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Vinitaly to honor the legacy and impact of Ezio Rivella with a dedicated masterclass

In the realm of Italian wine, Ezio Rivella stands as a towering figure, leaving an indelible mark on the modern landscape of Italian winemaking during his tenure as the head winemaker of Castello Banfi. Following his passing in January 2024 and in tribute to his enduring legacy and profound contributions to the sector, Vinitaly is proud to announce a special Masterclass in his honor, slated for Tuesday, April 16th.

Ezio Rivella’s forward-thinking approach to winemaking, combined with his profound grasp of traditional methods, played a pivotal role in solidifying Italy’s position as a premier producer of fine wines. Yet, beyond his technical expertise, Rivella was cherished for his generosity, mentorship, and dedication to supporting fellow industry professionals. The need to recognise his enduring legacy and commemorate the impact he had on future generations of winemakers are the twin driving forces behind the development of this Masterclass.

A Life dedicated to Italian wine

Originally from Asti, Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labour) Ezio Rivella stood as one of Italy’s foremost oenologists and wine industry leaders, pioneering the global promotion of Italian wine. In the late 1970s, during his tenure at Castello Banfi, he recognised the untapped potential of Brunello di Montalcino, propelling it to worldwide acclaim and positioning it as a flagship of Italian wine production. His innovative winemaking techniques and advocacy for indigenous Italian grape varieties, notably Sangiovese, were instrumental in expressing the unique terroir of diverse regions.

Among his notable contributions to the world of wine was his stewardship of the Bel Sit winery in Castagnole Lanze, Piedmont, originally established in 1870 by the Rivella family. Throughout his illustrious career, Rivella assumed key leadership roles in the industry, serving as president of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, leading the Unione Italiana Vini, president of Assoenologi, and chairing the National Wine Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture. His remarkable contribution was acknowledged through numerous prestigious honors, including his appointment as Cavaliere del Lavoro and decoration with the Order of Merit for Labour by the President of the Italian Republic.

The Masterclass: "Honoring Ezio Rivella: A Legacy of Italian Winemaking Evolution" at Vinitaly 2024 on Tuesday, April 16th.

The Masterclass: “Honoring Ezio Rivella: A Legacy of Italian Winemaking Evolution”

The tasting is a heartfelt tribute to Mr Rivella, featuring insights from some of those who knew him best. During the masterclass, Daniele Cernilli, Editor at Doctor Wine, will be joined by speakers Riccardo Cotarella, President of Assoenologi; Enrico Viglierchio, President of Banfi Società Agricola Srl; Rodolfo Maralli, Presidente Banfi Srl; and Gianpiero Scavino winemaker and owner of Bel Sit winery, alongside other collaborators and friends, and will reflect on the enduring legacy of Mr Rivella’s work through engaging stories and anecdotes.

Participants will also have the opportunity to taste three Brunello di Montalcino wines from Castello Banfi and three Barbera d’Asti from the Bel Sit winery, thus retracing key milestones in Ezio Rivella’s illustrious career.

The wine list of the Masterclass includes:

  •     Bel Sit, Barbera d’Asti Docg Superiore “Sichivej” 2015
  •     Bel Sit, Barbera d’Asti Docg Superiore “Sichivej” 2003
  •     Bel Sit, Barbera d’Asti Docg Superiore “Sichivej” 2001
  •     Castello Banfi, Toscana Igt “Summus” 1997
  •     Castello Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino Docg Riserva “Poggio all’Oro” 1990
  •     Castello Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino Docg 1985