Soldera & Brunello consortium spar

soldera montalcino consortium

Above: Gianfranco Soldera with his fermentation casks (I took this photo in 2008). Every time I’ve visited and tasted with him, he’s spoken of the importance of fermenting in wood, “a breathing” vessel, he said repeatedly.

Adding yet another unsavory wrinkle to the sad tale of the now infamous act of vandalism (or “sabotage,” as the Italian media has called it) that took place in December 2012 at the Case Basse winery in Montalcino (more than 60,000 liters of wine destroyed), the estate’s winemaker Gianfranco Soldera and Brunello consortium vicepresident Donatella Cinelli Colombini publicly traded barbs yesterday.

In an interview entitled “Why I am leaving the consortium,” posted online yesterday by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Soldera told editor Luciano Ferraro that the consortium had “wanted to donate wine to me. I was supposed to bottle it as if it were mine, without knowing where it came from. [This was] an unacceptable and offensive proposal, a swindling of the consumer. I asked them [instead] to finance studies in Montalcino. But nothing came of it.”

In a post on her family’s winery’s website entitled “What on earth is Soldera saying?”, Colombini swiftly returned the volley.

“The meanest thing,” she wrote yesterday, “is the accusation that the consortium ‘proposed a swindling [of the consumer].’ How could it be that the producers give him a gift [by donating] a part of their production to help him in a difficult moment, thus creating a ‘solidarity Brunello,’ and he responds in this manner? Isn’t he ashamed of himself?”

In a press release issued by the winery on Friday of last week, Soldera announced — without explanation — that he was leaving the consortium.

He also revealed that he was able to recover a considerable quantity of wine “at the time of the damage.” The winery will resume sales, he wrote (after news of the vandalism spread in December 2012, prices for his wine skyrocketed and he stopped selling and shipping wine from his estate).

3 thoughts on “Soldera & Brunello consortium spar

  1. Jeremy, it’s not easy to ever know what exactly was said between them, however; the answer of Brunello;s consortium’s vice president Donatella Cinelli Colombini never mentioned anything about the offer that Gianfranco made to them; to finance studies in Montalcino. So I have to believe that, he is the one who’s on top.

    After all as we all know many producers f%&#ed up in that region and Gianfranco along with a few others, very few others, were the ones that remain true to the traditions and regulations of their appellation system. who do i believe with out meeting either one….. I’M SORRY BUT THE “OLD MAN” with a hart of a 25 year old, is the man, is a legend and people like him WILL NEVER, EVER SACRIFICE ANYTHING FOR THE $$$$$$. For them money is not an object.

    Further more as Ms. Donatella says “The reason for this is also that this act and all the inferences fomented by it are considerably damaging to the image of Brunello and its territory”

    Pardon my ignorance, what image of Brunello, Brunello…. hmmm that reminds me of something but I can’t place it.

    We humans seem to forget way tooooo fast, “darling” the image of Brunello if it wasn’t for Soldera and possibly a couple of other max 3 producers would have been wiped out from the face of the wine world. Can I just remind you of the scandal that happen a few years ago, and you and/or some others covered with MINIMAL F$%&KING fines to the big boys (or if they were investments bankers are known as the golden boys)

    I forgive and believe me I will always do, however I will NEVER FORGET, and that means if I forgive you it doesn’t mean I will even talk to you the next time I see you or even the next time you even come to my restaurant! Believe me roll the dice and take your chances.

    Now you come out and blame a F-U-C-K-I-N-G LEGENT. Shame of you, knell on your knees and apologize to him.


    we SALUTE YOU!!!,

    any grammatical errors and/ or any spelling mistakes are my own,

    Write drunk….. Edit Sober; Ernest Hemingway

  2. U all forgot that Gianfranco has a big ego as big as
    himself. Nobody , who really knows him can deny this point.

  3. On national newspapers, following Soldera’s own words on Dec. 4th. 2012, he strongly and sadly stated that “all the last 5 vintages were completely lost”. Then he stopped selling his 2006. Now… at the end of March 2013, first he starts to sell his 2006 again (and, as a “pure” casualty, the current shelf price is doubled since December and so is the demand, then he is now “miraculously” declaring that he was (God knows how) able to save 7.000 bottles (half of his usual yearly production!!!) for every supposedly lost vintage. The man sounds a little too smart to me.

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