Berlucchi’s excellence is born of curiosity and deep friendship. In 1955, the young oenologist Franco Ziliani approached Guido Berlucchi, a successful landowner in the Franciacorta region, with the question: what if we were to make a sparkling wine as the French do? Berlucchi, who was eager to improve the viability of his Pinot del Castello vineyards and had always wanted to explore the possibilities of sparkling wine in the region, offered his property and support to this pioneering experiment. After a number of unsatisfactory vintages, the two men’s partnership produced the first shining vintage of their classic method sparkling wine, the 1961 “Pinot di Franciacorta.” This was a radical departure from the still table wines traditionally produced in the area and one that would prove revelatory for the region. In 1967, Franciacorta became a recognized designation of origin for Italian wine, with Berlucchi leading the way. The name Berlucchi is now synonymous with Franciacorta and their wines are a staple of Italian celebrations. Franco Ziliani, lovingly referred to as “the father of Franciacorta,” remains president of the estate, overseeing the work of his three children, who now lead all communications, production, and sales and marketing. Cristina, Arturo, and Paolo are forging a new vision for Berlucchi into the 21st century. They pioneered the Berlucchi ’61 and Palazzo Lana Riserva lines as homage to their father and the founding distinction of Franciacorta and have pushed for higher standards of environmental sustainability in all vineyard and winery practices. Berlucchi is a unique player in the field of sparkling wine--they capture both the luxury and glamour of this classically romantic beverage while maintaining an intrinsic curiosity and hunger for innovation. Unencumbered by generations of expectation and tradition, Berlucchi succeeded at crafting an elevated sparkling wine, tailored to Italian standards of excellence. They will undoubtedly continue to brighten the pallets and parties of bubbly lovers well beyond the region of Franciacorta.
Berlucchi is a true innovator, and I was fortunate our paths crossed through a mutual PR firm I was meeting with on behalf of another important winery for Volio. It was a truly memorable experience visiting the vineyards and winery in Franciacorta. The palace and the caves are incredible, but the real beauty of the estate is the Ziliani family. They really love the region and take tremendous pride in all that they, and their neighboring wineries, have accomplished.
Mixed stones and gravel derived from the last ice age