Ten years of success along with national and international recognition, synergy with Historic Families, and daily impassioned research. Antica Bottega del Vino celebrates a decade of leadership under director Luca Nicolis, who since 2014 has been guiding a close-knit team and contributing to making the Bottega an icon not only for the city of Verona but for all lovers of wine, haute cuisine, and the best service. Currently, the Bottega serves more than 120 thousand patrons per year and sells more than 16 thousand bottles per year.
Luca Nicolis in Verona: Ten years of success
When Nicolis arrived at the Antica Bottega del Vino, he already had significant experience in upscale dining and the hotel industry. Working in places such as the Veronese Il Desco, the Albereta in Franciacorta, where he worked with Gualtiero Marchesi, the Arpège, a three star restaurant in Paris, and finally his own Zibaldone di San Giorgio in Salici, where he obtained a Michelin star, he was able to cultivate an impeccable attention to hospitality as well as an intuitive understanding of the art of knowing how to make the connection between food and wine, all of which he brought to the Bottega.
“It was the beginning of January 2014 when one of the members of Historic Families called me, and within one week, I found myself at the beginning of an exciting experience at the Antica Bottega del Vino,” remembers Nicolis. “What I found the most satisfying is the assurance of having created a sense of family with all of the members of the team all of whom work incredibly well together. Many of them have been here for more than 10 years, and it has been a pleasure watching them grow both personally and professionally”.
“I thank Historic Families for this opportunity. They believed in me and from the very beginning we were able to create a harmonious balance. What remains true is that these last 10 years represent only a starting point for other ambitious projects with Historic Families, which will only serve to widen the horizons of the Antica Bottega del Vino”.
Today the Bottega has 28 members that are part of a staff – the number increases to more than 40 during Vinitaly – that serve more than 120 thousand people from around the world, as well as sell more than 16 thousand bottles of wine. The Bottega is also the only place in the city that is open every day of the year.
Nicolis adds “The most intense period, but also the most awaited period, are the days of Vinitaly. In those most important days for the world of wine, there is a palpably different energy because this is the place where people meet and exchange ideas, and where everyone from the Veronese people to the biggest national and international names in wine look forward to being.”
“To Luca’s great credit, he has created a harmonious atmosphere not only between workers but also for his clients. He has renovated and enriched the restaurant and bar while preserving the original identity and pairing the wine with upscale gastronomic choices, explains Sabrina Tedeschi, president of the Antica Bottega del Vino.
“Over the last few years, the Bottega has established itself as a welcoming restaurant that offers a multi-faceted experience. It is a point of reference for food and wine culture that brings together not only many generations of Veronese people but also a newer, younger, and intrigued clientele.”
Thanks to the deep selection of vintages and the research that has gone into creating the wine list, which currently includes 4700 labels and more than 18 thousand bottles, in 2023 the Antica Bottega del Vino was awarded Wine Spectator’s Grand Award for the 20th consecutive year. Only 7 restaurants in Italy and 93 across the world were recognized as points of reference for wine lovers. The same magazine ranked the Bottega third among the 101 reasons to visit Italy.
In addition, the restaurant was awarded 3 Forks by The Falstaff Magazine and named as having the best regional wine list in the world as well as the best dessert wine list in the world by The World of Fine Wines.
Antica Bottega del Vino: the story
Born in the 1500s during the Republic of Venice, the Antica Bottega del Vino was so named by the Sterzi brothers in 1890. The Sterzi brothers were responsible for creating the fascinating warm and characteristic 19th century style, which is still evident today.
The establishment became a point of reference for the cultural scene of the end of the 19th century and for wine lovers. Poets, musicians, writers, and artists such as Boccioni were drawn to the tables along with journalists who took refuge there after a day of drafting.
In 1957 the establishment was bought by the Rizzo-Grigolo family, who used it primarily as a restaurant until 1987 when Severino Barzan arrived on the scene. It was Barzan and his partner Giovanni Pascucci who subsequently introduced the concept of the Wine Bar to New York.
In 2010, Allegrini, Begali, Brigaldara, Masi, Musella, Speri, Tedeschi, Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Tommasi, Venturini and Zenato, the then eleven members of Historic Families, an Association born of the union of ten historic wineries of the Valpolicella in June 2009, acquired the Antica Bottega del Vino, safeguarding thus the enological tradition of this symbolic establishment of Verona.