That of the Zonins is a story that goes back for almost two centuries, passed on through seven generations. It has its roots in Gambellara, in the heart of the Veneto, in a zone that is ideal for producing fine wines. The three brothers, represent the seventh generation of the company’s history: Domenico Zonin President, Francesco Zonin and Michele Zonin Vice-Presidents. It is they who are now entrusted with the task of carrying on the success of the family business, maintaining – with a vision that is contemporary and innovative - the traditions and precious experience that have been handed down since 1821.
Domenico Zonin was born in Vicenza in 1973. From his early youth onwards he spent time helping out in the family company and in 1999 he officially joined ZONIN1821. Prior to this, he had gained his High School Diploma in Classical Studies and, in 1997, a Law Degree from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. He had also taken two courses in Enology at UC Davis, in California, U.S.A., and at the Université Victor Segalen in Bordeaux, France. He has been President of ZONIN1821 March 2016, having previously held the position of Vice President in charge of production and all allied activities for the family’s Estates, assisted by a team of 32 winemakers and agronomists. His mission is that of bringing ZONIN1821’s products to the highest possible level of quality, concentrating especially on highlighting the potential of indigenous grape varieties. Other positions of responsibility held by Domenico Zonin are those of Vice President of Unione Italiana Vini (the “trade association” of the Italian wine sector, of which he was in fact President from 2013 to 2016), of the Valoritalia wine control body and of CEEV (the representative professional body of the EU wine industry). He is also a Council Member of Vinexpo and of the Prosecco D.O.C. Producers’ Consortium.
Francesco Zonin was born in Vicenza in 1974, he graduated from the Università Bocconi in Milan in Economics and Business Studies after specialising in Science at school. Of great importance for his professional training was his experience in the United States between 1998 and 2002, where he looked after the development of the American market and the sales networks of Zonin’s distributors in the U.S.A., as well as the family’s Barboursville Vineyards Estate, in Virginia. Since 2002 he has been based at the company’s historic headquarter in Gambellara, coordinating sales and marketing activities both on the home and export markets.
Michele Zonin born in 1977, coordinates the financial, legal and management control department for ZONIN1821 and the family Estates. After specialising in Classics at school, he graduated in Law from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan before gaining a postgraduate Master’s Degree in Accounting and Control from the Università Bocconi. Before joining the family company, he worked for two years for the important international law firm NCTM and for the Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Company in Italy.
ZONIN1821 is one of the most important Italian wine producer and also one of the foremost worldwide. It distributes and markets still and sparkling wines under the Zonin label as well as those of the family’s nine Estates.
Inspired by the principle “each region has its own traditions, each region has its own wines”, since the end of the 1960s, have been selecting outstanding terroirs, bringing ZONIN1821 to its present area under vine of around 2.000 hectares, supervised by a team of 32 oenologists and agronomists. These make up 9 Estates situated in Italy’s 7 finest wine region, as well as a property in the United States, Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia.
Different production areas, each with its own specific terroir and its own peculiarities in terms of climate and morphology, the experience and professionalism of our agronomists and oenologists and the choice of dynamic business strategies: these are the most important values on which our company’s philosophy is based.
Ever since 1821 the Zonin family has been linked with the cultivation of vines and the production of wine, but it was in 1921 that a real revolution began: Commendator Domenico Zonin set about developing his family’s lands and vineyards, thus creating ZONIN1821.
At the beginning of the 1960s there was another major turning point: Domenico – whose life straddled three centuries and two millennia (1899 – 2001) – was joined in the company by his nephew Gianni, who became President of the firm in 1967. The young President immediately set himself the goal of creating a world made up of vineyards and estates situated in Italy’s best quality Regions for wine production, so as to be able to guarantee the quality of the grapes and of the wine through direct and total control of the whole production process.
His dream started to become a reality in 1970, with the acquisition of Ca’ Bolani, in Friuli, the most famous Italian wine Region in the production of outstanding white wines. “I still remember when we bought Ca’ Bolani in Friuli - Gianni Zonin recounts - it was 1970 and there were some doubts in my family as to the wisdom of leaving the confines of our home region of the Veneto. But I was convinced of my idea: to produce really fine wines one has to own vineyards, selecting the best terroirs and the most typical grape varieties. So I went ahead with my plan”.
