The Beginnings: Settimo Giuseppe
The history of the Ferrero winery starts at the beginning of the twentieth century in the small town of Annunziata, when Settimo Giuseppe, Renato’s paternal grandfather, started the business. Despite the company’s varied nature, the precious Nebbiolo grapes were being vinified and bottled even back then. The plaque he was awarded for his wines by the town of La Morra, dated 1933, bears witness to the commitment and passion for wine-making that have always characterized the Ferrero winery.
Nevertheless, during the second world war, the vineyards were uprooted to make room for grain. During that same period, Europe was hit by the devastating phylloxera epidemic, an insect imported from America, extremely harmful for our vines.
The 1950s: Lorenzo Ferrero
In the 1950s, Lorenzo Ferrero, Renato’s father, once again planted the family vineyards; he grafted the native vine shoots with American vines, the only ones capable of resisting aphids. Back then, the grapes produced were partly vinified and partly sold, thus Lorenzo began to create his little market. Barolo and Nebbiolo were already being bottled back then, while other wines were mostly sold in bulk. However, his father’s premature death in 1966, slowed down the family business activities.
The third generation: Renato and Nina Ferrero
Later on, young Renato and his older brother began making wine once again, consolidating their work by introducing the DOC certification in the 80s. In that same period, however, his brother left the company because of its small size. From that day on Renato devoted body and soul to the company inherited from his father, and slowly but surely the business began to grow.
In the 90’s Nina joined her husband Renato in managing the winery, specifically focusing on welcoming guests for visits to the wine cellar, the Vacation Home and tastings.
Currently, the Ferrero winery has a total area of about 5 hectares, three of which are owned, and produces roughly 25,000 bottles a year.
Settimo was a handyman: a practical man, strong and resourceful, capable of making his own work tools and even making his own cart.
However, one night in January 1944 he had to confront a very difficult challenge. A group of partisans came to his farmhouse and asked him for food and shelter for the night.
Settimo, didn’t hesitate at all and led them to the stall, the only warm place that could lodge so many people.
The risk, was obviously very high. The punishment for those found helping help the Resistance was execution.
The following morning he got up early to check up on things and came across a group of Nazis, who approached him in a threatening manner.
Settimo however kept a cool head and confronted the group. The Germans asked him how to get to Barolo.
After showing them the old road that passes by Luciani, at the foot of his property, and seeing them walk away he took a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief. In fact, if the partisans had been discovered, the Nazis would have burned the entire township.
The Manzoni Wine Cellar
The old family house, located in Annunziata, was built in 1750 with a very particular technique. The house’s foundation, made up of the cellar where the Barolo Manzoni is currently aged, was built by digging the wall’s grooves in the ground and placing the vault’s bricks on the earth. Once the structure was completed, the cellar was emptied. Today it still bears the characteristic features of when it was built: a beaten earth floor, an uneven vault and walls made of “sas”, a type of sand which once solidified becomes extremely solid and stable.
The wine cellar is a real treasure. If the walls could speak they would unravel the mystery that hovers around a strange bottle found by Renato during some restoration work. A magnum di Moët et Chandon dated 1900, French champagne from one of the most important wineries in the world.