Is destiny written in a name? Improbable, it would seem, but it is a fact that the Ferrari firm of Trento, just like the racing car team of Maranello, is, in its sector, that of sparkling wine, the best known and most prestigious. And, just like the automobile company, the sparkling wine house bears the name of its founder, but is not run by his descendants. Because, like Enzo Ferrari, Giulio Ferrari, a native and nobleman of the Trentino region, who studied viticulture at Montpellier and completed his studies in Champagne, returning to his native region in 1902 to create a sparkling wine firm, had no heirs. For this reason, in 1951, at seventy years of age, he decided to sell his company to Bruno Lunelli who, after having worked as a shop assistant for the parents of Cesare Battisti, an Italian patriot hung by the Austrians, had opened a wine shop just a few doors away, near the cathedral of Trento. Ferrari, nonetheless, continued to be active in the firm until 1965, the year of his death. Bruno Lunelli, who at the time had only 63, left the reins of the company to his children four years later, perhaps with a presentiment of the premature death which would arrive four years later. But two years previously he had the satisfaction of inaugurating the company’s new headquarters at the gates of Trento, near the Ponte di Ravina bridge.
Ferrari’s supremacy in the production of high quality sparkling wine was gained through the efforts of three of his five children: Gino, the president of the company, Franco, who ran the wine shop near the cathedral, and Mauro, the oenologist, who perfected, in 1972, the legendary Riserva del Fondatore, the classic blanc de blancs of Giulio Ferrari, an all-Chardonnay cuvée from a single vineyard at Maso Pianizza, a true cru which, for soil and micro-climate, can be considered a masterpiece of nature. Made solely from grapes which are perfectly ripe, it is produced only in fine vintages with a period of aging on its lees which can last up to ten years. The object of tireless care and attention, it is an elegant Spumante, delicate, and exceptionally long-lived. It is the peak of a production pyramid of 4.8 million bottles annually, and this is the core business of a small empire which also owns a series of agricultural estates which produce still wines, the Surgiva mineral water, and the grappa distillery Segnana. The third generation of the Lunelli family is now in charge, and consists of three cousins: Matteo, vice-president; Marcello, oenologist; and Camilla, who directs contacts with the public and with the clientele. She is the first woman to arrive in an executive position in the firm.