CANTINA DI SOAVE is a co-operative winery in the Soave region in north-east Italy’s Veneto region. It is the biggest producer of Soave wines.
BACKGROUND | The first grouping of local grapegrowers dates back to 1898; it was an un-planned association, the embryonic form of what would later develop into the present Cantina di Soave. The cooperative that then emerged was even in those early days a vertically-integrated cooperative producer; it exercised, that is, full control over the entire production process, from vineyard to marketing and sales. In the 1930s, it was formally established, with the name Cantina Sociale Cooperativa di Soave, with 51 partners. During that period, it launched the Bottega del Vino (today a celebrated enoteca and restaurant) in the heart of Verona, where wine was served from the barrel, and the winery became as well official supplier to Italy’s Royal House. In 1962, in response to market growth, the partners grew to 434. The facilities expanded as well, and a new grape-crushing area was added a few hundred metres from the original cellar. An underground conduit, still in use today, brought the juice from there to the winemaking cellar.
The 1980s were a crucial milestone in Cantina di Soave’s business plan, since the winery decided to link its future growth to establishing its own brand. In 1993, a new facility of over 10,000 square metres was constructed next to the crushing area; today it is utilised for bottling and packaging. In 1994, Cantina di Soave acquired control of Equipe 5, the prestigious spumante producer in the Trentino, a quality leader in that area’s highly-respected tradition of classic-method sparkling wines. In 1996, the addition of Cantina di Cazzano di Tramigna, in the Valpolicella area, made possible the increased production of Valpolicella DOC wines. In 1999, Cantina di Soave purchased the Maximilian brand, which today represents a hallmark for charmat-method spumantes.
The new millennium witnessed the re-structuring Borgo Rocca Sveva, completed in 2003. The only one of its kind architecturally, the complex has now been elegantly renovated. It boasts a meeting centre, as well as a research and study centre affiliated with the Science and Technology Department of the University of Verona. It is also the headquarters of a modern winery with a separate winemaking cellar, which produces the Rocca Sveva wines and the classic-method Equipe 5 and Riserva dei Cinque spumantes.
In 2005, the Cantina di Illasi became part of the Cantina di Soave, bringing with it a substantial number of vineyards in the Valpolicella DOC zone. In 2008, finally, the Cantina di Montecchia di Crosara was acquired, and with it its Lessini Durello DOC wine. In 2009, the launching of a marketing organisation in the United States represented a new stage of growth and development.
GRAPE SOURCES AND WINE PRODUCTION | 6,000 hectares of vineyard, from 2,200 members (48% of the Soave DOC, 43% of the Soave Classico DOC, 50% of the Valpolicella DOC, and 70% of the Lessini Durello DOC). 30 million bottles. Production facilities at 6 locations: Via Roma, Viale Vittoria, Cazzano di Tramigna, Borgo Rocca Sveva, Illasi, and Montecchia.
TECHNOLOGY–SISTEMA ALTA SELEZIONE | Cantina di Soave boasts a software-based system installed in 1997, then further developed over the years, incorporating ever more-advanced functions. Directed by Agronomy Director Giuseppe Rama and by Technical Director Filippo Pedron, this system, extremely sophisticated and unlike any other in the world, allows real-time monitoring of all the vineyards belonging to Cantina di Soave’s grower-members, analysing data relating to soils, weather, vineyard health, and a host of other viticultural factors. When the grapes are brought into the cellar, the clusters are analysed and selected according to a full 17 different parameters via the Sistema Alta Selezione. This uses FOSS (an infra-red control system) to control the must which checks how the molecules vibrate to see if they correspond to the company’s quality control parameters. Each grower has a magnetic identity card, and declares which vineyard the grapes come from when delivering them. This from grape-to-bottle monitoring system makes it possible to achieve extremely high levels of quality.
SUSTAINABILITY | Cantina di Soave continues its progress towards “VIVA – Sustainable Wine” certification, promoted by Italy’s Environment Ministry. Our objective is product certification for our Rocca Sveva Soave Classico wine and organization certification for Cantina Rocca Sveva. This voluntary programme, in which an independent third-party agency examines four indicators—air, water, vineyard, and growing area–, is focused on achieving sustainability in the vinicultural sector, through protecting and promoting the environmental, social, and economic factors related to the production of wine. During Vinitaly, the winery signed an official agreement with the Ministry for the Environment, and just a few days ago we finished the harvest in our sustainably-managed vineyards. Our objective is to limit use of weed-killers and anti-fungal treatments, in order to practice an agriculture that respects to the highest degree possible the environment and its natural ecosystems. We have undertaken this exciting green initiative and are pushing forward with it in accord with our basic philosophy of unrelenting improvement and of striving over the long term for ever more ambitious goals.
