A local production of wine, culture and innovation.
Lungarotti winery is synonymous with passion and bound to its land, the town of Torgiano in Perugia Province, the region which gave birth to Umbrian wine. This brand is being present in the U.S. market for over 40 years, during which it has been represented from different partners. Focus is undoubtedly around their most characterizing fine products, especially those representing the area of Torgiano, where they have roots. With several DOC and DOCG wines, among which Rubesco, Torre di Giano, Rubesco Riserva, San Giorgio, Rosso and Sagrantino di Montefalco, they can be highly representative of the Umbria Region in the U.S., as well as in other foreign countries where they export.
The origins of Lungarotti winery date back to Italian history, the hard moment of second post-war, thanks to the insights that its founder Giorgio Lungarotti had in the field of wine industry. Today it is easy to talk about research, ecosystem and selection, but it was not so obvious when, in late '50s, he decided to look forward to a quality production, relaunching the Umbrian and national viticulture. Not satisfied with the appreciation he had already in the area, he decided to revolutionize everything: from leases to the morphology of the land, the vines.
Not by chance it has been written about him that he "drew the world wine map in Umbria", moving from one crop type to a mixed intensive cultivation of vineyards, according to the techniques of the time, and always relying on research studies thanks to advices of the Faculty of Agriculture of Perugia.
Founded in the early 60's, the company soon became a driving force that opened up new opportunities not only for Torgiano but for the whole of Umbria too: wine as the centerpiece of a very high quality touristic and productive center, and cornerstone of an integrated promotional tool for the whole region. The company now has at its helm the sisters Chiara Lungarotti and Teresa Severini, while art historian Maria Grazia Lungarotti successfully heads and manages the Lungarotti Foundation, maintaining a strong family imprint characterized by a respect for values as history and tradition.
Their hallmark commitment to the company and keen eye for innovation have infused the Lungarotti Group with new energy, strengthening the family position as a guarantee not only for the present but also for the future.
As demonstration of the importance given to the cultural aspect, of considerable importance is the Wine Museum foundation in 1974, inspired by examples of Center of Studies and Museum introduced in Europe at that time. The Museo del Vino (MUVIT) has few rivals in the world in terms of number and quality of works on display, described by the NY Times as the most important in Italy and one of the most beautiful in the world.
The thematic collections are veritable "museums within the museum" and range from ceramics of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and contemporary periods, as well as collections of antique books, works of art and technical equipment for viticulture and vinification, to contemporary sculptures that explore the myth of Dionysus and the occasions for enjoying wine. A section dedicated to the use of wine in medicine explores the healthy properties of wine that were already known in antiquity and are now confirmed by science.
In recent years, the Foundation renewed and confirmed their cultural choice, building and opening to the public in 2000, a second museum dedicated to the culture of oil, Museo dell'Olivo e dell'Olio (MOO), thus creating in Torgiano a center specialized in high quality agricultural museography.
As the town was taking shape as a major tourist site, in 1978 came the 5 stars Le Tre Vaselle, as need and desire to welcome all visitors and travelers in the atmosphere and elegant decor of a Casa gentilizia noble Umbrian country house. Now this Resort & Spa, offering from 2010 a unique Vinotherapy in the evoking BellaUve wellness center, is the preferred destination for many European visitants, but also many guests coming from the Unites States.
Last of Lungarotti group's innovative projects is the professional cooking school for amateurs "The Food and Art Italian Experience", developed with ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine, dedicated to hands-on cooking courses and itineraries.
Turning point in the company growth and opening of new horizons is probably 1962, the first vintage in which it was produced Rubesco, the world's most popular Lungarotti wine. This almost pure Sangiovese is one of the few Italian wines that has been aged 50 years, and for the occasion a new commemorative bottle it's been produced. Fame of this wine began roughly three decades ago when, during a blind wine tasting together with others Bordeaux wines, it was voted for first prize.
Exports in the United States began in the early '70s, starting with the city of Chicago, home of the first trading partner, then spread on a national scale. Over the past 2 years the company has started a new collaboration with the importer Vin Divino, always based in Chicago but with representatives in various States. With this new partner a successful and fruitful relationship is constantly developing, concentrating on market positioning, as well as sales in general. Main customers are in fact in the ON trade channel, especially in the restaurant industry and in the medium and high retail level. This work focused on the positioning and sales, has yielded good results, since they managed to close last year with a growth of around 35% and the trend remains positive.
In addition to their presence in the West Coast, both north and south California, main areas of export are Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Florida.
As for local disposal, in California Lungarotti is distributed by American Wines, while public relations are handled by Calhoun&Company Communication, which has its headquarters just in San Francisco.
True evidence of the proximity, at least at ideological level, between Umbria and Napa Valley in California is the bond of friendship that tied, since the '70s, Lungarotti family with producer Robert Mondavi and his wife Margaret. In fact, after an international competition in Paris in which founder Giorgio Lungarotti was judge, recognizing the quality of American products, California wines became more successful and famous. After that, Mondavi visited Torgiano several times, getting inspired from that production philosophy to recreate in Napa Valley.
Interviewed by Italo-Americano newspaper, CEO of the company Chiara Lungarotti confirms that long tradition of visiting California, especially Napa and Sonoma Valley, is always a very interesting experience concerning the new frontiers of wine tourism. As a matter of fact here wineries are a perfect example of hospitality, a fundamental tool of marketing to make sure that visitor once returns home, will be the best ambassador of local products, territory and culture.
The company was engaged in the international exhibition Vinitaly 2012 in Verona, being also part of the opening event Opera Wines, among the 100 most prestigious wineries of Italy selected by Wine Spectator, with Rubesco Riserva Vigna Monticchio (2006) the most award-winning and renowned wine. This product has received top rating by famous Gambero Rosso, then was selected for its recent Tre Bicchieri World Tour in the US, as well as received reviews by prestigious magazines and website worldwide, last of them American wine blog Snooth that included Lungarotti among the Top 10 Sangiovese producer in Italy.
by Roberto Natalini
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