Historical company of Franciacorta
The history of the Ricci Curbastro family boasts agricultural traditions since the 13th century. A Noble family from Lugo di Romagna (Emilia Romagna), the Ricci Curbastro moved there in the thirteenth century after being driven out of Florence during the Guelph-Ghibelline wars. Their coat of arms is light blue with a red band accompanied on top by a comet placed between two gold stars, with a natural oak at the point terraced by greenery – Curbastro probably derives from the Latin “quercus”-, flanked by two facing hedgehogs – ricci in Italian-.
The Ricci Curbastro family led today by Riccardo and by his sons, the 18th generations: Gualberto and Filippo, runs farm estates in Rontana di Brisighella (Emilia Romagna), and the homonymous farm estate of Capriolo in Franciacorta (Lombardy).
The Ricci Curbastro company was transformed into a modern farm by Riccardo and his wife Evelina Lantieri de Paratico, who in the first post-war carried out important innovations such as the creation of the new wine cellar and the futuristic, for the times, drip irrigation system.
In 1967, their son Gualberto became one among the eleven first producers who gave life to the Franciacorta DOC. An impassioned collector, Gualberto also began early to collect farming objects that had fallen in disuse. In July 1986, this collection became the first nucleus of the Ricci Curbastro Agriculture and Wine Museum, a unique reality in Franciacorta created to tell tourists and wine lovers about the history of this area of Brescia.
Over the years the farm has continued its development, supported by Riccardo’s entry into the company as early as 1978. The Ricci Curbastro family was one of the promoters of the birth in 1990 of the Franciacorta Consortium, of which Riccardo has been president from 1993 to 1999.
Today the company can count on 32 hectares of vineyards, a cellar of over 2500 square meters – 25 times larger than the one originally rebuilt in 1946-, and over 200.000 bottles produced every year.
Pioneering company for sustainability
The journey towards sustainability in the Ricci Curbastro estate began over 40 years ago at the behest of Gualberto who decided to stop the use of any herbicide in the vineyards. Since then many steps have been taken: the installation in 1987 of the first meteorological station for data analysis and management of plant diseases; the carbon footprint certification in 2012 and the conversion to organic in 2018.
This path led in April 2018 to the conviction of certifying the estate sustainability according to the Equalitas standard, among the first nine farms in Italy that have managed to reach the pioneering goal of certification; the first in its region.
The Equalitas standard uses the integrated approach to sustainability according to three pillars: Economic, or the ability to generate income and work; Environmental, that is the ability to maintain quality and reproducibility of natural resources; Social, which means the ability to guarantee conditions of human well-being.
Every year a 360° analysis of company processes is carried out and certified, evaluating elements such as carbon footprint, water footprint, biodiversity, economic and social working conditions, company safety, economic risks and financial statements. The result of this analysis is published annually through a sustainability report which you can read here: https://www.riccicurbastro.it/en/sustainable-winery/ and which collects all the news and projects carried out from year to year.
There are several projects that have been carried out in the company in favor of research and innovation, and new ones are about to be carried out in the next few years.
An example is a ten-year research project applied to the use of yeasts to make pleasant-tasting and preservable Franciacorta wines. The experiments conducted in our winery have focused on the natural extraction of mannoproteins and ß-Glucanase, from the fine lees produced by the wine itself. The ideal solution to the problem, reducing the sulfur dioxide to very low limits and, at the same time, ensuring enough contact surfaces between the yeasts and the Franciacorta base wine, and benefiting from the contribution of a protective inert atmosphere, was found in the use of 1.5 liter magnums for preservation, closed with stainless steel crown caps, which guarantees a perfect seal for several years. This development in our research needed to obtain a special authorization for the preservation of base wines, given by MIPAAF (Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies). After 10 years of research, and as a result of the qualitative and critical results achieved by our Franciacorta produced with the use of these base wines, the technique was shared with the Franciacorta Consortium in order to be included in the new production specification. The introduction in the Consortium Rolebook was approved with the majority of votes and has become part of the Franciacorta method.
Research is not concentrated only on winemaking techniques, but also on grape varieties and agronomic techniques. The Ricci Curbastro estate was in fact one of the promoters of the rediscovery of a variety for many years confused with Cabernet Franc: Carmenère. Since 1999, our company had provided in realizing new high density plants created with scions taken from a pre-phylloxera plant (not grafted) present in the company in Capriolo and from a 50 year vineyard in Erbusco. New plants with Italian Carmenère clones were created from 2001 to 2003. Enhancing a red wine in a land known for the Franciacorta demonstrate the ability to diversify production without, following trends, the introduction of extraneous international grape varieties to our environment.