Investing in a Love for Amarone
Rich and full-bodied, Amarone is an Italian wine made with love and care. Produced from grapes which are slowly dried before being carefully pressed and left to age for a minimum of two years. Amarone is a wine which is about the love of making wine.
This wine comes from the north of Italy in the Valpolicella, one of the countryʼs highest producing wine regions, a lush area near the city of Verona and Lake Garda, where hills and small towns share the landscape with castles, lakes and marble quarries. The main grape variety grown here to produce Amarone is Corvina. The grapes are collected and then let to partially dry until at least the date of December 1st following the harvest, allowed to ferment to a minimum of 14% alcohol, and then aged for a minimum of two years in wooden barrels usually made of oak or chestnut. Amarone Riserva is aged for at least four years.
Itʼs an investment of time and passion which is now being opened up to lovers of Amarone. If you enjoy this special wine this may be the time to invest in your very own barrel. For over two centuries wine makers in Bordeaux have sold a percentage of their barrels while they are still aging, but this model never really took hold in Italy until recently with the wine estate La Collina dei Ciliegi where enthusiasts willing to make an investment can buy their very own barrique of Amarone en Primeur, a term used to define investing in a fine wine while still in the barrel.
The winery, established in 2005, has decided to adopt the practice of selling some of the barrels of its finest wines. President of La Collina dei Ciliegi and finance entrepreneur Massimo Gianolli said, “Unlike in France, our buyers arenʼt retailers, but rather mangers, heads of industries, professionals, bankers and jewelers willing to bet on the flavors of the wine. People can buy our barriques (225 liters) with a personalized nameplate, which are then left to rest and finish for years in the wine cellar, and then, like being in a sort of club, they return to our winery, where they often stay at our resort, and then participate in tastings from the barrel. They can then do the same for the bottling process. Itʼs a passion which means market for us. For the 2015 vintage alone 14 barriques were bought and in three years weʼre aiming to sell 75% of our Amarone cru using this formula.”
This past September 7th, around twenty of the first lucky investors, called primeuristi, gathered at the wine estate in Erbin in the Valpantena, for the first festival dedicated to the Amarone en Primeur. The winery hopes to make this an annual post-bottling event where the 300 bottles produced from each barrique are made available to each investor and set out in specific cellars.
Each barrel costs anywhere between €12,000 to €27,000 (plus sales tax) based on the general criteria of a certain vintage and on assessments made about the quality of a particular harvest. According to experts, those vintages from 2015 and 2016 are destined to become a secure investment. Today, the winery dedicates about 10 hectares of its cru producing vineyards to these sales, and intends to do the same with its Super Valpantena. All of this is the fruit of a project envisioned two years ago by Lydia and Claude Bourguignon, agronomists and consultants for some of the most important French Chateaux, along with Christian Roger, permanent member of the Grand Jury Européen du Vin, and Ermanno Murari agronomist for Vivai Rauscedo.
The reds are made from a blend of Corvina and Teroldego grown in vineyards of three cru at an altitude of 600 to 700 meters in Monte Castello, Tasine and Preara, vineyards with a low yield of only 40 to 60 quintals per hectare. An investment in one of these reds wonʼt be ready before three years. The whites, which also must age for three years, are a blend of Garganega and Pinot Bianco grown on vineyards in the areas of Preara and Spondi at an altitude of between 500 and 600 meters, vineyards which also produce low yields.
Yet, if you love wine and you have the patience and curiosity to see what time will bring this may the perfect investment. As they say at Collina dei Ciliegi ‘Adopt a barrique, invest and stay liquid.ʼ