For 60 Years, Santa Margherita has been Setting the Style for Italian Pinot Grigio
March 03, 2021
2021 – Sixty years ago, Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio made its debut: a new, elegant, modern wine that launched a real revolution in taste and in wine-drinking pleasure. In these first sixty years of history, Pinot Grigio has become the leading Italian white varietal wine worldwide, and the Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita continues to be its flagship: a wine that has made a huge contribution to the development of Italian winemaking, revolutionizing both the national and foreign markets. Every day, thousands bottles of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio are uncorked around the world: a great success story “Made in Italy”, whose roots date back to the last century.
It all began towards the end of the 1950s when, preempting future trends, the visionary and forward-thinking Count Gaetano Marzotto began looking for a new type of wine that was no longer a cliche´: one that was able to stand out due to its originality and distinctive taste profile, and had a strong varietal/ territorial identity. At the same time, it needed to encourage a different approach to wine, thus becoming a real protagonist of the contemporary dining experience. His quest for a perfect combination between terroir and grape variety led the Count and his team of winemakers to Trentino-Alto Adige, the ideal area in which to grow grapes that had the potential to produce a wine with the fresh, fruity character with which he wished to imprint its style. It was the expertise of his enologists that helped identify the variety that could express the soil and climatic characteristics of the region to the full, but the real revolution was represented by the brilliant, revolutionary brainwave on the part of the Count: to vinify the delicate Pinot Grigio grapes as a white wine, eliminating any contact between the must and skins and so transforming a copper-colored wine into a brilliant, elegant and intensely flavored white that was the only one of its kind.
It was 1961 when Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio made its debut on the Italian market. Its popularity with the public was as surprising as it was immediate. Used up until then to making a simple distinction between white, red and rose´ wines, Italy appreciated straightaway the extraordinarily easy-drinking style and fragrance of this vinous novelty, which stood out thanks to its new way of interpreting not only Pinot Grigio grapes, but also white wine in general. Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio gave rise to a radical change in the way people drank wine, from being a foodstuff to becoming a source of pleasure. This process favored the democratization of wine, thus allowing new consumers – such as women – to approach this product and attracting a segment of the public which, in the subsequent decades, would play an ever more significant role in purchasing decisions. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio was the first, the original, the trailblazer that won the hearts of consumers, conveying an image of the future and of innovation.
Its amazing success suggested that it would also have excellent potential abroad, where it was diligently exported from the ’70s onwards: Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio demonstrated to the whole world that Italy could offer sexy wines, perfectly in line with the evolution of the various societies and with that of modern taste.
1979 was the breakthrough year: with its coronation as ‘Italy’s finest white wine’ in a blind tasting, the gates to the vast United States market were flung open. Here it became well-established within the space of just a few years, becoming one of the iconic wines and creating unprecedented brand loyalty. What won over wine lovers was its freshness, easy-drinking style, and its extraordinary ability for pairing with food.
In the U.S.A., Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio is still today the Italian white wine that is most imported and appreciated, also by the stars: in fact, it is not unusual to find it being enjoyed by celebrities of the caliber of Rihanna or Kylie Jenner, Jon Bon Jovi or Drake, who even devotes some rhymes to it in the lyrics of his most famous songs.
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio has quite rightly entered the wine Hall of Fame, presenting itself today in a thoroughly modern, versatile style: a straw yellow color, a clean, intense nose, with unexpected floral notes and hints of citrus and white-fleshed fruit; freshness and tanginess in perfect balance, giving way to fruit on the palate that is at once delicate and stimulating.
Thanks to its harmony, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio reveals itself to be a wine of great character, which is extremely versatile when accompanying food or in different situations: as an aperitif, with brunch, drunk throughout a meal and, in particular, with lots of dishes belonging to the Italian or other culinary traditions, whether fish-based or otherwise.
That of Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio is a dream made great, especially by the best practices adopted both in the vineyards and in the winery, such as the protection of biodiversity, reforestation, and self-sufficiency in energy produced from renewable sources, with the conviction that everything that derives from a healthy environment - managed in a rational, measured way which respects the cycles of nature - has a very special worth.
Particular attention has been paid to local sourcing, so that today over 90% of the bottles are produced in the glass factory only a short distance away from the vinification facility, and to the “carbon neutrality”program, which for the last seven years has reduced to zero the carbon footprint of the almost 2 million bottles of Pinot Grigio that are produced annually.
Combining craftsmanship, tradition, and technical and enological innovation has therefore allowed Santa Margherita to highlight to the full the relationship between the grape variety and its terroir and to offer an outstanding Pinot Grigio that finds its way onto the tables of over 90 countries throughout the world. It is a wine that invented a new approach to wine, that has always been in step with the times and which, even in the year in which we are celebrating its first sixty years of success, is already plotting new routes of taste and vinous pleasure for the future.
About Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo
‘Winery of the Year’ in the Gambero Rosso guide ‘Italian Wines 2021’.
Founded in 1935 by Count Gaetano Marzotto, the Santa Margherita Wine Group incorporates ten different estates in some of the most beautiful wine-producing regions in Italy: Eastern Veneto, Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Trentino-Alto Adige, Lugana, Franciacorta, Chianti Classico, the Maremma, Sicily and Sardinia. Through the Santa Margherita, Torresella, Kettmeir, Ca' del Bosco, Ca` Maiol, Lamole di Lamole, Vistarenni, Sassoregale, Terreli´ade and Cantina Mesa brands, it represents one of the most significant clusters in the Italian wine sector, with over 22 million bottles sold in 2019 in 94 countries around the world. The Group is owned by four brothers, the 3rd generation of the Marzotto family: Gaetano Marzotto is the President of the Group, Stefano Marzotto is the President of Zignago Holding, Luca Marzotto is Vice-President of the Group, and Nicolo` Marzotto is a member of the Board of Directors. The Group’s everyday operations are managed by CEO Beniamino Garofalo. The Group’s wines are distributed across the 5 continents, with a particular focus on Italy, Canada, Australia, Germany and the United States, where the Santa Margherita USA Inc. import and distribution company is operative, with headquarters in Miami.