Antonio Carpenè, founder of Carpenè Malvolti, is one of Italian winemaking’s historical heroes, being responsible for the country’s first winemaking school. He was also a Prosecco pioneer.
One of the characteristics of many family-run wine companies has been the way in which they have both helped to increase the prestige of their regions and generously shared their knowledge and expertise with others. A fine example of this is offered by Carpenè Malvolti, whose founder, Antonio Carpenè, was one of the pioneers of quality sparkling wines and distillates production. After introducing the art of Champagne and charmat-method sparkling wine production to Italy with the launch of his business in 1868, he also set up his country’s first winemaking school, and wrote and published several seminal practical and theoretical essays on the subject.
In 1924, Carpenè’s son Etile pioneered the notion of a regionally labelled ‘Prosecco Amabile dei Colli di Conegliano’ and cannily began to sell his grappa in a distinctively shaped bottle that was based on the vineyard workers’ tradition of transporting a grappa-and-water drink in a hollowed-out summer squash known as a ‘tromboncino’ or ‘zucchetta’. Today, the company’s range of grappas are among the most respected in Italy.
Antonio Carpenè, the third generation of the family, who took over the reins in 1934, maintained the tradition of innovation and regional leadership. Among the technical innovations he introduced was temperature control in the winery, which did much to improve quality and consistency. Neighbouring producers were encouraged to focus on improving and maintaining the reputation of the heartland of Prosecco with Carpenè’s foundation of the Consorzio Tutela Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene.
Today, the business is run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Carpenè family: Etile and his daughter Rosanna, who have worked hard to build global awareness of the brand to the point at which it is now sold in no fewer than 48 countries. The range now has something for everyone, from the 1868 Cartizze of the very finest vineyards of Valdobbiadene and the 1868 Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G., to the distinctive Pinot Noir-Raboso Rosé and the Millesimato Classic Method, to continue with the fresh, Stelvin-sealed Prosecco Frizzante and the distillates.
The enthusiasm to try new things has not come at the expense of quality, and over the years Carpenè Malvolti has amassed an enviable collection of silver and gold medals from respected competitions. To encourage others, the company has also created and sponsored a number of its own awards.
These are exciting times for Prosecco Superiore, one of the world’s fastest growing wine styles. Recent years have seen the tightening of the regulations over the use of the region’s name, and a much greater focus on the D.O.C.G. super-regional sub-region of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, home to Carpenè Malvolti. This trend towards higher quality and prestige is very much in line with the ambitions Antonio Carpenè revealed when he launched his company and with everything his family has achieved over the last a century and a half.
Carpenè Malvolti S.p.a.