Sparkling Wine From the Mountains: The History of Ferrari


In my ideal world you love wine. Actually, to be more precise, you love Italian wine. And when you uncork that bottle and pour the wine, you are ready to start an experience that involves all five of your senses. In drinking wine, there are many objective and technical observations you can state, but there is much more behind that bottle and that glass. In fact, there are several elements combined to bring about that result: territory, climate factors, history and tradition, knowledge, challenge, passion, and people. Most of all there are people.

Every Italian winery has its protagonists and a great story to tell, but there is one in particular that has always fascinated me: the history of Ferrari sparkling wines. I might be biased because this history is set in Trentino, the Italian region where I come from, but as you might guess, I am very fond of that territory and I have heard “la storia del Giulio Ferrari” many times from my grandpa Bruno. He was a regional hero back in the days for his ambitious ventures and together with the Lunelli family were able to grow an initial challenge into an international success of world-class sparkling wines from the mountainsDoesn’t it sound like an antithesis? Sparkling wine and mountains…

The History of Ferrari is Set in Trento

Trento lies in the north-eastern region of Trentino-Alto Adige. Historically the city is known for hosting the Council of Trent in the 16th century.

History of Ferrari

Trento as seen from Sardagna (credits: Flickr – Nicola)

Giulio Ferrari: the Main Character

Giulio Ferrari was born in Trentino in 1879 and can be described as a man that had great intuition along with faith in his territory. He attended the Istituto Agrario San Michele (today Edmund Mach Foundation) when the area was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and followed his studies in France, gaining experience in Champagne.

History of Ferrari

Giulio Ferrari (credits: Ferrari)

The Intuition and The Dream

During the time he spent in Champagne, Giulio understood that his Trentino had the same natural vocation and could be a perfect “home” for Chardonnay. In 1902 Giulio changed the history of sparkling wine by pioneering the very first Chardonnay-based methode champenoise wines in Italy.

History of Ferrari

Labeling Ferrari (credits: Ferrari)

The Challenge: Creating a Wine Able to Compete with the Best French Champagnes

Giulio’s challenge was to prove that it was possible to produce a high-quality Chardonnay sparkling wine outside of Champagne. His obsessive attention to quality was contained in each of the few thousand bottles he produced a year, and he didn’t have to wait to long to receive international recognition and awards.

History of Ferrari

The Ferrari Winery won a Gold Medal at the international exhibition held in Milan in 1906 (credits: Ferrari)

Looking for a Successor

Giulio had no children and, after 50 years of important achievements, begin searching for a successor. In 1952 he entrusted his dream to Bruno Lunelli, friend and owner of a wine shop in Trento.

History of Ferrari

Bruno Lunelli (credits: Ferrari)

The Lunelli Family: Guardians of the Dream

Bruno Lunelli was equally passionate and had an additional great entrepreneurial talent. He extended the Chardonnay plantation and increased the production, without jeopardizing the quality. With Bruno and his family the obsessive attention to quality that Giulio instilled in his wines became a tradition and Ferrari’s distinguishing feature. Ferrari became the market leader in Italy.

History of Ferrari

Gino, Bruno, and Mauro Lunelli (credits: Ferrari)

Ferrari Today

The third generation of the Lunelli family is committed to upholding the tradition and innovation of the sparkling wine from the mountain.

History of Ferrari

Matteo, Camilla, Alessandro, and Marcello Lunelli (credits: Ferrari)

Everything started with the vision of one man who had a dream that is still alive, today more than ever, thanks to the dedication and passion that has run through the veins of three generations of the Lunelli family. Passionate people and their commitment to realizing a dream, that’s what the history of Ferrari is all about.

And, from now on, when you pop a bottle of Ferrari sparkling wine you will know what’s behind it.

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