Giuseppe Marini and his family: a wine tradition through the generations

PISTOIA – The art of wine, with its heritage of traditions, knowledge and knowledge, handed down from generation to generation within the same family, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.

Giuseppe Marini, who, together with his wife Gabriella and their children Sara and Fabio manages the family winery in Pontenuovo, along the provincial road Montalese.

A “modern” agricultural society, well organized and always with an eye to the future, capable of renewing itself with the use of new tools for the winemaking process; but at the same time linked to a tradition that comes from the past, to a knowledge transmitted orally from parents to children, a legacy of a century-old history that the Marini family intends to jealously guard and carry on.

An interesting mix between ancient and modern, between past and innovation, which translates into a production of highly appreciated and award-winning wines at national and international level: important awards for a “small” family-run farm, which has made the very high quality of the final product its indisputable “trademark”.

Giuseppe Marini in the vinsantaia of his winery in Pontenuovo (photo by Andrea Capecchi)

The history of the Marini family and the art of wine is a centuries-old history that has its roots in the mid-nineteenth century.

“My great-grandparents were already winemakers – says Giuseppe – as well as my grandparents Mariano and Giulia, who cultivated their vines in Tizzana, on the Quarratini hills, the area of ​​origin of my family.

Unfortunately both were victims of the Spanish epidemic of 1918-20, leaving four children still children, including my father who was the youngest; the children were raised by an uncle who made them grow up with his children, thus reconstituting a large family and carrying on the work of winemakers in the family properties, which thus avoided dispersion. Over the decades there were obviously divisions and divisions between children and grandchildren, but luckily the tradition of growing vines and producing wine was never lost.

In 1946 my father Roberto, after getting married, bought the rural villa Paternino in Pontenuovo where our winery is still based today. It was a real investment: at the time, in fact, the villa, its appurtenances and the land itself were destroyed and ruined due to the devastation caused by the German troops, in retreat along the Gothic Line during the war. My father and mother immediately set to work to restore the villa and rearrange the vineyards, giving continuity to this family tradition: two years later, in 1948, I was born, who have been working in the company for more than fifty years. With my children we have reached the fifth generation of Marini winemakers ”.

A job, that of Giuseppe, which was born above all from his passion for the art of wine passed down to him by his father. “What if I could have done anything else? Certainly, however, I chose of my own free will, without any constraint, to be a winemaker. I was twenty years old, I had recently finished my studies: it was the period of the sixty-eight and the social and cultural revolutions, saying that you wanted to be a “farmer” was a countercurrent and almost despicable choice. But after more than half a century it seems to me that I have made the right choice, which in the long run has given its results, and I have no regrets. My children did the same: no one forced them to stay here in the company, it was they who told me they wanted to carry on this family heritage; for me it was one of the greatest satisfactions “.

Some bottles of the award-winning Chianti Classico vinsanto produced by the Marini company

“Over the years the company has developed, opening up to wine tours, organizing open days, tastings, promotional activities, and networking with similar subjects – adds Gabriella – already in the nineties we began to intercept a food and wine tourism that brought visitors to company, because they had the opportunity to see live and touch the production phases, the tools of the winemaking process, the final products for direct sale to the public.

A way to make known everything behind a bottle of wine or vinsanto, and to establish a direct and familiar relationship between producer and consumer. After two difficult years due to the pandemic, from this summer we started to receive many visits to the company again, with a strong presence of foreign tourists, in particular from the Netherlands, the United States, Austria, Switzerland and Poland ”.

The high quality of the products over the years have made the Marini company a recognized excellence, as evidenced by the prizes won in major events and wine reviews: this year, for example, its 2016 Chianti Classico vinsanto came first. at the international wine competition of Vinitaly in Verona. And many other awards and certificates reward Giuseppe and his family with a job that is certainly not easy, which requires commitment and sacrifice, and where there is no shortage of challenges, especially if you look to the future.

The four wines, three reds and one white, produced by the Marini company and displayed in its store

As Giuseppe recalls, “a small family-run farm like ours must be careful if it wants to stay on the market, in a competitive and constantly evolving sector. It is important to network, build connections with similar companies by focusing on “exchanges” and product diversification, look for new outlets on foreign markets in the name of quality, encourage visits and tastings here in the company, also involving tourists, families and children, to offer them an experience different from the usual and in direct contact with the art of wine. There is no shortage of obstacles, especially those of a bureaucratic nature that keep us very busy, in the face of a simplification that is often promised but never realized ”.

The Marini company – whose vineyards and olive groves are located partly in Pontenuovo, partly on the Giaccherino hill – today specializes in the production of vinsanto in the Chianti Classico and Occhio di pernice varieties, real “workhorses” with an unmistakable taste; but the wine productions also include three red wines (Chianti, Chianti Riserva “Villa Paternino”, Birbante rosso Toscana), a white (Savium bianco Toscana), grappas obtained from the distillation of Chianti and vinsanto pomace, extra virgin olive oil from Tuscan IGP olive, red wine vinegar, a tasty grape juice and other jams deriving from wine, all of which can be purchased directly from the farm in the small shop. For those who wish, it is also possible to purchase bulk wine.

The grapes drying inside the vinsantaia

But a visit to the Marini winery cannot be separated from a “climb” to the vinsantaia, the true “beating heart” of vinsanto production. A place that leaves you speechless and excites wine lovers and simply curious.

At the end of the harvest, the bunches are placed horizontally and vertically on the reeds, still made with river reeds as the ancient tradition dictates, and the grapes are left to dry for about three months in this well-ventilated room.

You can breathe the sweetish scent of the drying grapes, a fundamental step for the subsequent squeezing of the must and its fermentation in kegs, small oval-shaped barrels that occupy the sides of the vinsantaia. This is where Vinsanto completes its five-year “cycle” before being decanted and finally bottled.

The interior of the vinsantaia

An authentic “family heritage” to be known and tasted.

Giuseppe Marini and his family: a wine tradition through the generations – Reportpistoia