Subsequently the collection of wine estates was enriched with the purchase of other gems: first Castello di Albola (1979), which epitomizes the unmistakable aristocratic charm of Chianti Classico.
The following year Abbazia Monte Oliveto, a wine farm in San Gimignano, the homeland of Vernaccia, also became an integral part of this great project.
The family’s vineyard holdings then spread to Piedmont with the acquisition of Castello del Poggio (1985), in the very best area for the production of Asti and Barbera, and to Lombardy with the annexing of Tenuta Il Bosco (1987), a wine estate situated in the Oltrepò Pavese, a classic region for the legendary Pinot Nero.
Constantly on the lookout for new terroirs and indigenous vine varieties, in the 1990s Gianni Zonin identified the South of Italy as the ideal area in which to produce the great wines of the future: he bought Feudo Principi di Butera (1997) on the splendid island of Sicily and Masseria Altemura (2000) in the Salento Peninsula, in Puglia. He was also enthralled by an enchanting spot lying between the Mediterranean scrubland – lapped by the waves of the Ionian Sea – and the metal-bearing hills, and so he returned for the third time to Tuscany in order to purchase the Rocca di Montemassi (1999) and give a new impetus to the outstanding quality potential of the Maremma.
Gianni Zonin was also the pioneer of top-quality viticulture on the East Coast of the United States. In 1976, he bought the Barboursville Vineyards estate, thus realizing the dream of American President Thomas Jefferson who maintained that Virginia could produce world-class wines.
In 2008 Gianni Zonin celebrated the Golden Anniversary of his relationship with wine: in these fifty vintages a project took shape that has few equals anywhere in Europe.
MISSION. Our mission is to be known and written about for the quality and value of our wines by all customer segments. We want to be the global solution for Italian wine in the trade.
Study on grapes and vines, together with constant innovation and attention to market trends and market opportunities, allow ZONIN1821 to capitalize on the years of activity in the wine business and, at the same time, to open up to new challenges of globalization, sharing the following values within the company:
HERITAGE : seven generations of wine making tradition. Company managed by Gianni Zonin and his family.
COMMITMENT : the Zonin family owns their own vineyards, grows their own grapes and bottles their wines at each estate.
BREADTH : ZONIN1821 owns 9 wine estates located in 7 wine regions of Italy for a total of 4,000 hectares (9,884 acres) of properties, 2,000 (4,942 acres) of which are vine planted.
INVESTMENT : ZONIN1821 has installed state-of-the-art wine making equipment on each estate. Each ZONIN1821 winery has its own vinification, aging cellar and bottling facilities on site.
EXPERTISE : A staff of 32 professionals, one of the largest staff of enologists and agronomists in Europe.
SERVICE : ZONIN1821 International Department: more than 80 professionals who are dedicated to providing customers with fast and excellent service from orders handling, logistics, sales & marketing & field support along with world-class hospitality.
INTEGRITY : the Zonin Family carefully oversees the production cycle at each step from soil analysis, planting, vineyard management and its environmental impact, harvesting, vinification and bottling.
INNOVATION : study indigenous grapes and innovative wines in order to constantly meet the needs of emerging consumers and catch the attention of both consumers and buyers all over the world.
MARKET ORIENTED : innovation, attention to market trends and market opportunities.
ZONIN1821 is one of the most important italian wine producer and also one of the foremost worldwide. It is a business that has always been market-oriented and which distributes and markets still and sparkling wines under the Zonin label as well as those of the family’s Estates. ZONIN1821, whose portfolio includes 9 outstanding estates in Italy’s finest wine-producing Regions - a total of around 2000 hectares – as well as the splendid “Barboursville Vineyards” property in the heart of Virginia, is presided over by Cavaliere Gianni Zonin, one of the world’s greatest authorities on wine production who is recognized internationally as one of the undisputed leading figures in Italian wine.
A wide range of high-quality wines encompassing the most representative D.O.C.s and D.O.C.G.s, a distribution network covering over 100 countries around the world, the largest staff of oenologists and agronomists in Europe, quality, tradition and more than 190 years of history and passion for wine passed down from generation to generation: these are the key elements in the company’s success.
