The birthplace of great sparkling wine, the land of Vittorio Moretti and his family, Bellavista, and L’Albereta.
Cavalier Moretti, when and how did you fall in love with Franciacorta and, more importantly, when and how did your vision of transforming it into one of the most prestigious regions in Italy, known for its highquality wine production and wine tourism, take shape?
It’s where so many of my childhood memories were made. We lived in Milan and in the summer we would go visit relatives who lived in Franciacorta, in Erbusco. When we were there, I could spend time outdoors and, alongside my grandfather, I would observe the work in the fields and on the farm. I liked this hard-working area and its people. All of my family is from here, on both my mother’s and my father’s sides. Ours are ancient roots date all the way back to the 1400s, with one specific occupation: construction. That’s why, when I started working and became financially independent, I decided not only to establish my first company here, but to start a family with Mariella, a girl who I met when I used to come here on vacation. When I had a bit of money saved, I immediately spent it on buying land, and I began with this hill, the Bellavista hill. In the 1970s I realised that this region’s beauty and agricultural history were in no way inferior to that of other towns which had been shaped by viticulture. With the right people we turned Franciacorta into a region known for its excellent wines. Actually, we turned it into a terroir which is something deeper and more permanent, because in a terroir the influence of wine is everywhere, it shapes the landscape as well as its people, economy, and commerce. If today we’ve become a destination for wine connoisseurs from around the world, it’s because we believed in this terroir and always invested in this vision, with perseverance and determination and an unchanging idea and stride.
What does Erbusco represent for the Moretti family and, more specifically, the Bellavista hill?
It’s our home, the place where we’re all together, the place that we always return to. Each of my three daughters has her own home on this hill. Valentina, who is an architect, even built one with a contemporary design.
What is Bellavista’s philosophy, both in the vineyard and in the cellar?
We have just one philosophy: excellence. In order to excel in the world of sparkling wines you must use exceptional raw ingredients for the production of your cuvée, choosing the best exposures and using artisan techniques to care for your vineyards, treating the process like an art. In addition to having an actual school that trains wine professionals, we’re experimenting with using horses for all of the elements of production that currently require machinery. We start with the grape and only the grape. If your standards for the grape are high, then you’re already half way there and you’ll be able to maximise the work in the cellar and even have fun with the oenologists, choosing from more than eighty selections every spring in order to produce each cuvée. I think that my daughter Francesca, an oenologist, chose this path precisely because she was so fascinated by the beauty of this occupation which manages to incorporate so many others: agriculture, business, craftsmanship, and even art. Because ultimately, producing a cuvée has a lot in common with creating art: there’s technique and experience, as well as interpretation. We value manual skill. Each gesture in Bellavista is not only the result of centuries of know-how, but of our daily commitment to excellence and to expressing, as much as possible, the human capacity to imprint something with our own personal touch of beauty.
L’Albereta opened in 1993 and has become an icon of the territory, synonymous with excellence, wellness, and exclusivity as well as, for years, a sanctuary of fine Italian cuisine thanks to the presence of chef Gualtiero Marchesi. In the past as well as now, what is L’Albereta’s predominant concept of hospitality?
It’s a concept of authentic hospitality, based on the knowledge that the meeting of individuals is a value capable of generating excellence. All of us, when we receive guests at home, give them the best of what we have and what we know how to do. We as Italians are particularly good at this. It’s something that’s been in our blood throughout history, something that we’ve inherited from the sophisticated civilisation that came before us. When we opened L’Albereta, in 1993, we had a very specific idea which my daughter, Carmen, now at the head of this sector, very skilfully knew how to actualise. We didn’t intend for it to be a hotel or a resort, and it’s still hard for us to call it that. We wanted it to be a home in which people would feel welcomed like special guests. A unique place with a strong identity, full of light and warmth and featuring harmonious design choices. Nothing standard. Everything tailor made, from the kitchen to the spa; from the rooms, each one decorated differently from the other, to the outdoor spaces with the vineyard and large garden characterised by a fitness path dotted with sculptures, ensuring that beauty is everywhere. This sense of hospitality gives us as hosts great pleasure. To this day it makes me happy when I go to L’Albereta and I see people peacefully enjoying their vacation, appreciating the view, the food, and the company of good wine. This region was born with the concept of celebratory and joyful wine. In fact, sparkling wine is the wine of joy. And today Franciacorta is just that: a region of happiness.
The Moretti family’s deep and authentic connection to Franciacorta continues, today, to be fuelled by a new gesture of love and gratitude towards this region: the creation of a foundation whose objective is the promotion of the values which define the identity of Franciacorta, with headquarters in the splendidly restored spaces of the Convento della Ss. Annunciata on Mont’Orfano, in Rovato. How was this institution born and what are its plans for the future?
The foundation was born in response to a challenging moment for the Order of the Friars which had lived in this special area of Franciacorta, on Mont’Orfano, since 1450. We’ve always had a privileged relationship with this structure due to our friendship with Father Sebastiano who, in the 1980s allowed us to cultivate one of his vineyards, actually the most beautiful of his vineyards, located on the southern side of the mountain. A vineyard that has produced an extraordinary wine which can hold its own against great French whites. Last year the friars decided to close the convent and leave its management to someone else, because Father Sebastiano was very old and no longer able to care for himself (sadly he passed away recently) and also because there were no longer vocations and that large building had been designed for a larger community. In the name of this friendship and as a thank you to those who allowed us to cultivate this special vineyard, my wife Mariella and I decided to take over management of the structure for the next twenty years. We did it through a foundation so that our purely cultural intention would be clear. This structure will remain true to its origins and will welcome travellers with a concept of sincere, sustainable, and spiritually comforting hospitality. This place already has everything one needs to be at peace with oneself and with others: nature, architectural beauty, silence, and, finally, good wine which, with every sip, embodies this region’s history and culture.