Family’s tryst with the wine world starts with Cavalchina, located in an area whose story goes far back: in 1848 it was registered and classified by the ruling Hapsburg authorities as a vine growing district, known for its superior quality and excellent production consistency. Cavalchina doesn’t only have rich wine history but also has historical importance as it was at the centre of the Italian Independence War I and III.
More precisely, the story begins with grand dad Luciano rather than with Cavalchina. He bought the first vineyards and built the cellar in 1948 which originally included a distillery in use only until 1967. The winery started as a game and passion: an additional business to the main leather processing one. Luciano was an eclectic person: he loved wine, but also opera, his passion led him to meet eminent personalities such as Maria Callas. His factory was one of the few ones in Italy to produce soccer shoes and that led him to also becoming a dealer of soccer players. The stories of Luciano, Cavalchina and Custoza are tied and sometimes overlapping. He first named the white wine of the area as “Custoza” in 1962. He created the “recipe”: a blend of Fernanda, Trebbiano and Garganega grapes and intensified wine distribution in the important markets of the time, Rome and Milan.
Luciano’s passion for the wine world kept intensifying with his son Giulietto and led to the acquisition of Prendina in 1958, an estate in Monzambano. Giulietto, a failed surveyor and keen radioamateur, turned a passion into a manufacturing activity in the 70s. The achievement of the DOC in 1971 further reinforced the family activity and confirmed Custoza among the Italian quality wines. Also, Prendina gained more importance as the first wine labeled Prendina was bottled: a Merlot which became the wine of the house of Gualtiero Marchesi’s famous restaurant. Nonetheless, the winery remained a secondary activity as Giulietto primarily used it to entertain guests, visitors and stakeholders of the leather industry.
A new chapter is written when Giulietto’s son, Luciano, decided to take over the winery in 1987. With him, Cavalchina went from secondary activity to the main focus of the Piona family. Luciano was a chemical engineer, worked as a skipper and was so passionate about sailing that he accomplished few Atlantic crossings. He was also a ski teacher and a keen cyclist and motorcyclist. However, when he decided to take charge of the winery, he passionately devoted himself to Cavalchina, to the land and to the wine. He pursued and dedicated himself to a path of innovation, search for quality and new markets, while always maintaining the characteristics of the family wine and enhancing the territorial identity.
Like his grandad, who first wrote Custoza on the label, Luciano was connected his entire life to the wine of his land, eventually becoming its ambassador as President of Consorzio di tutela del Custoza. His goal was always to enhance and promote the wine he loved the most and grew up with.
In the 90s, his brother Franco joined him. An electronic engineer with the passion for music. He was born in the years of The Beatles, James Taylor and Jimi Hendrix. He used to listen to them on his brother’s vinyls while using his mom’s broom as a guitar, picturing himself on the stage with them. Despite his dream of America and music, his passion for wine, developed during university, made him remain at home, close to the wine world he felt so familiar with. The desire for uncovering new territories and for engaging in new challenges led to a brand new adventure: Valpolicella. The Piona family acquired Torre d’Orti, an estate located on the top of the hill overlooking the village of Marcellise. This land, favoured by altitude, produces grapes perfect for elegant wines and aging.
The two brothers, Franco and Luciano, kept refining a technique designed to help nature express itself. Technique is fundamental to keeping wine similar throughout the vintages, while remaining careful not to disrupt it. Curiosity and appeal led them to the last acquisition: ‘L lac, a single-product estate on the banks of Frassino lake, in the heart of Lugana. To remain attached to origins, the two brothers bought the same vineyards which belonged to grandad Luciano and which was sold by Giulietto to enlarge the Predina estate.
So here is the story of a family and of different people with one common passion: wine. Likewise, the four estates, Cavalchina, Prendina, Torre d’Orti and ‘L lac, are distinguished entities and expressions of different territories which are connected by the story of one family, the respect of territory and a continuous search for innovation and quality which has to remain faithful to tradition.
“And the story goes on with Francesco and Giulia, Luciano’s sons, and a look into the future.”