Winery Snippet | Nino Franco – Italy, Veneto – Valdobbiadene

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Nino Franco, Italy, Veneto, Valdobbiadene

Antonio Franco founded the “Cantine Franco” winery in Valdobbiadene in 1919. Valdobbiadene is located at the foot of the Prealps, in the Venetian region, and is famous for the Prosecco vine and wine production. This winery is proud to be one of the oldest in Valdobbiadene, located in the town centre, not far away from the countryside and the vineyards. Thanks to a careful and wise management, the estate has been growing and evolving throughout three generations of producers. Antonio founded it, Nino expanded it and Primo improved the company performance throughout the years.

1982, when Primo took over its management, was the turning point. Primo began to travel and to successfully export the wines in Europe as well as in the Americas and the Far East. At the same time he invested in the production process in order to make higher quality wines, eliminating all those wines that were atypical for the area. He also started to monitor closely the grape cultivation with the aim of achieving high quality from the raw material level to the final product. Primo Franco was one of the first pioneers to export the Prosecco and to introduce a different sparkling wine than Champagne into the international market. He has been successful, thanks to his open mind personality, his spontaneity, reliability and competence.

The result is a range of quality Prosecco wines where the potential of the grape and wine style has been realized. Prosecco Nino Franco is recognized internationally by many of the world’s wine writers and specialists including the top authority on Italian wines- Gambero Rosso

Valdobbiadene

The state-of- the art winery of Nino Franco is located in the heart of Valdobbiadene appellation, one of Italy’s famous sparkling wines areas. The winery founded in 1919 by Antonio Franco, followed by his son Nino, is now owned by the latter’s son Primo, a graduate of the highly reputed Scuola d’Enologia di Conegliano.

Primo has entirely changed the cellar equipment and revised production techniques and labels. Drawing on his expertise and on new technology, his first step was to improve management and reduce yields.Then he introduced controlled fermentation in the cellar and paid great attention to the transformation of must into base wine. The final result is a fresh, fruity and flowery Prosecco, the quality of which has been talked about for years in outstanding wine magazines, newspapers and both Italian and foreign guides.

Today Primo is still running his own vineyard where he has experimented with new cultivation techniques, using the old Prosecco clones.

All these things have contributed to what has become a philosophy, namely improving the quality of his wine.

Wine Maker – Primo Franco

Primo Franco, the third-generation of his family to lead the historic Nino Franco winery in Valdobbiadene, is widely considered the architect of the Prosecco revolution across the world.

His legacy is owed in part to the era in which he came of age. After completing his studies and then spending a few years perfecting his English in the “swinging” London of the early 70s, his father Nino finally convinced him to join the family business.

At the time, the world’s thirst for high-quality sparkling wine was growing rapidly. Primo, who had lived abroad and spoke English fluently, had experienced firsthand the English passion for bubbles and he was among the first to recognize that the new generation of Prosecco had enormous potential for growth in English-speaking markets.

Valdobbiadene — where he, his father, and his grandfather were all born — was undergoing a radical change. Winemakers were shifting from the rustic style of Prosecco, often cloudy and sometimes bitter in taste, to a new and cleaner, fresh style of sparkling wine. Primo, whose experience outside of Italy had made him familiar with Anglo tastes, recognized that the new generation of Prosecco would be embraced by wine lovers on the other side of Atlantic, where a new generation of Americans was beginning to appreciate fine wine for the first time in the country’s history.

As one of the leading producers of Prosecco, Primo Franco and the Nino Franco winery had all the right stuff. His elegant labels, which evoked the rustic origins of his wines, were inspired by the artisanal traditions of Prosecco and the people who grew the grapes and made the wines. With their unprecedented artistic flair, the new look for the Nino Franco winery, conceived and developed by Primo, would ultimately prove to be one of the most enduring icons of the appellation. Little did the Franco family know at the time, but Primo was about to embark on an adventure that would reshape the world’s taste for sparkling wine.

Primo made his first trip to the U.S. in 1979, two years after he married the beautiful Annalisa, also from Valdobbiadene, whom he’d first met some years earlier in London where she was completing her studies in English. In 1982, in the wake of the initial success of the wines, he began to travel with greater frequency to North America, where he crisscrossed the country introducing Americans to Prosecco and forging relationships with hundreds of wine buyers and restaurateurs. It was around this time that he also took over winemaking responsibilities from his father.

By the end of the decade, the Prosecco revolution had officially begun. And with the passage of another ten years, as Primo returned each year to the States as Prosecco’s leading ambassador, Prosecco had become one of the most popular wines in America.

“Every Prosecco producer should give Primo ten cents for each bottle they ship to the U.S.,” said recently a young Prosecco grower and bottler who views Primo as a mentor and an inspiration for his own career as a winemaker. Today, more Prosecco is sold throughout the world than Champagne. And Primo, perhaps more than any other winemaker, was the man behind this sweeping transformation of the fine wine landscape.

Today, he is an outspoken advocate for traditional farming practices in his beloved Valdobbiadene and although his daughter Silvia has now stepped into the role of the winery’s CEO, Primo continues to travel abroad, tasting and sharing the magic of his family’s wines with wine lovers across the globe.

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The Wines

On Ewineasia.com, you can find many of Nino Franco wines that best defines the expression of its terroir, ethical viticulture and wine-making philosophy.

Rustico Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior DOCG

Bright, straw-coloured. Very fine, persistent, pleasant, and crisp, fruity and flowery.

Matching as an aperitif or with appetizers, with risotto or pasta. Very well coupled with snacks.

Grape Variety: Prosecco

Alc %: 11 %

Type: Sparkling

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior DOCG Primo Franco 2009

Smooth and creamy with a nice core of ripe grape and apple flavors that gain complexity on the finish. Pale, straw-colored. Intense and persistent, aromatic, fruity and balanced.

Grape Variety: Prosecco

Alc %: 10.5 %

Type: Sparkling

Valdobbiadene DOCG Grave di Stecca Brut 2008

A very pleasant dry taste at the beginning, followed by a growing silky fruit bouquet. Brilliant pale straw colored.

Plenty of fine softly arising bubbles, delicious sage bouquet, with fresh fruit scents.

Grape Variety: Prosecco

Alc %: 12 %

Type: Sparkling

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