepò pavese, on the border between Lombardy and Piedmont.
Pinot Nero has been grown in this area since Roman times. The wine industry has been active for the last 150 years. While Pinot Nero grows in some other regions of Italy, this is widely considered to be its natural home. Amazingly, 2500 hectares here are dedicated to Pinot Nero, second only to Burgundy.
The soils are dominated by limestone in a particular micrcoclimate which cools at night allowing the grapes respite from the warm daylight hours. Pinot Nero is a very difficult grape to grow but these ideal conditions help to produce some refined versions in this corner of Italy.
The six founders of the Pinò Club have decided that “l’unione fa la forza” in order to promote their wines which until now have been somewhat dismissed internationally. The wineries are Conte Vistarino, Frecciarossa, La Versa, Marchese Adorno, Tenuta Il Bosco and Tenuta Mazzolino.
In addition to promoting their wines, the group also aims to create standards for wine making in their area. This project will eventually be opened to other producers who share the same enological goals and standards. The group also plans to organize and participate in events together.
Of the six, three of the wineries are run by women. Ottavia Giorgi runs Conte Vistarino, Margherita Odero heads Frecciarossa and Sandra Braggiotti is the guiding light of Tenuta Mazzolino. All three were born into wine making families and have taken on their roles as heads of the company. I look forward to interviewing each one in the future and think it is wonderful that half of this association is founded by women. 40 years ago that would have been unimaginable in Italy. Thanks to some female friends on the ground in Milan, I heard about this wonderful group. I am excited to get back to my first love. Fridays with women in wine…