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Mezzacorona’s winemaking team charts a ‘path of expertise’ across Italy

Gruppo Mezzacorona saw one of its winemakers enter the Master Winemaker Top 100 this year, but the co-op’s expertise is down to many players.

When winemakers say their work spans the length of a country, you may have to take it with a pinch of salt. In reality, it is often just a byword for a variety of sites, poetic language for having several wineries. Not so for Mezzacorona: the group’s winemaking runs from Trentino in the alpine foothills to the southern island of Sicily.

Such a broad selection of wines requires a number of diverse inputs, not least from the winemaking team. The difference between crafting wine in higher altitude, continental sites and a hot island in the middle of the Mediterranean is vast. Yet the collaborative approach means that each site can inform the work of the other.

In some instances, there are obvious parallels. In both Trentino, across several of Mezzacorona’s lines, as well as in Sicily under the Stemmari range, the group makes Pinot Grigio. Given that the Master medal, which secured the company a place in the Master Winemaker guide, was won in the Global Pinot Grigio Masters, it is worth sharing knowledge up and down the country. Indeed, Mezzacorona playfully refers to it as ‘a path of expertise’.

Yet the benefits might also be less immediately apparent. Though very different terroirs, the challenges in winemaking are often comparable. For instance, preserving acidity is a key concern for both regions.

In the north, wines are expected to be refreshing and bright. Indeed, even though a richer, aged example, the Musivum Pinot Grigio 2018,  won the Master medal, it was still praised by the Master of Wine judges for its notes of citrus zest and dry, tangy finish.

In Sicily, on the other hand, preserving acidity can be the difference between a successful vintage and a disappointing wine. Mezzacorona’s estates there, Feudo Arancio and Stemmari, use several of the same techniques as the Trentino winery, such as nighttime picking and cool fermentation.

The group’s winemakers therefore frequently share thoughts and expertise. Maurizio Maurizi was recognised for his work in this year’s Master Winemaker Top 100 guide, as part of the team who worked on the Musivum Pinot Grigio. He works both at the Trentino and Sicilian properties, and splitting time between regions is common for the team. Indeed, although a single individual needed highlighting in the guide, Mezzacorona’s leadership emphasises the shared knowledge of an entire team. Barbara, Sabrina, Andrea, Fabio, Lucio Matteo, Maurizio and Umberto are all responsible for the award-winning wines.

The group’s ethos of shared expertise is even stronger when one considers its status as a co-operative. As an association of more than 1,500 growers, and operating for 120 years, collaboration is in the group’s DNA. Generations of expertise are therefore guaranteed within the ownership. Rather than one individual determining all decisions, the group has many stakeholders, each with their own expertise to bring.

It is necessary to pick one individual as a master winemaker – the printing costs for a guide with all 1,500 growers might just become uneconomical. Yet Mezzacorona makes a compelling case for one individual to be emblematic of collective effort. Many great wines are the product of a single, dominant personality, allowing flashy profiles and celebrity winemaking. Mezzacorona, however, demonstrates that there is no less quality found when winemakers and growers come together for a common goal.

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