If you’re a long-time reader of the Xtrawine blog, you’ll know that we’ve written more than a few pieces about the legendary Antinori family.
And why wouldn’t we?
If there’s one family that’s synonymous with the development of the Italian wine industry into what it is today, it’s the Antinori family. They’ve been involved in the wine industry since the late 14th century and they’ve managed to stand the test of time to become one of the most powerful forces in the modern era.
The Antinori family has also expanded its reach greatly over the last few centuries. Many regions now play host to an Antinori winery and they certainly don’t limit themselves to their native Tuscany anymore.
However, that doesn’t mean that they’ve disregarded Tuscany altogether. In fact, the family is still one of the most influential in this most famous of wine regions and they’ll always call it their home.
In fact, some recent developments may lead to their influence in the region growing even stronger. And it all starts with the purchase of a winery in Tuscany.
The Rubbia Al Colle Purchase
The Antinori family announced the purchase of the Rubbia Al Colle winery at the midpoint of 2019.
Prior to the purchase, Rubbia Al Colle was one of many wineries in Tuscany that competed with the Antinori family. And it’s fair to say that it was something of a pioneering company in its own right. Rubbia Al Colle owned about 100 hectares of land, in which they planted Cabernet, Merlot, and Sangiovese grapes.
Anybody who knows their Tuscan wines will know exactly what Sangiovese is used for. And it should come as no surprise that Rubbia Al Colle produced a few very good Chianti wines in its time.
So, does this purchase mark an instance of the Antinori family simply buying out one of its competitors?
On the surface, it can certainly seem like that. Some could argue that the Antinoris wanted to assert their dominance in the Tuscany region. And the best way to do that would be to flash the cash and get their hands on a large winery that’s built a reputation for creating quality wines in the same category as the Antinoris.
But others will tell you that there’s a little more to it than that.
In fact, many analysts look at this purchase as an example of the Antinori family investing back into the region from which they grew.
By purchasing Rubbia Al Colle, they’re reinforcing the fact that Tuscany is their home and they’re also providing themselves with the means to increase production on many of the wines that made the family so famous in the first place.
What will be interesting is what happens to Rubbia Al Colle from here. Will it act as its own winery, just under the Antinori name? Or, will the family aim to completely take over the brand to the point where Rubbia Al Colle disappears and we’re simply left with another Antinori winery.
Either choice seems valid. On one hand, the family gets to add a unique feather to its cap. By keeping the Rubbia Al Colle, they can sell other wines without burdening them with the Antinori name.
On the other hand, the Antinori brand is an absolute powerhouse. Placing it on any of the wines that their new winery produces could lead to an instant uptick in prestige. And that could result in higher prices for the wine and more purchases from people who enjoy the Antinori family’s work.
What Did the Family Get With the Purchase?
This isn’t a case of the Antinori family taking over a small part of the Rubbia Al Colle business.
Instead, it appears as though the deal gives them full ownership of the Rubbia Al Colle brand and all of the assets that the company holds. This means they’ve bought the Rubbia Al Colle, along with all of the vineyards that the company tended and the cellars that they used.
In short, the Antinori family has just increased their Tuscan production to the tune of 100 hectares worth of land. Even to a company the size of Antinori, that’s a respectable increase in production.
Perhaps more importantly, the purchase may also give the family access to some noted experts in the winemaking industry. Prior to the Antinoris coming on board, Rubbia Al Colle had developed something of a reputation as a leading producer of sustainable wines. While we’re not sure if the family will keep everybody on board after the purchase, you have to imagine that the Antinoris could stand to learn a lot from a company like this.
And perhaps they’ll apply what they learn about sustainable wine production to their other wineries.
Just How Expensive Was the Purchase?
We don’t have official figures yet in terms of how much the Antinori family spent to acquire Rubbia Al Colle. However, estimates from WineNews place the cost of a single hectare of wine-producing land in Tuscany at €80,000 to €100,000.
If those figures hold true, then it would appear that Antinori spent somewhere between €8 million and €10 million on the purchase.
That is not an insignificant amount of money at all and it shows us why many commentators are saying that this signifies the family’s desire to continue investing in the heart of Tuscany.
The Final Word
We’re very interested to see what the Antinori family does with their latest purchase.
Today, the company owns more than 2,500 hectares of land all across Italy. This purchase seems to reinforce their desire to remain as the powerhouse of the Italian wine industry.
But we believe it was the practices of Rubbia Al Colle that drew the Antinoris to them. The company prided itself on producing wines while having zero negative environmental impact on the land around them.
The Antinori family hasn’t just purchased a lot of land in this deal.
They’ve purchase a great amount of expertise that could help the family to save millions of euros in the future.