Top 5 Italian master winemakers

With a passion for traditional, regional winemaking techniques, we round up Italy’s famous wine maestros passing the torch to the next generation of vintners.

Diegeo Planeta – PLANETA

Diego-PlanetaAsked about the image of Sicilian wine when he became president of the Settesoli co-operative in 1971, Diego Planeta smiles: “May I say non-existent? Or is that too harsh?” He is probably right as, aside from a few names like Corvo and Regaleali, it was a sea of bulk wine. In the subsequent revolution, Planeta played a lead role, though he shrugs this off. However, he is proud of his achievements running Sicily’s Istituto Regionale della Vite e del Vino, as “a place we could develop the taste of ‘southern wine’”. It was also no mean feat to persuade Settesoli’s 2000 growers to pull together and resist the EU’s tempting distillation subsidies. It was an attempt to drain Europe’s wine lake, though instead it created a whole new market and pushed growers further from the real world of wines to drink.

Meanwhile Planeta established the family winery with a first release in 1995. “Planeta Chardonnay was the big bomb – it was such an international success and people were amazed that it came from Sicily,” he says, convinced that he could never have done it with indigenous grapes back then. “Today the concept of grape varieties looks a bit obsolete to me. Now it’s more and more about terroir and we have to move towards that, because we don’t want to become all ‘Australian’.” He has great faith in the new Sicilia DOC and the new generation of producers including those at Planeta – his nephew Alessio and daughter Francesca.

One Response to “Top 5 Italian master winemakers”

  1. Dan says:

    I think Rudy Buratti is the winemaker for Banfi and Sergio Boscaini is the winemaker for Masi. Both are deserving of recognition. Certainly Walter Massa, Radikon, Gravner, Moio, Soldera, Or Valentini should gave made the list.

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