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Fontanafredda Is “European Winery of the Year”

Fontanafredda Is “European Winery of the Year”

Fontanafredda, the historic winery of Serralunga d'Alba in Piemonte, was officially awarded the title of "European Winery of the Year" at the 2017 Wine Star Awards by the magazine Wine Enthusiast. Every year, the international awards ceremony honors the companies and individuals who have had a major impact in the wine world, distinguishing themselves for their innovative vision and the significant achievements they have achieved.

Since its noble beginning, Fontanafredda has been dedicated to creating the finest wines using varietals native to Piemonte, such as Barbaresco and Barolo. The winery was founded in 1858 by Count Emanuele Alberto di Mirafiori on the hunting grounds of his father, King Vittorio Emanuele II. The first king of Italy, Emmanuele was known for his bravery — and for his fondness for wine.

Nearly 160 years later, when Fontanafredda was nominated for the "European Winery of the Year" award in September, the Italian editor of Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O'Keef, noted that the quality of the wines is "higher than ever" with a special emphasis on the "extraordinary beauty of the estate."

Indeed, Fontanafredda wines are enjoyed across the world today, thanks to the rich territory and creative yet traditional techniques. Located in the heart of the scenic Langhe hills of Piemonte, the diverse soils of Fontanafredda’s property  offer unique notes to the carefully tended vines. And, thanks to the president, Eataly's own founder Oscar Farinetti, the wine-making techniques of the ancient winery are more modern and dynamic than ever, while respecting regional traditions.

"For us," Oscar said, accompanied by Fontafredda CEO Piero Bagnasco, "it is the culmination of 10 years of work during which we have passed to organic farming and spent all of our efforts trying to interpret, with respect, lightness, and depth, the wonderful fruits that the Fontanafredda hills offer us.”

oscar farinetti fontanafredda wine

Fontanafredda's dynamic evolution began with the focus on the environment, consumers, and community. This translated to experiments in the vineyards and the cellar for the Vino Libero project. Created by Oscar, Vino Libero is a consortium of wineries that produce natural wines that are "free" of chemical fertilizers and herbicides with minimal amounts of add sulfites. To remain in Vino Libero, Fontanafredda and its 11 other associated wineries follow sustainable modern farming practices that are best for the land, people, and — of course — the wine.

For the next step, Fontanafredda's entire estate is in the process of being certified organic, the largest company in Piemonte to do so. The 2019 harvest will be the winery's first under officially organic standards — in addition to extending the practices to neighboring 450 families of winemakers in the area.

For curious wine lovers, Fontanafredda is open to visitors. Beyond the wine tastings and tours, Fontanafredda offers an abundance of activities across its vast estate, such as four acclaimed restaurants (including Ristorante Guido led by Michelin-starred chef Ugo Alciati), two hotels, cultural events, and more.

Ready to hop on a plane? Visit the Fontanafredda website, or get a taste of the "European Winery of the Year" at your local Eataly!

Then, look for the official announcement of the Wine Enthusiast award in the magazine's special edition on December 31. Fontanafredda, the only Italian winery nominated for "European Winery of the Year," faced fierce competition, made up of highly-renowned companies, including the German Dr Loosen, the Alsatian Domaine Shlumberger, the Spanish Gonzalez Byass, and the Portuguese DFJ Vignos.

Congratulazioni, Fontanafredda!