Allegrini 2024

President Mattarella has conferred the Honor of Merit to Marco Caprai for ethical entrepreneurship

Since 2016, the leading winery in Umbria has distinguished itself for including migrants in its workforce. The pastry chef, Nicola Di Lena, is the new Knight of the Order of Merit

It is the first time for the wine world, and like all first times, it is absolutely to be remembered. The main reason is that the award was given for a fundamental commitment - sustainability - which perhaps is a word that has too broad of a meaning, but it is an essential value for most people. And not only in the more “classic” contexts, that is, environmental and economical, but also social. This is the case of Marco Caprai, son of Arnaldo Caprai, a far-sighted textile entrepreneur, awarded the title of Cavaliere del Lavoro in 2002. Marco Caprai has been at the helm of the company since 1988, and brought Sagrantino to the world. In the 1960s, the vine had been almost forgotten, and the Caprai family relaunched it, revolutionizing it in the sense of passion and vision. The result is that the Montefalco Sagrantino district is a solid territory and has become the symbol of the Umbria Region, which is considered the green heart of Italy.
Marco Caprai has made a very important commitment on the social level as well. As a matter of fact, since 2016, the Arnaldo Caprai Agricultural Company of Montefalco has begun a process of collaboration with Caritas of Foligno to included migrants in the work world. The project that pushes for integration, offered the opportunity to nearly 200 people. Six out of ten migrants then remained working permanently, with all their paperwork in order, pruning vines and harvesting grapes, demonstrating that hospitality can be transformed into a benefit for the company and the territory.
This commitment deeply touched the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who recently announced awarding thirty honors of Merit of the Italian Republic to citizens distinguished for ethical entrepreneurship, for their commitment in favor of prisoners, for solidarity, for volunteer, for activities in favor of social inclusion, legality, the right to health or for acts of heroism. President Mattarella has emphasized, among the many examples in civil society and institutions, various significant cases of civil commitment, dedication to the common good and testimony to the Republic’s values. Among these, Marco Caprai was awarded the honor for ethical entrepreneurship.
It is the first time that this honor has been awarded to a wine producer and to me, it is not only a source of great personal pride. This award also demonstrates the extraordinary ability of agriculture to integrate and include. I would like the third sector to be perhaps more courageous in looking at business’ capabilities, and especially the agricultural business. Two thirds of asylum seekers have continued to work with us. The agricultural world has a shortage of manpower, and these people can fill this void, through quality and commitment”, said Marco Caprai, who, in addition to managing his winery is also a member of the Confagricoltura National Council.
It is a highly prestigious award, and it is the most recent one in chronological order, awarded to the winery. They had previously been awarded by the UNHCR, the UN agency for refugees, and just recently the “Ethical Winemaker Award”, given by the “100 wines and winemakers of Italy” Guide, signed by Luciano Ferraro and James Suckling. Caprai added that “these types of projects have a broad, ethical and innovative scope, because they connect the first sector, agriculture, and the third sector (that is, the non-profit world), in a virtuous cooperation. It helps companies and helps many people in difficulty to rebuild their lives through work, contributing to the important and fundamental theme of inclusion. Furthermore, it also enriches society, because projects like these put people who come from different, countries, traditions and cultures in communication in a positive and concrete way”.
Marco Caprai is the only representative of the wine world awarded by President Sergio Mattarella, while instead, representing the “food” world there is Nicola Di Lena, 42 years old, and the new Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, “for having started an ethical business activity aimed at including people with various disabilities”. Nicola, after a brilliant experience as Chef in a starred restaurant in Milan, decided to return to his homeland, San Vito dei Normanni, in Apulia, where he founded a pastry shop, “Virgola”, offering work to people who are victims of violence or disabilities. A pastry chef with a heart, and the hands, of gold.

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