Most wine professionals, if asked to name a big Italian wine producer that can easily afford to spend €20m on a new production facility, it would probably suggest names like Antinori, Cavit, Banfi and GIV. Fewer would probably include Caviro on their list, despite the fact that it is the largest wine business in Italy by volume and value, single-handedly making one in every 11 bottles of Italian wine. With annual revenues of €363m and a set of successful brands, including Cesari and Leonardo da Vinci, it is also notable in its ‘circular economy’ model which monetizes by-products of grape growing and winemaking. If you buy rectified must or tartaric acid to correct the balance of your wine, or industrial alcohol,it may well come from a Caviro subsidiary.
Finally, and perhaps surprisingly to those outside Europe and South America, Caviro is a cooperative- or more precisely, a collection of 29 cooperatives with over 13,000 grapegrowers and 30,000 ha across seven regions
The cooperative was founded in 1966 in Faenza, in the heart of Emilia-Romagna where it now has nine separate businesses - the same number as in Abruzzo, and four more than in Puglia.
In 2014 it acquired the Cesari in the Veneto, and over the last four years has invested those €20m in a new purpose-built facility which will be largely powered by solar energy. The new winery will be able to handle ageing and bottling of 4m bottles, including five vintages of Amarone. Wine tourism is addressed by a shop and two tasting rooms.
"The new Cesari winery is first and foremost an act of faith in the future, in the territory and in the people. The group has decided to invest 20 mill. euros to create an avant-garde project, perfectly embedded in the heart of Valpolicella, focusing on the quality of Cesari products without neglecting resources and the environment," explained Carlo Dalmonte, president of the Caviro group.
The commitment to this part of its business by Caviro is easily explained by the rising popularity and price of Ripasso and Amarone wines in export markets.