To understand how the Luca Ferraris winery came about we must trace the story back to the nineteenth century when Luca’s great-grandfather Luigi Ferraris emigrated to America during the gold rush. Striking gold, he sent the money back to his wife Bruno Teresa, giving her the chance to realize her dream. After her husband passed away in 1921, she bought the house in Via al Castello that until recently housed Luca’s winery. Two years later, Luca’s grandfather Martino purchased II Casot, at the time nothing more than a simple rural hut in the middle of 40,000 square meters of land. Martino planted vines and bought barrels to make wine with his own grapes in his own cellar. He started by selling his wine to wholesalers in the area, then later began to increase his business by selling larger bottles to individuals traveling back and forth to Turin every week on horseback. Today on that land we have one of our most representative vineyards: Vigna del Casot.
Following the footsteps of Luca’s grandfather Martino, it was up to his father to decide what to do with the family’s passion for wine. In the time of the great industrialization by Fiat in Turin, he moved to the city as his peers did, but he also decided to keep his passion for the vineyards alive by collecting and giving its grapes to the agricultural cooperative in the village. That continued every year until 1999, when after graduation as an agriculturist, Luca began working at the family business, restoring the old cellar and starting to make wine from the vineyards. It was the turning point for the operation, and perhaps even for the Ruchè variety. In the area of the seven municipalities producing Ruchè, Luca was the first to thin vineyards to improve their quality. He wanted the company to specialize exclusively in high-quality production and also began to travel the world looking for new customers and markets. Production was raised from 10,000 bottles in the 2000 vintage to 60,000 in 2003 thanks to a partnership with Randall Grahm, the Californian winemaker founder of already famous for his Bonny Doon Vineyard. Today the Ferraris estate produces about 130,000 bottles of wine (about 50,000 of Ruchè) from 18 vineyards covering 25 hectares. Luca Ferraris Agricola is the largest family owned agricultural company in the seven municipalities of the Ruchè-growing region.
The new Luca Ferraris winery was built in 2009. It was finished on August 31, just in time to press its Viognier harvest the following day. The switch to a more modern winery was necessary – despite the global economic climate, the company was growing rapidly, thanks in no small measure to the increasing popularity of Ruchè. The building, 1,000 square meters wide and three stories high, is on the main road between Asti and Castagnole Monferrato. The cellar and storage room are underground, where the temperature and humidity are constant year-round. The ground floor is where all production, from pressing to bottling, takes place. Advanced machinery allows Ferraris to produce the best possible wines without interfering with their natural characteristics. This is possible only through the combination of modern technology and the knowledge of old winemakers. Luca’s family taught him not to pander to a wider but less-educated public by producing wines that betray the typical characteristics of each variety. Also on the ground floor, behind the bottling line, are the company offices where the Luca Ferraris team meets to discuss production and marketing strategies. Above the offices on the first floor is the wine tasting room that seats up to 30 people. Large windows overlook the production area allowing tasters a view across the winery – illustrating the total transparency in Ferraris’ production.
The museum is located inside the historic cellar of the Ferraris family, right in the center of the town Castagnole Monferrato. Once part of a seventeenth-century castle, it is formed by ancient roof arches made of bricks stacked on earthen walls. The cellar was used in winemaking for more than three centuries. In 2010, production was moved to our new building for logistics reasons, so the family decided to establish a museum in honor of Luca’s grandfather Martino. Inside the museum, visitors can admire very old tools
used in both vineyards and wineries. It also has a spectacular infernot – a hand-dug cave typical of the time – where the family’s oldest bottles of wine have rested for decades. It’s exactly that kind of cellar, together with the spectacular vineyards, that make the Monferrato area a UNESCO World Heritage site.
To get the best results possible, while constantly seeking to improve, Luca’s philosophy is to combine tradition and technology with a respect for the land. It is a choice that has proven quite effective, allowing Ferraris a certain room for experimentation in the vineyard and the cellar. As a result, the winery has been able to create products that set them apart from other wineries in the region, as best demonstrated by Opera Prima.
No one ever believed in the aging potential of Ruchè