On the Road with the Grape Guy

Santa Margherita Lunch (Toronto)

30 Mar 2023


(June 2022) ... Learned quite a bitAmber53 at a Santa Margherita lunch back in June. Took my time getting this one out. Santa Margherita doesn't obviously need my help to sell wine, they do quite a job on their own. But when you learn something interesting you like to share it.

First, it is named after the founder's wife: Margherita Lampertico... Her husband, Gaetano Marzotto, was in textiles and decided to purchase 1000 hectares in Veneto. He started humbly, with cereals and cows and dedicated 150 hectares to vines. He also decided to build a glass factory along with a winery - thus integrating his business interests.

He then decided to create his own little village to help house his workers: Villa Nova Santa Margherita. The village did not only create housing, but also schools and theaters. His goal: "to create a special bond with the people to help achieve the projects goals" (or something like that?)

Prosecco production started 70 years ago in 1952 ... Pinot Grigio, which has been built up into the number one imported wine and imported Grigio over $18 - was started in 1961- and has been a game changer for the company.

Since then, Santa Margherita now has 12 estates in six regions, which includes a new acquisition in Oregon, USA- Roco Winery. Their other wineries include three in Tuscany (Chianti Classical and Maremma), two in Lombardy (Lombardy/Franciacorta), one in Lugana, one in Alto Adige, one in Sardinia and one in Sicily. When asked if there was a wish list of next regions, I was told, Umbria and Piedmont are top on that list.

As with many wineries today, Santa Margherita wanted to tout their sustainable initiatives and goals. And in truth, Santa Margherita has many that they are meeting or exceeding: Santa Margherita 1
They have abandoned chemical herbicides and embraced biodiversity. In their vineyards they have installed underground drip irrigation systems and are very focused on colonial selection to improve their wines. They have 2000 square meters of solar panels on their winery and produce 60% of their in-house needs... And their carbon zero initiative has donated to projects in Quebec, Leamington and Niagara - just to name a few on the eastern side of Canada.

Santa Margherita 2All in all, Santa Margherita produces 25.8 million bottles of wine of which 70% get exported

Just two wines were tasted today, the staple Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, a review of which can be found here - (scroll down to Italy). One of the better vintages of this wine I have tasted in many years. And their 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Veneto IGT which I found a little green, but with some dark fruit and smoky notes. The greenness turned into herbaceous on the finish but the acidity was good - the wine was simple, but still drinkable and paired well with my crispy salmon dish, (*** ½) - no small feat for a red wine.

Knowing that Veneto is Northern Italy, Cabernet Sauvignon is probably not the most reliable grape for that environment. The recent podcast with Ponte winery pretty much confirmed that theory: Veneto is best suited for Franc. But good on Santa Margherita for trying and pushing, the envelope.


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