More than 140 years have passed since cousins Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino founded the Ruffino winery, the product of a great intuition. Not only creating quality wines, but also products that crossed the borders of their territory and reached as far as possible. It is no coincidence that their project, dated 1887, was built in Pontassieve, not far from Florence, near one of the first Italian railways. The goal of the visionary cousins was soon achieved and, a few years later, the national border was crossed. Already in 1895 the first great recognition arrived. In France they were awarded the Bordeaux Gold Medal. A few years later, in 1913, the winery was sold to the Folonari family who managed the company with foresight, projecting it into the future, despite the difficult years of World War I.
Another fundamental historical moment occurred in 1927. The first Riserva Ducale was born, a tribute to the Duke of Aosta who had fallen in love with the prestigious wine since the end of the 19th century. The label that is still a corporate emblem today was born in conjunction with the birth of the two consortia, Chianti and Chianti Classico, and on these two denominations the company built its incredible journey. Even the years of World War II were certainly not easy, but once again the company came out unscathed and the symbol of its rebirth after the war was the Riserva Ducale Oro, produced for the first time in 1947.
The following decades were marked by success and new acquisitions of vital importance, both in Chianti, but also in Montepulciano and Montalcino. Exactly 10 years ago, the company became part of the large Constellation group: its international vocation is undoubtedly strengthened, but its Italian character and some of the policies that have made it famous over time remain solidly in place.
“Ruffino was born with a great intuition of the cousins Ilario and Leopoldo––says Francesco Sorelli, Brand Experience and Communication Director of the company––making wine for retail and above all to be sold beyond Tuscan borders. Now it may seem trivial, but at the time it certainly wasn’t. From there the innovative ideas of using the best possible containers, blown glass and protecting it with straw to face the long journey on board ocean liners. Ruffino was the first European company to sell in the United States and for many years their wines represented the symbol of Italians in America. If there is an adjective that we can historically attribute to Ruffino wines, it is undoubtedly “Popular.” For the company born in Tuscany, wine has always had a meaning of inclusiveness, the symbol of a beautifully set table, something that unites and makes us feel good. It is no coincidence––continues Sorelli––that the company slogan is “Vivere di Gusto,” that is living with gusto, recreating magical atmospheres of conviviality. In parallel to all this is the concept of beauty, taste and sustainability that the company pursues. Organic management is already applied to several plots and there is a ten-year conversion program to organic (currently there are three wines with organic certification, a Prosecco Doc, a Chianti and a Pinot Grigio, Ed.). Furthermore, environmental sustainability practices are accompanied by the responsible drinking project, another pillar of the Ruffino Cares project. Last but not least is the Giving Back initiative (Ruffino for others), a form of sustainability that not only protects the environment but also the society in which we live. One of the latest examples concerns the pandemic we are experiencing, for which a fundraiser was activated, doubled by Ruffino, which allowed the purchase of 4 beds in an intensive care unit.
The Ruffino wines
The portfolio of Ruffino labels is undoubtedly quite vast. It focuses on Tuscan products, but with the acquisition of the properties in Veneto bubbles have almost reached the red productions in numbers. From the wide range, Francesco Sorelli highlights three which, according to him, sum up Ruffino’s vision very well. “The first––he tells us––is undoubtedly the Riserva Ducale (this year awarded with Tre Bicchieri by the Vini d’Italia Guide). It is the wine around which the name of Ruffino was built, it has a solid unwavering root and it is the main wine of the table, to accompany meat. A grumpy but very sincere and authentic wine. The second is Modus, a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet that represents the form of wealth through diversity. It is a very pleasant wine, which excels abroad, appreciated by critics and markets. It shows how two great international varieties can add value to the Tuscan grape par excellence, Sangiovese. The last wine I mention is also the last born. It is a rosé called Aqua di Venus, a blend of syrah, sangiovese and pinot grigio which in the name suggests its predilection for the female world. It was born in May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, and is the emblem of a large company, which carries out research and marketing and conceives a wine that brings with it all the research and experimentation of a historic company now the product of a large international group.”