Barolo's Vietti winery sold: the importance of wine myths
The sale of the Vietti winery has surprised experts and wine lovers all over the world. What would happen if en even more famous winery changed owner?
Everything began in March 2015 when the winery Gigi Rosso sold a 9 hectare property with woodland for truffles and 5 hectares of Vineyard among which the Airone Vineyard one of the most beautiful in Serralunga d’Alba. The declared amount of 7 million Euros seems sufficient to put off every neighbour; instead one comes forward and buys. It is Roberto Conterno owner of the cantina Giacomo Conterno.
This price makes the cost of vineyards all over the Langhe increase and it seems to block the market because those selling ask for astronomical amounts. A worrying subject that often I have been asked about during meetings with Piedmont producers <<these prices are absurd, much superior to the revenue of the vineyards, how can we grow in this situation? >>
in July 2016 the Poderi Luigi Einaudi, estate founded in 1897 in Dogliani announces the acquisition of 9 hectares of vineyards among which 4 of Barolo. The amount has not been divulged but rumours say around 6 million Euro.
Practically at the same time another bomb, that shakes wine lovers and experts all over the world and increases again quotations: the Vietti winery for 60 or maybe 70 million Euro.
The buyer is Kyle Krause CEO of a chain of stores for household products called Kum & Go and for Solar Transport society. My daughter Violante who met the young Krause describes him as pleasant and charmed by the wine world where his family had invested a year ago buying the Enrico Serafino di Canale winery. With a lot of sense the Krause decided to keep Luca Currado the old owner of the cantine Vietti who was also the wine maker there. But this is not enough to calm the effect of the news in the foreign press. The Wine Business International portal published an article titled “Capitalism comes to Barolo” . “Wine Spectator “ publishes two editorials by James Laube and Matt Kramer that express true shock.
<< There was a time not all that long ago when the communes of Barolo and Barbaresco, along with most wine regions in Italy, were ultraconservative traditionalists>>.
Apart from admiration for Angelo Gaja and his innovations it is the charm of the past that fascinates experts <<Vietti has long been a favourite of mine. The wines have maintained their quality over the years, while still reflecting heritage and authenticity. Kramer also expresses the same sort of nostalgia << Never mind the romantic vision of Italian wine families farming into eternity ….. More dramatic is the change in wine itself>>
A strong reaction that makes one think the worst in the case of excellent sales such as Giacosa in Barolo, Quintarelli in Amarone or Biondi Santi in Brunello. A reaction that reminds me of when cantine Ricasoli of Castello di Brolio were sold to the Canadian e Seagram’s and the Chianti collapsed on the markets all over the world. Barone Francesco Ricasoli bought the estate back in 1994 and has once again brought it back to International glory, but in between there have been some really dark years
With the present situation for prices and the great desire for banks, industries and even artists to get great wine names it comes natural to wonder if the most excellent grape growers will be able to resist temptation and whether the wine world will find its internal balance.