PRODUCTION FACILITIES (6)
HISTORICAL HQ (Via Roma, Soave) | Operating since 1898, this is Cantina di Soave’s historic original headquarters, located within the city walls. Consultancy offices for the growers are located here.
CANTINA DI CAZZANO DI TRAMIGNA (CAZZANO) | Acquired in 1996 for its production of Valpolicella. Located in Valpolicella, the Cazzano di Tramigna winery produces exclusively red wines, and in accord with a policy of specialisation, carries out the appassimento (natural semi-drying of the grapes) process for red wines, including Ripasso and Amarone. Five press lines. Can process 18 million kilos of grapes (240,000hl).
CANTINA DI BORGO ROCCA SVEVA | The winery in Borgo Rocca Sveva, the historically-important hamlet just below Soave’s castle, was restored in 2003. It produces, matures, and packages the ROCCA SVEVA wines, Cantina di Soave’s ultra-premium wine line. In its caves too matures EQUIPE 5, the vintage-dated classic-method spumante. One of Borgo Rocca Sveva’s most striking features is its underground ageing cellars, a fascinating, 2,000 sq.mt.-system of caves that honeycombs the rock formations beneath the Castello di Soave. These unique passageways naturally maintain a constant temperature and humidity year-round, perfect conditions for the storage and ageing of the most valuable wines. There is an experimental vineyard here created in collaboration with the Faculty of Oenology of the University of Verona and with the Research Institute for Viticulture of Conegliano. Conference hall for 800 people.
CANTINA DI ILLASI (Illasi) | In 2005 the historic Cantina di Illasi was incorporated to improve and rationalise wine production in the hill areas of Valpolicella (making Cantina di Soave Italy’s biggest producer of wine from hillside vineyards, stretching from Mezzane to the Val d’Alpojne, almost as far as Gambellara). The 2005 union made it possible to establish a large production facility to the east of Verona, which can handle 47% of the Valpolicella DOC, with economies of scale that lead to obvious benefits for costs. Six press lines. Can process 20 million kilos of grapes (290,000hl).
CANTINA DI MONTECCHIA DI CROSARA | The acquisition of this cellar in Montecchia di Crosara in 2008 satisfied the need for large-scale production capability, which is indispensible today if one is to remain competitive and to exercise influence in markets around the globe. This union enabled Cantina di Soave, already one of Italy’s foremost vertically-integrated winery cooperatives, to strengthen its position within the Italian and European wine markets, and to become the main producer of Lessini Durello (with 70% of Lessini Durello DOC). This cellar Can process 20 million kilos of grapes.
CANTINA DI SOAVE USA | In 2009, Cantina di Soave USA opened in Boston, Massachusetts, thus ensuring the Verona-based producer an important, front-line presence in the American market; its goal is the re-launching of the wine denominations traditional to Verona, including Soave, Valpolicella, and Amarone, where Cantina di Soave occupies a leading role.
STAFF | Chairman: Attilio Carlesso. Chief Executive: Bruno Trentini. Export Director: Luca Sabatini. Sales (Italy): Sergio Billi. Technical Director: Filippo Pedron. Press: Contactpress [at] ilsoave.com). Oenologist (one of ten): Giancarlo Piubello. Responsabile Ufficcio Soci e Vigneti: Giuseppe Rama. (Arrived in 1997. Instituted a computer system called Sistema Alta Selezione. He had all the vineyards photographed. Also selected the best vineyards (100 growers), 100ha out of 6,000ha for the top wine which is called Rocca Sveva.
SALES | 2012 The main markets for white are the UK and Germany. Reds to Scandinavia. Thinks the USA is where they should be targetting as Pinot Gris has taken over there. In the UK, Germany and US sales are doing well because yields have been lowered as Garganega is productive. In the USA the older generation had contact with Soave (ie granny and grandpa) but then this was lost. See above for the sales initiative in the USA.
