The Cooperative Winery of the Year award in the Vini d'Italia 2022 guide goes to a business that's almost 60 years old.

San Marzano was born in 1962, when 19 winemakers from San Marzano di San Giuseppe, a town located in the heart of the Primitivo di Manduria wine area and to this day headquarters of the winery, joined together to valorse their work. In 1982 Francesco Cavallo was appointed President, inaugurating forty years of uninterrupted leadership and definitively changing the company’s production perspective. The transition from bulk to bottling arrived in 1996, and four years later the symbolic label of this winery was born, the Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni, the fruit of over sixty year old alberello vines and recipient of the Tre Bicchieri recognition in the Vini d’Italia 2022 guide.

Past, present and future of the San Marzano winery

We asked Francesco Cavallo to tell us about the current role of the winery and future projects: “Today San Marzano has become a reality that collects approximately 1,200 winemakers for over 1,500 hectares of vineyards. A growth that has not distorted the philosophy and production process, which always takes place with respect for tradition. We have an extraordinary collective awareness and strong roots in the territory and the cultural fabric of the area, as well as possessing wealth of humanity among our members and non-standardized knowledge. On the other hand, cooperative enterprises are important organizations precisely to the extent that they contribute to the economic and social development of an entire territory.”

The role of cooperative wineries

What is the role of a cooperative winery? “The cooperative model, however, is only successful if it encourages the development of a collective mentality oriented towards an ethical search for the best possible product, thus creating a virtuous cycle on the identification of its winemakers with the work of the cellar. We have managed to create great willingness of our members to follow our indications, also thanks to the success we’ve had and the results we’re reporting. The future for us is sustainability in production, which is something we have been working on for some time, thanks to the opportunities provided by research and technology – some of our vineyards are veritable digital farming laboratories, with the use of climate sensors, probes for the control of hydration stress, and so on – which open new frontiers in the field of organic agriculture: produce better, protect the territory, consume increasingly less.”

Tre Bicchieri for Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni

The Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni, whose first edition dates back to the year 2000, is produced with grapes from alberello vines that are over sixty years old. The 2018 version confirms the stylistic approach typical of this wine, made up of volume, richness and complexity: on the nose there are aromas of black plum jam, confirmed by a mellow and soft palate, with a finish in which sweet tones are well supported from bold acid tension.