"There are some real treasures hidden in these cellars," says Giorgio Rivetti, who has embraced Contratto's history since becoming involved in 2007. The family behind La Spinetta completed its purchase of Contratto in 2011, and Giorgio and the team are relishing the prospect of raising Contratto to its former glory and bringing it the recognition it deserves on the international scene.
AboutGiorgio Rivetti began studying viticulture and oenology at the Scuola Enologica di Alba — one of Italy’s oldest wine schools — at the age of 16. Before long he was serving an apprenticeship in both Burgundy and Bordeaux. When he returned to the family home in Piedmont, he set to work alongside his father, Giuseppe, who'd launched La Spinetta in 1977 and quickly gained a reputation for his Moscato d’Asti.
It was Giorgio who led the family's charge into red wines when he made a Barbera d’Asti in 1985. Many other reds quickly followed, and global recognition wasn't far behind. By 2000, La Spinetta’s line-up included about 15 single-vineyard wines from Piedmont. The family's desire to keep pushing boundaries took them to Tuscany, followed by the acquisition of Italy’s oldest traditional-method sparkling wine producer, Contratto, which also makes traditional Italian bitters.
Giorgio works by the principle that 90% of a wine is made in the vineyard, and considers himself a traditionalist. He works with no herbicides or other chemicals and regards the use of barriques and rotofermenters not as instruments for making modern wine but for preserving the quality of the juice produced by the vineyards.