about us
from an article by Cesre Pillon on "L'Etichetta", March 1991
Gaspare Buscemi

«It is strange that this out of the ordinary prophet of quality wine studied enology by pure chance, simply because his Sicilian-originating family, lived in Conegliano, and he started working at the age of 20, back in 1959, in companies that produced large quantities of quaffing wine. But already in 1963, Buscemi had found his way; he had been an enotechnician for Marco Felluga in Gradisca d'Isonzo for three years, and immediately afterwards, for a further three years, he was the first technical director of the Consorzio del Collio e dell'Isonzo (Collio and Isonzo Consortium). In this position, he was the first to start an original activity of providing technical assistance to small businesses through lectures, laboratory analyses and winery visits. "There were 360 member vine-dressers " he recalls, "and I used to visit them at least twice a year, before and after harvesting ".

However, Buscemi has always been impatient. As the Consortium was not able to face the more impelling problems of small producers, he resigned from office and started to take care of those issues himself, setting up a bottling and distribution centre, a real service company, first of all in co-operation with others in San Floriano del Collio and then on his own in Cormons. It was an initiative that would have filled anyone's life, but not his. In fact, during those years he set off on another stimulating adventure, that of enotechnical management. This was an old idea of Veronelli, who had urged the Italian enotechnical association to create structures that were able to offer technical assistance to the small vine-dressers with the same spirit as that of a local medical officer. The possibility of putting that idea into practice came about in the early 80s in Carema, thanks to an illuminated town administration and the interest of Luigi Gaviglio, a vintage wine dealer from Milan, who was sensitive to the idea and well-prepared. Buscemi took on the task, offering his expertise that had been gained in the Friulian Consortium. The quality leap in the wine from the co-operative wine growers' association and the production of a great red called Carema from Carema, marked the course of Buscemi in that small Piedmont town. [...]

[...] the close relations with the producers allowed Buscemi to create some memorable wines like the Colombaio Reserve by Massimo Pachiè, an outstanding Erbaluce, and Solativo by Luigi Ferrando.»

The story told by Cesare Pillon, reaches 1991. Since then, many years have passed in which Gaspare Buscemi has continued to work for the small viticulture businesses in Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont, Liguria, Emilia, Tuscany, Lazio, and in the Eolie islands of Sicily, as well as Friuli Venezia-Giulia, of course. Moreover, with Luigi Gaviglio, his vintage wine dealer friend that was already mentioned by Pillon, he did some research in France based on Cognac and Armagnac and, in Castelmaggiore (Bo), Italy in the former "Pilla" establishment, he took care of the subsequent experimental and production stages of the base wine for distillation. Hence "Villa Zarri" was born. It was the first Italian "territory" brandy because it was distilled solely with wines specially produced by using choice grapes in specific territories, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, and not, as was the norm, from by-products or inferior wines. It is distilled with the original charentais alembic still, typical of Cognac. And even today in Castelmaggiore, in Villa Zarri, this brandy continues to be distilled and aged the same way.

From the lengthy relationship with Italian vine-growers and from this special experience, Gaspare Buscemi began his professional life with a dedication to natural and traditional oenology. He has always strived to distinguish "artisan wines" as wines that are an expression of nature and the thousand-year old farming and artisan culture of our lands, knowing that it would bring notoriety to "artisan vine-growers", and all Italian wines, as top quality wines.

Only a large-scale qualification would permit a traditional production system, as divided and difficult as ours, to sustain itself in today's global market.

The company

Before any other company, in our region but in Italy as well, ours had begun as a technical services business for wine cellars, aimed at vine-growers, to give them the opportunity to vinify their grapes and bottle their wines. That was in January, 1973. This business allowed vine-growers to acquire a market niche, and it is still a part of who we are today. Initially limited to bottling services in our wine cellar, our business then grew to cover all production aspects, starting with grape processing, and the services are now also performed in the vine-growers' wine cellars, along with valuable training sessions as well.

These services are, in fact, performed with simple machinery that is made to measure for vine-growers, in order for them to easily learn to use it and, along with a lower service cost, they will also have operations knowledge that will render them more independent as soon as they are ready.

Our company is now focused on production and organization, and our wide-spread technological services, which are interesting because they are smaller, both in cost and in operations simplicity, and brought directly to vine-growers' wine cellars. But they are also important because they focus on the propagation of natural enology, which was traditionally artisan, just like that which produced great wines even before the industrialization of production processes.

The wine bottled following a natural and artisan enology as was tradition before the industrialization of production processes, started with the 1981 harvest, but above all in 1982. These bottles, together with others bottled 14 years ago, now make up the "Riserve Massime" of our "Vini d'Artigianato" wines, thus proving the importance of the technical choice.

In May 2011, mainly for the purposes of research and development, we decided to put in a small, one hectare vineyard to be managed according to biodynamic criteria.

According to artisan tradition, the business is family-run.

In fact, the owner is assisted in the cellar by his wife Benedetta, who performs the operative tasks and controls, whereas the administration and sales activities are carried out directly by their daughter, Roberta.