Tuscan wine group saves Chianti cooperative from bankruptcy

Tuscan wine group Tenute Piccini, owned by the Piccini family, has acquired historic Chianti cooperative Chianti Geografico in a deal worth €7.2 million (£6.2m). 

Mario Piccini

The wine group made the announcement during a conference in Florence last week. Founded in 1961, Geografico is based in the municipality of Gaiole and is the oldest cooperative in the region.

According to Giacomo Panicacci, brand ambassador for Tenute Piccini, the $7.2m sum does not include the amount the wine group intends to spend on improvements. The improvements include the renovation of the cooperative’s barrel rooms and winery and the installation of new machinery including smaller tanks for micro-vinification.

Commenting on the deal Mario Piccini, owner of Tenute Piccini, said: “We are very satisfied because it was a great deal in which we were able to save not only the prestigious name of Geografico, but also, and above all, the company with its employees and growers.

“This deal fill us with pride and an awareness of the important responsibility that we now have. Geografico is a big name in Tuscany which not only represents the historic region of Chianti, but also carries within it an extraordinary suitability for the production of high quality wines.

“Thanks to our agreement with Banca IFIS [an Italian bank] we’re able to give assurance to growers who have already paid the price for the company’s past troubles.”

Tenute Piccini has been managing Chianti Geografico for the past two and half years and has now assumed full ownership. The cooperative employees 16 people and works with 60 growers, processing 1,550 tonnes of grapes last year. Tenute Piccini employs a total of 67 people and produces 16 million bottles a year, turning over €64 million last year.

Mario Piccini announced the deal alongside viticultural consultant Riccardo Cotarella, president of both Italian winemaking association Assoenologi and international winemaking association Union Internationale des Oenologues and the brother of Renzo Cotarella, CEO of Antinori, and Piccini’s winemaker Alessandro Barabesi, formerly of Frescobaldi. 

Tenute Piccini has also been working with Banca IFIS since June 2018 in order to strengthen its support of the local vinegrowers, providing faster payments and free technical consultancy.

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