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Benjamin Franchetti: Tenuta di Trinoro and Passopisciaro, the future of continuity

Andrea Franchetti’s son talked to WineNews about one of the most enlightened and nonconformist Italian wine producers

Andrea Franchetti, one of the most enlightened and nonconformist Italian wine producers who created two iconic Estates, such as Tenuta di Trinoro, in the ​​famous Val d'Orcia, (but not for wine), and Passopisciaro, on Etna, that at the time was not as well-known nor at the center of attention like it is today. The goal is continuing on the path that the team has built over the years, as well as carrying out projects already planned before his untimely death (December 5, 2021), such as adding a year in the bottle to the Trinoro Estate before putting on the market. It is also investing in wineries and hospitality; innovating where you can and where it is needed, enhancing what is good and essential in tradition and history. The path of the two Estates, and an excellent history of Italian wine are restarting, or rather continuing on by Benjamin Franchetti, one of Andrea’s sons (together with his brothers Cody, Giordano and Baldassarra), who talked to WineNews.
“Let’s say that we are continuing, and we are growing on solid foundations. What I would like to say to the whole team”, emphasized Benjamin, “which is the one that my father followed in his path over the years, is that the most important thing for him was not to create a “legacy”, a personal heritage. He did not want Andrea Franchetti to be remembered, but rather he wanted the companies he created to be more and more well known. It has always been more important to put the names Tenuta di Trinoro and Passopisciaro in front of his name. The goal has always been to create companies that will go down in history, and that will become references of Italian wine. In order to achieve his goal, he was convinced that it was essential to build the team, and he worked very hard on this. He had a very strong personality, but he was also a person who knew how to give space to everyone, and especially to young people”.
Young people like Benjamin, who is not new to the company. “I’ve been in the company since 2016, it didn’t just “fall from the sky” to me. I know it very well. We have been talking and discussing regularly with the team for years. Lorenzo Fornaini is at Tenuta di Trinoro and he actually followed my father as an oenologist. As soon as he finished University, he did an internship in the company and then stayed on. He was a reference for my father, and they were on the same wavelength in taste, the vision of wine, and passion. I see Lorenzo’s way of making wine will continue to be a reference. And the same applies to the director-oenologist, Calogero Portannese. Lorenzo is not even 30 years old, while Calogero is 31 years old. So, we are talking about very young people, who have fundamental operative roles in the company (and who together with Andrea Franchetti, signed the 2019 vintage of Tenuta di Trinoro, 100/100 for “Robert Parker Wine Advocate”, whose Italian correspondent is Monica Larner, ed.). In Passopisciaro, we have Vincenzo Lo Mauro, director-oenologist, who has been there since the very first day, for 20 years now, and had a very deep relationship with my father. No one better than him can continue my father’s vision of Etna. My goal”, explained Benjamin, “is to enhance this team of people who have been there for many years, and who know my father’s vision and passion very well. I will be the director of this team, I was lucky to have had a very good relationship with my father, and I have a concrete and clear idea of ​​what he would have liked to continue doing. The wines my father imagined and created have a life of their own, an identity that transcends the creator. Our task now, in Tuscany and in Sicily, is to keep the unique expression of the vineyards on the properties alive, as well as continue to translate these territories into the magnificent wines they generate”.
And then, one is curious to find out what projects are in the future of Tenuta di Trinoro and Passopisciaro. “We have started with some changes, some of my father’s ideas”, explained Benjamin Franchetti, “that we are carrying forward. For instance, from the 2020 harvest, Tenuta di Trinoro will stay one more year in the bottle; therefore, it will not be released on the market this year, but next year, because the idea is to enhance the Trinoro Estate. This bottle had a special meaning for my father. He spoke of the company as a whole, but often also of Tenuta di Trinoro as a single wine, and therefore, to value it even more we thought it was right to give it more time than all the other wines. So, it will not be released this year, but it will be released in 2023. Then, we will work on the winery, and on a new area for hospitality and tasting, in Passopisciaro, too. We also have many other ideas in the works, which, however, need to be perfected before we communicate them”.
What will never change, though, added Benjamin, will be the priority to the concept of quality above all else. “The key thing, and my father’s lesson, has always been that quality comes before anything else. It is, and will remain the first priority. The demand is very high for Tenuta di Trinoro (production is around 10.000 bottles per year, ed.), today. We could sell 10 times the bottles we produce, but we are not letting ourselves be tempted. Furthermore, considering the way the team and I think, we will keep our ears open to what is happening outside the company, on the markets. We will work harder to get to know other territories and producers, and to learn from them. I think that we can always innovate in wine, in terms of quality and what quality means”. On the other hand, innovation is part of the young history of Benjamin Franchetti, who is also the co-founder of a company, Agricola Moderna, which works in vertical farming. “I believe that in wine, which has a long history, the two worlds of innovation and tradition go together, and not thinking that things must always be done in the same way, or like most people say. I take my father as an example. When he went to Val d’Orcia to make wine, not having studied enology or agronomy, he was told that he wanted to make wine where only potatoes grew. Today, instead, one of the most popular wines in the world is produced here. I think you can innovate a lot in the world of wine, but you must listen and learn from tradition. Innovation is now a necessity. Every year the climate changes, we see it in the vineyard, which is one of the most noticeable places. Every year, we have to invest more to heat the vines when there are frosts, and cool down the temperature in the cellar when it is too hot. Innovation is necessary in this context as well, and I can bring a little bit of my background from the world of innovation to “assist” this world, which carries with it a very long history of making wine”. Andrea Franchetti said that man feels fulfilled in what he creates. And, he has created a story from a dream - Tenuta di Trinoro and Passopisciaro - which continues beyond the dreamer.

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