Allegrini 2024

Ruffino focuses on “Winemaking Council”, a “dream team” of world-class winemakers and agronomists

“The aim is to increasingly elevate the quality of Ruffino wines and their stylistic distinctiveness”, explains Constellation Brands
Ruffino’s vineyards in Chianti Classico, where the company was born

From the “wine of the winemaker” to the wine of the “Winemaking Council”, the step is short, and far-sighted, because the difference in views and experiences, when succeeding in synthesis, brings innovation and improvement, even in wine. This is the path taken by Ruffino, one of the most important realities of Italian wine, owned by the giant Constellation Brands, which, to the body created in June 2023, and initially composed of oenologist Alberto Antonini, an Italian among the most established in the world, and agronomist Stefano Poni, as well as two internal members of Ruffino, oenologist Gabriele Tacconi and agronomist Maurizio Bogoni, “following the great success of this operation and the first exciting results”, which is now being strengthened and further complemented, with the enlargement to include two new external members, oenologists Stephanie Edge, from Australia, and Larry Stone, from the USA. “The Winemaking Council was created with the aim of increasingly elevating the quality of Ruffino wines and their stylistic distinctiveness within the Florentine winery’s prestigious portfolio of wines and estates and, in just a few months, has taken on an increasingly central role in the conception, strategic development and winemaking of the company”, explains a Ruffino note.
Looking at the two new additions, Australian winemaker Stephanie Edge has extensive winemaking experience gained at prestigious wineries in California, Europe, Argentina, and Australia until becoming Winemaking Vice President of Constellation Brands Group, the company that owns Ruffino. Larry Stone, an American and one of America's first Master Sommeliers, is the founder of the celebrated Oregon winery, Lingua Franca, and has nearly four decades of experience as a critic, taster and sommelier. Stephanie Edge and Larry Stone will join the other two external members, renowned Tuscan winemaker Alberto Antonini and agronomist, academic and expert in sustainability and precision viticulture Stefano Poni.
“A true dream-team of international scope has thus been formed, with very broad and diversified expertise in the entire production chain, from vineyard to cellar, of Ruffino’s great wines, and which will ensure further quality growth”. The committee, Ruffino further explains, is also completed with the addition of the three oenological managers of the three macro-areas of production of Ruffino wines, Alberto Stella, for the Chianti Classico and Montalcino estates, Olga Fusari for the Supertuscan estates and the Bolgheri DOC, and Rita Orrù for Chianti, Orvieto and the Aqua di Venus line.
“Alberto Stella, who will join the company in April, will be the new head of Chianti Classico DOCG wines at the Ruffino di Gretole and Santedame estates in Castellina in Chianti and the Greppone Mazzi estate in Montalcino. He will be given responsibility for our iconic wines Riserva Ducale Oro, Romitorio di Santedame and Greppone Mazzi. Alberto Stella has gained extensive experience in very diverse and qualifying agronomic and winery contexts, from Sicily, to Canada, New Zealand, South Australia and Valpolicella. Most recently, she worked five years in a prestigious Chianti Classico winery. The head winemaker for Supertuscan and Doc Bolgheri wines is Olga Fusari. Olga Fusari has been with the winery for less than a year and, building on her extensive past experience at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, she has left a strong impact on the wines in a short time and will now have full responsibility for Tenuta Poggio Casciano’s fine wines (Modus Primo and Alauda Igt Toscana) and Bolgheri wines. Finally, winemaker Rita Orrù, with a long experience in the company gained with Ruffino’s “historic” wines, will specifically deal with Chianti, Ruffino's first wine, Orvieto and the Acqua di Venus product line, demonstrating how the ambition to elevate the quality of the wines is transferred to the entire production. Moreover, oenologist Gabriele Tacconi, for almost thirty years in Ruffino, among the most continuous authors of the magnificent story of Riserva Ducale and Riserva Ducale Oro, will assume, always in the “Winemaking Council”, the role of Global Brand Ambassador, deputed to tell, in the main international markets, Ruffino wines.
All great professionals to continue the journey of transformation and evolution of their wines that Ruffino has recently undertaken”, explains Ruffino, a reality founded in Pontassieve, in the heart of Tuscany, in 1877, by cousins Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino, who dreamed of bringing the “ideal wine” to all the tables of the world, and today a reality with a worldwide scope, not only in the market, but also in the approach to wine production.

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