Founded in 1925 by Aldo Rainoldi, the Casa Vinicola Aldo Rainoldi can be counted among the most important vineyards in Valtellina. “Wine as a culture” is the slogan for this company.
We at Convivium met with Aldo Rainoldi, who spoke with us about the importance of improving production as a sign of tradition and joining a high-quality product respecting the environment
Mr. Rainoldi, can you tell us the history of your company?
“Our company, a family business, was founded by my grandfather Aldo, whose name I have the honour of bearing. In the early 1920s, he joined his father Giuseppe, already at that time a noted dealer/exporter of wines and agricultural products to Lombardy and nearby Switzerland. Originally from Arigna, an infertile area with harsh winters, wine was the only farm product that allowed a constant income year-round, unlike other food products that are mostly sold during warm weather.
“In 1925 in Casacce, a hamlet in Chiuro, my grandfather Aldo built the venue that still holds our company’s office today. Over the years, when my uncle joined the company, we also began buying grapes from wine makers, taking care of cultivating the vineyards. Beginning in the second half of the 1950s, along with putting the year on the label, bottling wine became our main business activity.
“I began to work with my uncle in 1994, and then about five years later I joined Casa Vinicola Aldo Rainoldi full-time. Currently, we are grape producers, in the sense that we turn the grapes from our vineyards into wine along with what we buy from a trusted group of grape growers.”
How much do you produce, and what are your main markets?
“Our company has never worried about producing massive amounts. We make about 180,000 – 200,000 bottles per year. I have to give my family credit for keeping their feet on the ground and always prioritising quality, including during times like the 1970s when people did not talk much about quality.
“My uncle was one of the first to grasp the importance of broadening our horizons as much as possible into the United States, Japan and Europe. Although we are relatively small, our company today exports about 40% of our products to the areas mentioned.”
How big are your vineyards?
“We manage about 10 hectares of vineyards, some of which we own and some of which we lease. We have a network of 78 partner grape growers that are the pride of this company. Working with the same partners means knowing these people and the potentials and limitations of their vines. At the same time, they know the needs of our business perfectly well, and this increases our success.
“In Valtellina, processing is largely done by hand, and our artisanship is an added value, a bit of know-how to be protected and preserved, especially for an area like ours that also depends on tourism.
“Recently, recognition was requested for terraced Valtellina lands as a UNESCO heritage, and the Consortium to Protect the Wines of Valtellina is addressing this subject. The challenge is to bring to the market wines of excellent quality and strong personality, while also conveying the special features that make this winery so unique and exceptional.”
What are your products?
“Our range runs from Rosso di Valtellina DOC to the ‘classic’ Inferno, Sassella and Grumello, which are permitted to age for two years in oak barrels with the related ‘Reserves,’ an exclusive privilege for the best years. ‘Sfursat’ is a red wine made from ‘Chiavennasca’ grapes left to settle for almost three months. We also produce two white wines and two sparkling versions using the vintage classic method with Nebbiolo grapes.”
What challenges do you see for the future?
“Our goal is to improve the Nebbiolo, which we Valtellinese call ‘Chiavennasca’, which in dialect means ‘more vinous’. Among the vineyards here, beginning in the thirteenth century, the Nebbiolo self-selected. This grape gave the best performance in wine production. We immediately saw the potential of bringing together Valtellina and Nebbiolo. In addition to improving the product and the production process, we are working to preserve the vineyard and its longevity as much as possible. We also want to keep attracting more visitors, eno-tourists, those who love good wine and good food, to Valtellina so they can see our uniqueness for themselves and hear our story.”
Casa Vinicola Aldo Rainoldi srl
Via Stelvio, 128 23030 Chiuro (SO)
Tel: +39 0342482225
Fax 0342 483775
Sito web: www.rainoldi.com