In important markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom, subsidiary import and distribution companies - Zonin USA and Zonin UK - have been set up in order to look after local sales and marketing; recently, too, shares have been bought in an importing and distribution company in Japan and further important investments of this type are planned in China and Brazil, up-and-coming markets for wine.
Armed with his personal experience of over 50 vintages, Gianni Zonin has succeeded in foreseeing changes in the global wine market, innovating sales and marketing techniques and concentrating on giving added value to indigenous varieties and to the relationship between a wine and its region of origin, which is a vital cultural asset for Italy’s producers. His creed, also shared and put into effect by his three sons, is to offer the highest possible quality at the right price, with wines that are instantly recognizable, distinctive and user-friendly.
Today, alongside the three fundamental strengths on which ZONIN1821 is based – the tradition of a long history (going back almost two hundred years and seven generations); the innovation guaranteed by a constant quest for higher quality in the vineyard, in the winery and in the marketing and sales departments; the size and quality of Italy’s largest privately-owned vineyard holding in the country’s finest wine-producing regions – one should also consider the company’s attention towards practising ever more ecologically sustainable viticulture. Indeed, ZONIN1821, by operating strategies and production techniques that are decidedly “green”, is perfecting an integrated process that keeps three fundamental factors in mind: every action that is put into effect must be safe for the environment, socially equitable and feasible from a financial point of view. Since 2008 ZONIN1821 has been working to reach certain important goals – some of which have already been attained and others of which are in the process of being so – and it is doing this through key elements such as water, soil, terroir and energy.
In Sicily at Feudo Principi di Butera and in Puglia at Masseria Altemura, for example, water has always been a precious commodity, and even more so in particularly dry years, when even vines require emergency irrigation. ZONIN1821 has therefore created, wherever possible, artificial lakes within these properties, in order to collect rain water and make the estates self-sufficient as regards their water needs, without having to resort to the aquifers. Having water available does not, however, prevent the technical team from making only sparing use of it: monitoring the state of hydration of the vines using a pressure chamber allows one to use water for irrigation only when it is absolutely necessary for preventing stress in the plants.
To break down the impact in viticulture ZONIN1821 has reintroduced (at Rocca di Montemassi in the Maremma and at Castello d’Albola in Chianti Classico) the traditional natural fertilizer known as “green manure” using leguminous and graminaceous essences instead of mineral fertilizers in order to give the soil those elements which the vine needs for nourishment. The multi-functionality of the agricultural equipment used on the family’s Estates, moreover, also allows one to reduce the number of times one has to go through the vineyard during the growing season.
Within the 4000 or so hectares of land owned by the Zonin family, there are 715 hectares of woodland that guarantee the fixation of over 5700 tons of CO2 each year. Biodiversity is also protected by means of operations that have been carried out particularly at the Rocca di Montemassi Estate in the Maremma, where ZONIN1821 has preserved the typical Mediterranean scrubland made up of olive trees and cork oaks and, at the same time, has replanted woodland and shrubs of broom, arbutus and mimosa, making the zone both a haven for the local flora and fauna as well as rendering the landscape particularly beautiful.
The Zonin family’s Estates are aiming to become completely self-sufficient from an energy point of view. Even now they produce up to 44% of their individual needs by resorting to (“clean”) solar energy, as in the case of the Il Bosco Estate in Oltrepò Pavese and Castello del Poggio in the Monferrato zone. The Estates are situated in particularly attractive landscapes, so the panels have been positioned on the roofs of farm buildings or of the wineries so as to reduce their visual impact almost totally.
In 2011 and 2012 ZONIN1821 took part in two ecologically sustainable projects, thus confirming the profound attention that the company pays to the environment and the local terroir. They are called MAGIS and TERGEO, and are designed to define all-encompassing guidelines for safely tending one’s vines and making italian quality wines.
Both projects, promoted by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, concentrate on different aspects that are connected with the ethical concept of ecological sustainability :
environment-based, favouring biodiversity in the areas of the Zonin family’s various wine Estates;
energy-based, making all the Zonin family’s wine Estates autonomous within the space of a few years as regards the use of “clean energy” and allowing them to decide whether or not to use emergency drip-irrigation, which aims – apart from keeping the vines healthier– also to keep the use of water resources under control;
wine production-based, with the first steps taken towards making organic wines, as practised for example in Sicily at the Feudo Principi di Butera Estate;
social/training-based, with a commitment towards ever greater and updated knowledge about the sector.
