At Locanda Le Tre Rane – Ruffino on the Poggio Casciano estate, in the beautiful Renaissance villa belonging to one of Ruffino’s top estates, the company’s Managing Director Sandro Sartor spoke with Francesco Sorelli, Director of Communication and journalist Gioacchino Bonsignore, Editor of TG 5 about five key topics that encapsulate the essence of Ruffino: identity, sustainability, innovation and future.
Established in Pontassieve, near Florence, in 1877, Ruffino has crafted the history of wine in Tuscany, upholding a solid identity in the place where it was founded. With the acquisition of two prosecco-producing estates in Veneto, Ruffino has written another chapter on the global wine marketing, pursuing new trends to include and create relations while celebrating the joy of being together. “Vivere di Gusto”, Ruffino’s new brand positioning, informs consumers about these concepts through new channels of communication: TV and press campaigns; a new ruffino.it website; and the new web magazine viveredigusto.it, which go hand in hand with newly structured social media channels.
“Wine tourism, hospitality associated with the brand experience, is the sublimation of Vivere di Gusto,” explains Sandro Sartor. “For us, it is an exquisite way of summing up rural, cultural and gastronomic tourism, which we diversify as a range of experiences, all extremely in line with our Vivere di Gusto concept: tours & tastings, the Locanda Le Tre Rane – Ruffino restaurant, the Enoteca Bottega del Vino, the Agriresort Poggio Casciano, with its generous breakfast and beautiful pool. Spending time at Poggio Casciano means truly understanding and benefitting from everything that the Italian lifestyle has to offer: finding the joy of being together in special moments.”
A large company made up of several small agricultural firms that care about the details, just like craftspeople, united by a shared vision: sustainability. By 2025 Ruffino will be 100% sustainable certified and all the estates will be organically managed, hence becoming the largest organic wine company in Tuscany. In the meantime,by the end of 2021, more than 40% of the vineyards owned by Ruffino will be organic.
In 2018, all the Ruffino estates obtained the “Biodiversity Friends” certification from the World Biodiversity Association, which recognizes the commitment to restore and maintain an estate’s biodiversity. Ruffino’s pledge to reduce waste and the impact on the environment is shown by the company’s recycling of over 75% of the waste produced. Water management is one example. One such example is water management thanks to advanced technology purification plants and constructed wetlands that enable Ruffino to treat the wastewater from wineries naturally via the use of plants and water filtering through sand and gravel.
Organic vineyard management to encourage biodiversity and sustainable production remain part of the “Ruffino Cares” project.
“Ruffino Cares is a wide-ranging corporate social responsibility project, which now more than ever communicates our sentiment, drive and willpower,” Sandro Sartor continues. “Sustainability also means educating about the responsible consumption of wine, which is embodied in the idea of educating about wine tasting based on the relational systems that are essentially genetic for we Italians: conviviality and sharing. Enjoying wine through the joy of being together, and never isolating oneself in excess.”
The pillars of Ruffino Cares focus on helping the disadvantaged through a commitment to others and a responsibility pledged to support excellence in terms of volunteer organizations in the local community, such as Dynamo Camp and the MiaDi association, while Diversity & Inclusion sets the goal of fostering an open and inclusive workplace.
“Ruffino Cares is an ambitious and long-term project, which aspires to represent everything that the company aims to offer when it comes to the essence of the brand: good and social beauty,” explains Sandro Sartor.“All this is certified in the Sustainability Report that we present every year.”
Innovation is possible when a company’s roots are clear, well-defined and observed. In this way, today’s innovation becomes tomorrow’s tradition.
In April 2020, Aqua di Venus Toscana IGT was released to market, a rosé as a tribute to art and femininity. In March 2021, the Aqua di Venus product line was expanded through the addition of an intensely aromatic white wine with a bold and enticing personality that encapsulates the soul of the Maremma coast in southern Tuscany.
Another new label originating from the expertise gained on the Poderi Ducali estates in Veneto is Prosecco Rosé Doc, an easy-drinking and forthright spumante produced from Glera and Pinot Nero grapes using the Charmat method, characterized by fine bubbles and fruity aromas.
One of Ruffino’s aims is to shape its top red wines as the highest expression of Tuscany and the company’s history through defining a specific product line.
Ruffino is looking to the future with optimism, aware that opportunities and threats go hand in hand.
The company closes the financial year with 20% less revenue compared with the previous year, ending the year with a turnover of approximately 106 million euro. This result was primarily caused by the slump in the HORECA channels. The EBITDA equalled 16% of the revenue.
The situation remains complicated as a return to normality isn’t near and all this is combined with the effects of climate change, which present new challenges every year.
It’s equally true, however, that the pandemic has also created opportunities. In Japanese, the word “crisis” contains ideograms that represent both danger and opportunity.
Ruffino believes that there is a craving to return to normality, even more involved and enjoyed, and that the HORECA channel will go back to having the same role as it did before – and perhaps even more so.
New forms of socializing will emerge, which will place greater emphasis on wine tourism, smaller group sizes and visits to our estates, which provide safe and beautiful surroundings.
Ruffino, even in these two years of darkness, has continued to invest: in the vineyards, cellars (the biggest investments have gone into expanding the production capacity of La Duchessa, our estate in the Veneto), wines and, most importantly, people, the key asset with which to develop our sustainable future.
Ruffino, founded in 1877 in Pontassieve, near Florence, is synonymous of the history of wine in Tuscany. Great Tuscan classics, wines like Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale, Riserva Ducale Oro, Chianti Ruffino and Brunello di Montalcino Greppone Mazzi, have always been at the heart of Ruffino’s production. At the same time, the willingness to take on new challenges has resulted in the creation of striking Supertuscans, including the award-winning Modus, and the launch of innovative and young wines like the Aqua di Venus range. At the end of 2011, Ruffino was acquired by Constellation Brands, the #1 wine company in the United States, marking an exciting new chapter in Ruffino’s history. A focus on sustainability plays a central role in the company strategy. With the acquisition of two Veneto estates for the production of Prosecco in 2018, Ruffino embarked on an organic transition, which will see all the company’s vineyard become organically managed within a few years. Today, Ruffino is firmly rooted in Tuscany, while always embracing the complex challenges of the global market. Distributed in almost 90 countries worldwide, Ruffino wines are proud ambassadors of Italian lifestyle and good taste.