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Winemaker Spotlight: The Lonardo Family, Cantina Lonardo

“You can’t just look to the past, you have to move forward. You have to try new things to bring out the best in the wines.” - Sandro Lonardo

And that, my friends, is one of the reasons I’ve fallen in love with this winery. While they’re committed to following winemaking traditions for generations, they’re not afraid to try something new, like making one of their wines in amphora instead of wood barrels. But they won’t compromise on is the quality of their wines. And that's why I'm a superfan.

Tell me more:

  • Who are the Lonardo Family? This family has lived in the village of Taurasi since the 18th Century and they’ve been making wine in their family for generations. But it wasn’t until 1998 that they started bottling their wine under their own label. Today, three generations are working together through every part of the winemaking process from the vineyards to bottling their wines.

  • What makes their winery so special? One of the great things about this family is their commitment to preserving old vines. In fact, the Lonardo Family is largely credited with helping to save one of the local white wine grapes, Rovello, from extinction. They’re one of the last three wineries to cultivate the grape and craft their Grecomusc’ white wine. Grecomusc’ is the Taurasi dialect word for the Rovello grape and it’s a staple in wine club.

  • What are all these pictures with grapevines growing overhead? The idea of growing grapes overhead in an open square pattern comes from our ancestors. For centuries, Irpinia was the country playground for nobility in Naples. Each village was the country house for a duke, baron, or prince. Irpinians worked the land for their noble and were given a plot for their families where they could grow their own grapes and crops. Well with limited space and lots of mouths to feed, they came up with this ingenious system to grow the grapes overhead and underneath they’d grow the other crops they needed/wanted throughout the year. Today it’s officially recognized as the pergola avellinese and we love supporting winemakers who preserve these treasures.

  • Does the family do tastings at the winery? Absolutely. From their big, bold Aglianicos to their special Grecomusc’ they love to show off their craft in the vineyards and by sharing a bottle with you at the winery. Send me a note and let’s get you set up to see some of Irpinia’s living history with a fantastic family.

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