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Conte Vistarino hires new general manager

Lino Scaravonati has joined Lombardy-based producer Conte Vistarino, swapping Prosecco for traditional method sparkling from Oltrepò Pavese.

Having spent 20 years at Lunelli Group-owned historic Prosecco producer Bisol 1542, where he was director of production, Scaravonati will be beginning his role at Conte Vistarino this month.

Founded in 1674, Conte Vistarino claims to have been the first Italian producer to develop a metodo classico sparkling in 1865. The producer also pioneered the production of Pinot Noir in the region, for both still and sparkling wines. Of the approximately 13,500 hectares of Oltrepò Pavese under vine today, approximately 3,300ha are planted with Pinot Noir.

“The growth of the estate corresponds to the prestige that Conte Vistarino continues to confirm over time and to the value that this territory has to make known,” Prosecco veteran Scaravonati explained.

“The first activity I will dedicate myself to will be the augmentation of a multi-year strategic plan, which will be implemented in the vineyard, the cellar, and key markets, without neglecting positioning, communication and reception, in accordance with the estate’s vision,” he continued.

Ottavia Giorgi di Vistarino, the estate’s owner, said that the appointment was part of the producer’s plan “to grow in excellence as well as in turnover”: “The new general manager’s decision to join our team makes it even stronger and confirms, like the recent managerialisation of other important local businesses and the well-known acquisitions of the recent months, the growing appeal of Oltrepò, which must continue to be enriched with skills and talent in order to have the widespread success it deserves.”

Among the projects is a new tasting room at the estate, which is located close to Milan, and a new wine cellar.

Oltrepò Pavese is indeed becoming a hot spot for Italian wine. In the last year it has attracted some of the major players in the sector, including famed Amarone producer Masi and the Ziliani family, who own Franciacorta producer Guido Berlucchi.

Both winery acquisitions were facilitated by Colline e Oltre, established in November 2021 as a joint project between Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s leading bank, and regional bank Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lombardia.

Colline e Oltre managing director Matteo Casagrande Paladini told the drinks business earlier this year how the value of land has recently skyrocketed in Oltrepò Pavese: “In Oltrepò Pavese, the price per hectare last year was around €40,000. Now, the average price per hectare is substantially higher, at €65,000-€70,000, and in the next year we would like to reach an average price of €125,000-€130,000 per hectare. The greater the number of top investors there are in Oltrepò Pavese, the higher the average price will be.”

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