Big party today at the Franciscan Museum in Montefalco, Umbria, where the 50th anniversary of the Arnaldo Caprai winery became an opportunity for a dialogue on territory, enterprise, green society, culture, tourism and art. All stitched together by the entrepreneurial history of Arnaldo and Marco Caprai, entrepreneurs in the textile and wine sector, who have now been able to attract the likes of Aldo Bonomi (sociologist and founder of Aaster), Massimiliano Giansanti (president of Confagricoltura) and Vittorio Sgarbi to Montefalco. Not even Donatella Tesei, president of the Umbria Region, could miss such an important appointment.
After the greetings of the Mayor of Montefalco, Luigi Titta, the word could only go to Marco Capraiwho recalled how 50 years for a company is a milestone that cannot be taken for granted, "especially for those who, like us, have never stopped at the boundaries of our farm but have always gone beyond, thinking of territory, tourism and development".
To the sociologist Aldo Bonomi the task of analysing 50 years of Arnaldo Caprai but above all the history of a territory: "Max Weber argued that ownership obliges, and we will see how the story of Arnaldo Caprai tells of a man who felt obliged to give back, first and foremost with the business museum of textiles, a European heritage. But the feeling of obligation in modern times changes: it is no longer ownership that obliges, it is innovation that obliges. And this is where the American political scientist Robert Putnam with his theory on civic virtues, another characteristic shared by Arnaldo and Marco Caprai: Putnam observes that social capital carries within itself the meaning of 'civic virtue' by broadening its scope, while it is not possible to say otherwise, because 'a society of very virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily a society rich in social capital'. Civic virtue inscribed within reciprocal social relations finds its fullest development. In this sense, social capital is identified with those cultural requirements, inherent in the structure of relationships, values and norms, that favour a social order characterised by general cooperation for the public good". "Economics does not predict civic engagement but it is civic engagement that predicts the economy and even better than the economy itself," says Putnam. "And this sentence also includes the ihe importance of the farming skeleton that produces land maintenance, which in turn produces beauty and thus tourism and culture. A peasant skeleton masterfully represented by the Arnaldo Caprai winery".
This is the meaning, the legacy of the first 50 years of the Arnaldo Caprai winery, but now there are the next 50 years to face, "where in the centre - concluded Bonomi - certainly there will be an ecological crisis. And this is where civic virtues return again, which are much more present in Umbria than in other regions of Italy and Europe, starting with Lombardy, which here this will hold Saints and Sagrantino, would have to learn".
Massimiliano Giansanti, President of Confagricoltura, focused his speech on the figure of Marco Caprai and his role for the world of wine - but also agricultural and social - locally and nationally: "Marco Caprai - he said - represents the vanguard of production processes for the Italian agricultural world. He is a draughtsman, he is the emblem of awareness, of responsibility, of pride in being a farmer, of pride for one's land".
To celebrate its first 50 years, the winery today officially unveiled a limited edition of Montefalco Sagrantino Docg, with a precious commemorative collector's label in pure gold, signed by artist Paolo Canevari and made by the antique Florentine company Giusto Manenti Battiloro. The gold leaf becoming a label for the 50th anniversary wine is the latest example of how to make territory, culture and tradition interact with winesigned by the international artist covers 2,400 bottles inspired by Benozzo Gozzoli's 'The Mystic Wedding of Saint Catherine of Alexandria', dated 1466 and conserved in Terni, in the 'Aurelio De Felice' Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It was supposed to arrive at the Franciscan Museum in Montefalco for today's event, but bureaucratic difficulties prevented this from happening. "Museums are stingy and always lack perspective," he commented publicly Vittorio Sgarbiwho was also on the panel of speakers at today's event. Instead of the original work, therefore, the innovation mentioned again by Aldo Bonomi came to the rescue, enabling the projection of the work in digital format.
"In his eclectic minimalism, Paolo Canevari has captured our company's bond with the land, as well as the significant parallelism between art and wine, succeeding in synthesising our first fifty years in a label that is to all intents and purposes a work of art - said Marco Caprai - his artist's eye has translated what has always characterised us into something tangible: the constant search for excellence with an eye to the future and feet firmly anchored in our roots".
Cristiana Perrella, art historian and curator, delved into the work of Paolo Canevari, noting its dimension of great openness to contemporary issues but also of historical and cultural rootedness: "Paolo Canevari's works are apparently simple, immediate. Strong images that are the successful synthesis of many references, many thoughts, much history. Which hold together a courtly tone and a popular tone. They are icons, in the sense that they symbolically represent complex meanings, but they do so clearly through a form that is clear to all. The label for Caprai's 50th anniversary Sagrantino made by Canevari is a demonstration of this: its minimal, essential, precious shape, made of gold leaf, refers to the history of art, to the deep cultural roots of a territory that, thanks to these roots, has been able to enhance itself but also renew itself and invent a future for itself".
An excursus on Umbrian and Italian art in general is what the presence on stage of Vittorio Sgarbiwho stated how 'the greatness of Italian art, which is incomparable and immeasurable, comes very close to the greatness of our wine production. The artist's bottle for Caprai's 50th anniversary has succeeded in giving wine art and gold, with a divine metaphor that can only lead us to say," Sgarbi jokingly concluded, "that if God exists, it is because he made truffles and Sagrantino.
Pulling the strings of a morning of dialogue and glances into the future was Donatella Tesei, President of the Umbria Region: "The 50th anniversary of the Arnaldo Caprai winery is an important anniversary not only for the Umbrian agricultural enterprise led by Marco Caprai, but also for the entire region and the Italian wine sector, because if the Montefalco territorial development model is a case history that has been studied even overseas, it is due to the farsightedness of this company in proposing a new way of doing business, to the point of creating around it, over the decades, a thriving economic fabric entirely centred on wine tourism. In the Italy that is restarting, the future of Umbria should be the Model of the villages of our territory'.
The event ended at the Arnaldo Caprai winery, for a festive moment sealed by the dishes of Gianfranco Vissani, who gave the company a new recipe for the occasion: 'Terra di ricerca', a dish dedicated to the 50th anniversary, consisting of a lentil ravioli, Parmigiano Vacche Rosse cheese, black pepper carbonara sauce and 25-year-old Sagrantino nectar.
ARNALDO CAPRAI FARM AT A GLANCE
Few other wineries in Italy and around the world are immediately identified just by mentioning the name of the denomination to which they belong, like Arnaldo Caprai, itself a symbol of Sagrantino di Montefalco. A unique reality, synonymous with Italian excellence, capable of creating wines that are out of the ordinary in terms of depth, elegance and longevity: not only reds, but also whites. The credit for this adventure that began in the late 1970s goes to Marco Caprai, Arnaldo's son. It was he, in fact, more than anyone else who believed in the richness of Sagrantino, reinterpreting it in a modern key, through the most innovative production and business management methods, which have enabled him to win the favour of the public and critics all over the world. Not to be outdone by the whites: Arnaldo Caprai's Grecante, 100% Grechetto, managed to conquer Wine Spectator's Top100.
A great company, Arnaldo Caprai, that guards a green soul, considering issues concerning sustainability, protection and safeguarding the environment as fundamental. The point of observation always remains the same: trying to behave in harmony with natural evolution cycles, preserving and enhancing the territory in which it operates. This is why the company decided to create an Environmental Management System that complies with international regulations, developing a voluntary territorial protocol of environmental, economic and social sustainability of the production process.
It is in this unparalleled context that wines of unforgettable substance are born, complex and elegant, capable of narrating the best of an entire region, Umbria.