Can a long-established winemaking family reinvent itself in order to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century?
If the family is named Folonari, the answer is yes.
In the latter part of 2000, the Folonaris completely revamped their company’s structure. Previously a single entity with extensive estate holdings in Tuscany, the family owned the Nozzole and Ruffino brands, as well as wines under the Cabreo, Spalletti, Lodola Nuova and Il Greppone Mazzi names.
The subdivision of the estate vineyards and reapportionment of brands resulted in the creation of two new entities, of which Tenute Ambrogio Folonari is one. Dr. Ambrogio Folonari and his son, Giovanni Folonari, now own and manage five previously existing estates as well as five recently acquired ones – in Tuscany and elsewhere.
In 1999, the Folonari family began to acquire property in the commune of Castagneto Carducci, in the province of Livorno, near the Mediterranean coast. In this area, during the 1990s, the Bolgheri D.O.C. was resoundingly affirmed. Tenute di Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari assembled approximately 100 acres of land, of which 60 are planted to vines and the remainder are in the process of being planted.
An ultra-modern winery, designed by Parisian architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, was completed at the end of 2002. The estate’s first releases were the 2004 vintage of Campo al Mare Vermentino di Toscana I.G.T., and the 2003 vintage of Campo al Mare Bolgheri D.O.C., a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The 2005 Bolgheri received a 93 rating from Wine Spectator magazine.
In this revitalized enterprise, it is Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari’s philosophy to produce distinctive, limited-quantity wines from a portfolio of estates, exclusively from owned grapes, which reflect their individual terroirs.