INTERVIEW WITH A WINEMAKER - Onorio Pellegrini - Villa Corniole

by Marcello Muiesan

Q. Tell us about yourself, why and when did you decide to become an oenologist?

A. In the family, we had always had vineyards for several generations. In an artisanal way, a small amount of wine has always been produced for personal use. From here, the passion has grown, and over the years, what was previously just a hobby has become a real job: from the construction of the cellar to the production of wines and sparkling wines up to now.

Q. If you had to use three words, which one will you use to describe your work?

A. Heroic (due to the extreme areas where vineyards are grown in the mountains of the Cembra valley), dedication, love.

Q. What is your greatest fear during the entire cycle of the vine? 

A. The risk that due to a severe and atmospheric event (hail, for example), the work of an entire year may be lost in a minute.

Q. What makes you happy with your job?

A. To see that every year the wines are recognised and exported to many countries of the world and therefore being, perhaps, able to convey the love for our territory in the glass.

Q. What was the most crucial moment in your career as a winemaker?

A. I hope my top moment is still far away: this motivates me to do my best every day. Undoubtedly every time we receive recognition, even in world competitions as it has happened, there are always great satisfactions.

Q. What is your vision on organic, biodynamic and sustainable?

A. Indeed, sustainability is a solid point we keep in mind every day. In our vineyards, we work every day to make the environment in which we live healthier and better, working with low-impact and very advanced techniques. Indeed, the concept of organic also depends a lot on the location of a specific area and the climate to which it is subjected.

Q. What are you doing to preserve the planet?

A. No herbicides, no pesticides, organic fertilizers, green manure in the vineyard, as well as low energy expenditure in the cellar: photovoltaic panels, use of steam instead of running water. Also, at the product packaging level, we are working on sustainability: light glass, recyclable materials, etc.

Q. If you had to use three words, which one would you use to describe your wines?

A. Heroic, elegant, extreme.

Q. Why are your wines different from your direct competitors?

A. Each territory and production is different from the others: what distinguishes us from others in our case may be the territory first and foremost. The place where we live is considered extreme: viticulture here is at the limit of the possible, terraced, on steep slopes. The climatic conditions are considered alpine, and the meeting between man and nature is regarded as an exceptional starting point. Our wines can be considered unique also because they are genuine. They follow our working philosophy based on quality, representativeness and love for the territory.

Q. Among your wine, which is the one you are most fond of? What makes you proud? And why?

A. We are in land considered noble for Müller Thurgau: only here it is possible to produce a DOC Superior for this vine/wine. Over the years, we have worked a lot both in the vineyard, in the cellar and on the market in favour of this variety to give it the correct value. Sometimes it is challenging to promote MT because it is considered a poor wine in many areas. Quite the contrary: following its nature, it can become a great wine even over time if done correctly. Perhaps this is also why I am very attached to this type, it is in our hearts, and every day we try to enhance it to the fullest. It is also among our most awarded wines, and today we have a really success.

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