Sixty years ago, Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio made its debut. It launched a real revolution in taste and in wine-drinking pleasure. In these first sixty years of history, Pinot Grigio has become the leading Italian white varietal wine worldwide, and the Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita continues to be one of its flagships: a wine that has made a huge contribution to the development of Italian winemaking, revolutionizing both the national and foreign markets.
The story began towards the end of the 1950s when, preempting future trends, the visionary and forward-thinking Count Gaetano Marzotto began looking for a new type of wine that was no longer a cliché: one that was able to stand out due to its originality and distinctive taste profile, and had a strong varietal/ territorial identity.
He was looking for a different approach to wine, one which would become the real protagonist of the contemporary dining experience. His quest for a perfect combination between terroir and grape variety led the Count and his team of winemakers to Trentino-Alto Adige, the ideal area in which to grow grapes that had the potential to produce a wine with the fresh, fruity character with which he wished to imprint its style.
The expertise of his enologists helped identify the variety that could express the soil and climatic characteristics of the region to the full. However, the real revolution was represented by the brilliant, revolutionary brainwave on the part of the Count: to vinify the delicate Pinot Grigio grapes as a white wine, eliminating any contact between the must and skins and so transforming a copper-colored wine into a brilliant, elegant and intensely flavored white that was the one of a kind.
It was 1961 when Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio made its debut on the Italian market. Its popularity was as surprising as it was immediate. Until then, the market was used to a simple distinction between white, red and rosé wines, Italy appreciated straightaway the extraordinarily easy-drinking style and fragrance of this vinous novelty, which stood out thanks to its new way of interpreting not only Pinot Grigio grapes, but also white wine in general.
Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio gave rise to a radical change in the way people drank wine, from being a foodstuff to becoming a source of pleasure.
This process favored the democratization of wine, thus allowing new consumers to approach this product and attracting a segment of the public which, in the subsequent decades, would play an ever more significant role in purchasing decisions. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio was the first, the original, the trailblazer that won the hearts of consumers, conveying an image of the future and of innovation.
Its amazing success suggested that it would also have excellent potential abroad, where it was diligently exported from the ’70s onwards: Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio demonstrated to the whole world that Italy could offer wines, perfectly in line with the evolution of the various societies and with that of modern taste.
1979 was the breakthrough year: with its coronation as ‘Italy’s finest white wine’ in a blind tasting, the gates to the vast United States market were flung open. Here it became well-established within the space of just a few years, becoming one of the iconic wines and creating unprecedented brand loyalty. What won over wine lovers was its freshness, easy-drinking style, and its extraordinary ability for pairing with food.
In the U.S.A., Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio is still today the Italian white wine that is most imported and appreciated, also by the stars: in fact, it is not unusual to find it being enjoyed by celebrities of the caliber of Rihanna or Kylie Jenner, Jon Bon Jovi or Drake, who even devotes some rhymes to it in the lyrics of his most famous songs.
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio has quite rightly entered the wine Hall of Fame, presenting itself today in a thoroughly modern, versatile style: a straw yellow color, a clean, intense nose, with unexpected floral notes and hints of citrus and white-fleshed fruit; freshness and tanginess in perfect balance, giving way to fruit on the palate that is at once delicate and stimulating.
Thanks to its harmony, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is a wine of great character, which is extremely versatile when accompanying food or in different situations: as an aperitif, with brunch, drunk throughout a meal and, in particular, with lots of dishes belonging to the Italian or other culinary traditions, whether fish-based or otherwise.
Particular attention has been paid to local sourcing, so that today over 90% of the bottles are produced in the glass factory only a short distance away from the vinification facility, and to the “carbon neutrality”program, which for the last seven years has reduced to zero the carbon footprint of the almost 2 million bottles of Pinot Grigio that are produced annually.
Combining craftsmanship, tradition, and technical and enological innovation has therefore allowed Santa Margherita to highlight to the full the relationship between the grape variety and its terroir and to offer an outstanding Pinot Grigio that finds its way onto the tables of over 90 countries throughout the world. It is a wine that invented a new approach to wine, that has always been in step with the times and which, even in the year in which we are celebrating its first sixty years of success, is already plotting new routes of taste and vinous pleasure for the future.
Count Marzotto founded the company in 1935. Today, the Santa Margherita Wine Group, which was awarded Winery of the Year by Gambero Rosso, the Italian wine guide, incorporates 10 different estates in some of the best wine-producing regions in Italy including not just Santa Margherita but also Ca del Bosco, Ca Maiol and Lamole di Lamole among others. It represents one of the most significant clusters in the Italian wine sector, with over 22 million bottles sold in 2019 in 94 countries around the world. The Group is owned by four brothers, the 3rd generation of the Marzotto family.