Also, for three years now, ZONIN1821 has been taking part in VITEBIO, a project created by the Università Cattolica in Piacenza that studies forecast data regarding vine diseases. 2012 also saw the beginning of a project that is unique in Italy regarding the evaluation of energy self-sufficiency at the Zonin family’s Estates, carried out in conjunction with Milan Polytechnic.
From the Latin “more”, aims to reduce the utilization of agrochemicals in the vineyard, promoting their carefully targeted use only when and where necessary, in order to conserve and safeguard the environment and improve the level of quality even “more”. The Magis project is being carried out in conjunction with the Unione Italiana Vini and the Italian Oenologists’ Association, and began in 2011.
Represents a sustainability model for obtaining greater efficiency. ZONIN1821 plays a very active role in the development of this project, regarding two fundamental aspects that have to do with sustainability: wine quality and the social aspect, that is to say attention to human resources, thanks to ongoing training and constant and assiduous contact with the consumer community. This allows one to always be respectful of - and closely linked with – one’s cultural and territorial roots, thus providing everyone with the skills to produce an excellent terroir-based wine.
Experimentation carried out using the weather stations in the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vineyards at Rocca di Montemassi in the Maremma and those of Nero d’Avola at Feudo Principi di Butera in Sicily, for example, has allowed Zonin to collect important data regarding this subject and progress with research, as well as producing the first vinifications carried out using this information.
Stefano Ferrante was born in Milan in 1973, where he graduated in Agricultural Sciences under the supervision of Professor Scienza. He began his career in Tuscany before gaining further experience abroad, in Australia and New Zealand. In 2003 he joined ZONIN1821 as Director of the newly-founded Rocca di Montemassi Estate, now one of the leading producers in the new winemaking panorama of the Tuscan Maremma. Stefano Ferrante’s role is to take up and develop the company’s winemaking heritage, in close collaboration with Domenico Zonin, Vice-President of the Gambellara-based firm who is responsible for production, with Carlo De Biasi, Chief Agronomist for the Estates, and with Denis Dubourdieu, Professor and Rector of the Faculty of Oenology in Bordeaux and one of the world’s outstanding winemakers.
Carlo De Biasi was born in Trento in 1968. After taking a Diploma in Winemaking and a Degree in Agricultural Sciences, he began his career working with the Institute at Michele all’Adige, where he looked after viticultural zoning projects, fundamental for understanding the delicate rapport between wine quality and the potential of the terroir. This specialist skill was recognized and appreciated when he was awarded the G. Morsiani International Prize for Oenology and Viticulture. After moving to an important grape-growing firm in the Verona area, he became Chief Agronomist of ZONIN1821 in 1999, a quite “natural” destination because it has given him the opportunity to work at various Estates, experiment in different terroirs and deal with a whole host of viticultural situations.
ZONIN1821 has its own website, which represents the corporate image, and is directly linked to all the other wineries' websites. We also offer a website dedicated to our division in the UK (www.zonin.co.uk), in the US (www.zoninusa.com), as well as a Zonin Prosecco web page www.zoninprosecco.com), where we post news, cocktail’s recipes, chef’s recipes, videos, events and contests related to Prosecco and other wines with the opportunity to win a trip to Italy.
Our most recent website is the one dedicated to Moscato d’Asti wine from our Castello del Poggio Estate in Piedmont. This has been a great success in the United States, especially in the Olive Garden restaurant chain. It has become the number 1 selling Moscato in America! Social media has become a fresh, original and effective way to communicate the brand’s image, and to relate to consumers in a closer and relaxed environment.
Facebook and Twitter target especially young consumers, although it is becoming a common place for a more mature public, as it is seen as an easy, inexpensive way to stay tuned with the world. Constantly updated, our Facebook sites comprehend all our brands, from the institutional, ZONIN1821, to Zonin Prosecco and all the wineries. There are contests announced and followed online and through the Facebook sites.