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Ornellaia’s winemaker Olga Fusari resigns

Not long after estate director Axel Heinz shocked the wine world by announcing his intention to return to his winemaking roots in Bordeaux, Ornellaia’s winemaker, Olga Fusari has announced that she is also to leave in October, shutting the door on an incredibly successful era for the Bolgheri estate.

‘To be part of the winemaking team of Ornellaia for so many years has been a privilege and career-defining. I would like to thank [CEO] Giovanni Geddes and the Frescobaldi family for their trust in my work and to the great collaboration I’ve always received from all my colleagues. After 18 years, it is time to change and move on to new challenges,’ commented Fusari.

Both Heinz and Fusari joined Ornellaia in 2005, with Fusari graduating to head enologist in 2016. Under their tenure, the estate’s wines seem to have gone from strength to strength; as if to underline this point, the famous SuperTuscan was judged to be Decanter’s Wine of the Year 2022 (red), with its 2012 vintage garnering a 99-point average score from the panel of three expert judges, who tasted it blind against some very worthy peers.

Despite leaving Ornellaia, Fusari’s future remains in Bolgheri: she has been lured to a new project by Ruffino Estates, which is owned by Constellation Brands. In March, Constellation Brands announced the acquisition of four hectares of vineyard in Bolgherese and 11 hectares in Sondraie, with ambitious plans to build a cutting-edge winery and hospitality centre. The first vintage made from the new estate will be this year, likely to be released in 2025.

A recent Ruffino Estates press release stated: ‘Ruffino is embarking on a momentous transformation to stand as a beacon of creative bravura, Italian savoir faire, pioneering innovation and uncompromising quality that will elevate Ruffino and secure it as a cultural icon for generations to come. The transformation encompasses every aspect of the brand, from the vineyards and wineries, to marketing and hospitality, to a multi-year brand separation journey to establish Ruffino Estates as the ultimate Tuscan fine wine house.’

This statement leaves no doubt that Ruffino Estates has embarked on a very ambitious, no-expense-spared project – and to achieve this, they have sought a winemaker with experience making wine at the highest level in Bolgheri.

Who will be appointed as Ornellaia’s new winemaker?

Gaia Cinnirella

Gaia has to be a frontrunning consideration for Ornellaia. With experience working at Allegrini, Tenuta San Guido, Istine and Biondi-Santi, she joined Ornellaia’s sister estate, Masseto, in 2021 as winemaker and cellar master.

Antonio Mori

Currently a freelance consultant, Mori spent 10 years as winemaker at Fresobaldi’s Tenute di Castelgiocondo and Luce della Vite. Given this link (Frescobaldi own Ornellaia), could he return to the group?

Davide Bozzon

Bozzon is the current winemaker at Tenute di Castelgiocondo and Luce della Vite, where he has been since 2019. Before this, he interned at Dalle Valle in Oakville, Napa (which collaborated with Ornellaia on the DVO project) and briefly worked as a cellar hand at Masseto.

Interested in tasting Ornellaia vintages all the way back to 1990?

Sign up to our Ornellaia masterclass on Saturday 11 November 2023, featuring eight vintages of the estate’s flagship superTuscan from 1990 to 2020, plus two vintages of the rare Ornellaia Bianco.

Tickets available now

The post Ornellaia’s winemaker Olga Fusari resigns appeared first on Decanter.

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