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Elisabetta Foradori

Elisabetta Foradori’s grandfather bought (the then bankrupt) estate, based in Mezzolombardo, in 1929, a mere ten years after Italy’s annexation of the province from the defunct Austro-Hungarian empire meant that the traditional markets for the local wines had disappeared. At first, the wine was sold to local co-operatives, but Elisabetta’s father began bottle and sell their own production.

His life was cut tragically short by cancer when Elisabetta was just eleven years old. Nine years later, she had graduated in viticulture and oenology and had taken over the reigns of the estate, albeit more out of a sense of duty than passion. She worked closely with Professor Rainer Zierock, who encouraged her to focus on the local Teroldego Rotaliano rather than the fashionable international varieties. Teroldego from the Rotaliano plain had been singled out for its quality since at least the 14th century, but the prevailing philosophy, post-WW2, was to squeeze maximum yields through clonal selection and an industrial approach to production. She decided to dedicate her work to renewing the genetic diversity of Teroldego and planted as many cuttings as she could.

“A whole variety had to be rebuilt, viticultural practices had to be brought back to quality levels, the soil had to be enriched with life, the plants brought to an equilibrium… I myself have changed with the variety, and I find myself to be a different person, watching and listening to the land and to nature in a different way.” (in an email to The New York Times’ Eric Asimov).

Elisabetta went on to marry Rainer Zierock and they had three children, separating just five years later. He has had a profound impact on her life, both personal and professional. His philosophy “The agrarian culture that respects the soil and its fertility generates a place and a fruit which reflect the harmony between man and nature” is printed on the backs of the bottles.

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