Francesca Grossi.
"Mine is the homecoming"

Ever since I was a child, I have kept this world inside me, and always treasured it as something unique and precious. I am referring to Tenuta Villanova, to the odours of the earth, the scents of the countryside and the grapes on harvest days, but also to the voices, gestures, and glances of the people I saw living and working here when I was a child. A feeling that has always accompanied me, wherever I was. Fresh from a law degree after classical studies, I had immersed myself in a completely different world: I thus spent most of my working life in Bologna, in the hushed silences of the notary’s offices, where I matured and grew professionally —yet, imagining a “homecoming”, without knowing exactly how and when. One thing that I certainly carry in my DNA is the “composition of the common good”, a trait that long notary practice has further reinforced in me.
Perhaps the return and the composition are in that drawing that I glimpsed as a child without understanding: now the picture is clear, and within its composition I find, like a precious object, the baton passed to me by the women who came before. Women of wine, “cause it’s never easy to move in a fundamentally masculine world” when not macho. I am pragmatic, a notary does not shout: reflects and evaluates. I untie the knots, I look at the data. As a rule, I go all the way and do not overlook details that others might miss.
Here I am, back at home again.

"The women I am"

My grandmother Ida. Born in 1899, she ran a factory where silkworms were bred but had experienced hard times ever since as a young girl.

Her friends were the “boys of ’99”, those swept away by the Great War, the defeats on the front, the defeat at Caporetto. A generation mowed down by history. Her life was a complex and troubled one, she had to flee to Naples right at the time of the Spanish flu, the plague of the 1920s, the bleak beginning of the 1930s.
Sometimes I say to myself: why does time take us so far?

And then my aunt, whom I am lucky enough to still have beside me. Giuseppina Grossi Bennati was the one who held the reins of Tenuta Villanova for a lifetime, even after the death of her husband Arnaldo. More than 90 years have passed since they acquired the estate in 1932. These 180 hectares of land are still here, half of them planted with vines, chiselling plains and hills like a Gorizian lace. Power of care, gift of attention.
The Strassoldo family had been its tenants since 1499: five centuries of history confirming that here, in these “ancient mansi” straddling the current Collio and Isonzo DOCs, vines have been cultivated since ancient times.
The same Strassoldo, after all, had received the lands “from the hands” of Aquileia, through handwritten documents in Latin. But the mass of written evidence we have in our archives is animated by an undercurrent that winds its way through time and ennobles this terroir: as late as 1836, it was still recommended to “uproot the vines of inferior quality” here on the Tenuta.

"Historical responsibility, and a feminine touch"

Perhaps I am a Renaissance woman: I love that moment in history when human gestures gave a new form to things and nature. I am fascinated by everything that is the result of dedication, care, and passion: I think first and foremost that the management of a historic farm like Tenuta Villanova requires a sense of historical responsibility. Today we aim for craftsmanship that gradually becomes art.
It takes time: to achieve excellence you must work at it and have imagination as well, there are no shortcuts. Assiduity, in this, helps. But if we look back, an analysis of the historical documents preserved here reveals some truly enlightening examples: in 1868, the then owner of the Tenuta Alberto Levi hosted the famous Louis Pasteur, and the scholar, after several stops in Friuli, stated that “the wines of Tenuta Villanova are by no means inferior to the French ones”. Also Dalmasso, who is still considered one of the founding fathers of oenology and modern viticulture, left us his authoritative confirmation: the same verdict.
The rebranding project we have recently initiated shows that the “renaissance” of Tenuta Villanova is already underway, and the facts are proving us right.
I am accompanied in this adventure and challenge by my brother Alberto, who has been a precious memory in the company for many years: he has chosen to entrust me with the strategic guidance, vision, and management of the company and now, with my collaborators, we are working on several levels to devote Tenuta Villanova and this precious terroir all the care they deserve. With an extra “feminine touch”: mine. 

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