Fashionable winemaker steps into China


A wine-maker from a famous Italian fashion-industry family is making a foray into China, intent on capitalising on the booming market.

Image courtesy of Castiglion Del Bosco

Massimo Ferragamo runs the American operation of the famous shoe brand Salvatore Ferragamo, and personally owns the highly-rated Tuscan vineyard Castiglion Del Bosco. Ten years ago the New York based businessman bought the winery, land and buildings with the intention of revitalizing the entire project.

The ultimate result is an estate that produces quality wines – it is a Brunello appellation – and also boasts a series of super-luxury villas and an exclusive golf course. The link with the millionaire lifestyle – and association with the esteemed brand – will not do Ferragamo any harm at all when marketing in wines in prestige and status-conscious China.

Says Ferragamo: “We would like to expand, I think China is a wonderful market. I feel it is like the US several years ago, there is increased attention on wine and I think the Chinese market is realising that Italian wines are as great as any French wines but at very reasonable value.”

The primary Castiglion del Bosco line of wines represents the region’s two classic denominations, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, produced in a standard version as well as the prestigious Campo Del Drago cru and Rosso di Montalcino DOC. There is also the Brunello Reserva Millecento, made only in certain vintages.

“We are the fifth largest out of the 240 producers in the region but when we picked up the vineyard ten years ago there was no distribution in the US and obviously none in China,” says Ferragamo. “We had to rebuild everything and now we do healthy business.”

That business will shortly include China, when negotiations are finalized with potential distributors. The Ferragamo name is certain to give Castiglion Del Bosco an advantage in a market that is luxury obsessed.

Salvatore Ferragamo – Massimo is the youngest son of the late shoe-maker to the stars – now counts China as its second largest market after the United States.

Consumers will also be able to stay at the Castiglion del Bosco vineyard -- if they have deep pockets. The larger of the ultra-luxurious villas on the tucked-away estate can rent for as much as €35,000 a week in the Tuscan peak season.

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