With over 50 years of experience, the Fattoria Moretto winery has become synonymous with the Lambrusco Grasparossa varietal. Located in the heart of the Grasparossa appellation just 20km south of Modena, Fattoria Moretto wines have become famous around the world for their unique and refreshing taste. We recently had the chance to speak with Alessio Altavaria, the fourth generation of the Altavaria family to work at Fattoria Moretto to learn more about the winery, Lambrusco and the Castelvetro territory.
“It all started in the 60s with my grand-grandfather, Antonio Altariva, who moved, from Pavullo, to the hills of Castelvetro and started producing Lambrusco Grasparossa. Then, in the ’70s my grandfather, Domenico (nicknamed “the Moretto”), bought two hectares of land on which, in addition to planting his beloved vine, he also built the manor house. This is a story of passion, a passion that was passed on to Domenico’s sons, my father Fabio and my uncle Fausto, who just twenty years old, together with their father, decided to expand the wine production, giving life to the company.
In 1991 Fattoria Moretto was born. The birth of the new business marked a phase of big changes: they started bottling the wine (before it was sold only in demijohns), the wine-making method changed from refermentation in bottle to the Charmat method and cultivation of the vines was modified which allowed Fattoria Moretto to become certified organic.
The passion for the land and this wine has not stopped growing and here I am representing the fourth generation of this small family business. I have been around all levels of the business since I was a child, and today I can say that I have already gathered, despite my only 23 years of age , a good amount of experience in every phase of production. After graduating in Economics and International Marketing, I dedicate myself full time to the company, trying to help my father and my uncle both into the cellar and outside, with customers and in the vineyards”
Looking back at when it first began to now, which traits best characterize Fattoria Moretto today?
I like to think that Fattoria Moretto is a mix of the past and the present, in the sense that it represents tradition and innovation. We are eternally linked to this unique territory and is the reason why year after year we work hard to make wines that fully represent the characteristics of this territory. However, at the same time, we believe that without innovation there can not be progress and without progress, we have no future.
In the ‘90s, my uncle Fausto started to modernize the winery when he made the decision to leave behind the bottle refermentation method used by my grandfather Domenico, and modernize to begin fermenting in inox stainless steel tanks. We are continually looking for ways to improve our process to maintain an elegance in our wine which comes from a balance between territoriality and drinkability.
To us, what is truly most important is the expression of the territory in the wine. A wine’s character comes from a variety of factors in its terroir such as the breeding method, climate, exposure of the vines, and composition of the soil. As a company we have decided to honour those aspects of the grapes in our wines.
Let’s talk hospitality: how are you accommodating to visitors who increasingly decide on food and wine tours?
We have always believed, and still believe, in the tourism potential of Modena and its province. Castelvetro itself is a cultural and enogastronomic landmark with a variety of delicious and interesting offerings. We started organizing guided tours about two years and since then, they have becoming increasingly popular, both among local and foreign tourists.
Our visit, which lasts between 1 hour and 1.5 hours, begins with a short walk through the vineyards where visitors can see first had the vines and get an in depth explanation about the characteristics of the vine, about the production cycles and about seasonal processes. We continue with a visit to the winery with an explanation about the vinification rituals. Then we finish with the tasting of all the available wines, with snacks of local products, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, cured meats, breadsticks and homemade cakes.
Tastings are carried out all the year by reservation, from Monday to Friday from 1:30pm to 5:30pm and Saturdays from 10 AM to 5:30 PM, and we accommodate individuals and groups. Our tasting room has 15 seats and a maximum of 60 standing places.
What are some must-see destinations for foreign tourists to visit when they are in Castelvetro?
In Castelvetro, you can not miss a visit to the historical village, with its castle, the prison tower and the checkered square, on which in September, every two years, there’s the famous living checkers match, with a parade of tradition costumes from the middle ages. Also in September every year, there is the very popular Grape and Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Festival.
Nearby, there’s the Oratory of San Michele, dating back to about 1.100 BC which is just a few meters from our winery. Two other beautiful castles are located in nearby in Levizzano Rangone and in Vignola. Also for food and wine lovers there is the Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena in Spilamberto and for car lovers there is also the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.