BRANDS AND TRADEMARKS
ROCCA SVEVA | The top line of Soave. From the best growers in the hills. Wine shops and restaurants.
EQUIPE 5 | Classic method sparking wine. The brand dates from 1964 when 5 oenologists at lavis, in Trentino, created traditional method sparkling wines. These are now made at Borgo Rocca Sveva. Wine shops and restaurants.
LE POESIE | Range of DOC/IGT wines for wine shops, bars and restaurants.
CADIS | Large scale retailers.
DUCA DEL FRASSINO | Flagship wine for the regions of Verona. Supermarkets.
TERRA AL LAGO, GARDA DOC | Supermarkets.
MAXIMILIAN | Sparkling wines. Maximilian Perlit Rosé Extra Dry and Maximilian Perlit Extra Dry.
SOAVE DOC, CADIS | 100% Garganega.
SOAVE DOC, LE POESIE | From the Soave plains. / 2011 100% steel and all Garganega. 100% stainless steel. Keep the yeast in suspension to get a bit more structure. Crisp, floral, fresh, white fruit (banana, apple) at the winery on Via Roma, Soave, Wednesday 10th October 2012.
SOAVE CLASSICO DOC | 90% Garganega, 10% Trebbiano di Soave. Almond citrus are the classic flavours.
SOAVE CLASSICO DOC, ARARIA | From hill sites (and on volcanic soils), therefore labelled as Classico. / 2011 This has more richness, and denseness, and has more colour than the Le Poesie. Has 3-4g/l which lifts the fruit and gives good drinkability at the winery on Wednesday 10th October 2012.
SOAVE CLASSICO DOC, DUCA DEL FRASSINO | From mainly the Monteforte d’Alpone area. / 2011 This has mineral and mature fruit (apple, and banana), says Giancarlo Piubello. Leaner, crisper citrus acidity, decent weight and depth though, nice and creamy, almond at the winery on Wednesday 10th October 2012.
SOAVE CLASSICO DOC, VILLA RASINA | From the Soave hills.
SOAVE CLASSICO DOC, ROCCA SVEVA | Rocca is an old word for a castle, whilst Sveva is an old word for Soave. This is sourced from the best 100 best growers. Mostly pergola vines, in the hills and with 10 bunches per plant. 250 metres minimum, from the heart of classico. Cool fermented at 15-16ºC. Long ferment with some stress. / 2011 Aromatic and musky at the winery on Wednesday 10th October 2012. 3.5g/l. 12.5%. Low yields. Therefore more concentration. / 2012 Blind on the Soave stand I thought this was chalky, soft acid, bit of alcohol at Vinitaly 8th April 2013.
SOAVE CLASSICO DOC, ROCCA SVEVA CASTELCERINO | The cru wine. Sourced from 5-6 growers in the Castelcerino zone. 350 metres. Volcanic, basalt and 40% clay. Want older vines with a south west aspect to get more sun. / 2011 Rich and licorice, mint too, decent depth, warm finish at the winery on Wednesday 10th October 2012.
VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO, DUCA DEL FRASSINO | From mainly Corvina, plus Rondinella and Molinara.
AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO, ROCCA SVEVA
RECIOTO DI SOAVE DOCG, CADIS | Cadis is the base level Recioto di Soave.
RECIOTO DI SOAVE DOCG, ROCCA SVEVA CASTELCERINO | 2008 500 ml. 12.5%. 800hl of must. also Poesia and this one which is the flagship. 8,000 bottles of this label. Half in new oak so get some vanilla. Crisp, creamy, nice flavours, well made at the winery on Wednesday 10th October 2012.
Cantina di Soave’s administrative offices and winemaking facility in Viale Vittoria, Soave opened in 1962, occupies 40,000 sq.mt; most of Cantina di Soave’s wines are made and packaged here.
Chairman: Attilio Carlesso. Chief Executive: Bruno Trentini. Export Director: Luca Sabatini. Sales (Italy): Sergio Billi. Technical Director: Filippo Pedron. Oenologist (one of ten): Giancarlo Piubello. Vicedirettore Generale: Enol. Wolfgang Raifer. Press: Dssa. Maddalena Peruzzi.
Viale Vittoria, 100 / I-37038 Soave (VR = Verona), Italy / Tel+39 045.6139811 / www.cantinasoave.it