Pontassieve-based American-owned wine company Ruffino has reacted to the Covid-19 emergency by putting people first.
Personal protective equipment was swiftly provided to employees and collaborators, teleworking introduced among office-based staff, and insurance policies stipulated for all workers in case of hospitalization caused by the virus.
“Most of our production is linked with the countryside. Here nature teaches us that life is a natural cycle that never stops,” commented Sandro Sartor, general manager of Ruffino, during a virtual press conference on May 5. “These have been weeks of intense work in the vineyard, with the reawakening of the plants. Vineyard management has continued nonstop. My thanks go to everyone who ensured this happened through a commitment and passion for the land, which will lead to another exciting harvest later in the year.”
Aqua di Venus, the new rose’ wine from Ruffino
This doesn’t mean that the iconic Tuscan brand has ceased innovation this spring, a trademark of the winery’s activities since its founding in 1877. As a result of market analysis, Ruffino added a rosé wine Aqua di Venus, a Syrah, Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio blend from the Maremma, in southern Tuscany, and embarked on a daring departure from the wine world with Antica Ricetta Vermouth and Amaro, made from Ruffino base wines and Italian botanicals. An original digital launch with influencers is proving successful thanks to the boom in wine home delivery sites and apps during the lockdown.
“Ruffino wines are distributed in more than 90 countries around the world and the global market is feeling—and will continue to feel—the impact of this crisis. Italy, in particular, where wine is mainly sold in Horeca channels is experiencing a real struggle … It will take a long time to recover,” continued Sartor. “Our sales remain strong in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, especially in northern Europe, where wine is regulated by the monopolies and home buying is an established practice. The US and Canadian markets appear to be hanging tough at present. Actually, in this first stage, we’ve benefitted from the increase in home consumption.”
Ruffino is now preparing for the future, providing support to the Italian market as restaurants reopen in accordance with safety standards and looking to the brand’s own hospitality businesses. The Poggio Casciano estate, which opened last year as a country hotel and restaurant in the hills of Florence, closed prior to the lockdown to safeguard staff and guests. Now, plans are underway to resume (and expand) business in total safety. Mid May, Le Tre Rane – A Casa Tua will commence a restaurant home delivery service. In line with Italian legislation, it is hoped that the Locanda Le Tre Rane will reopen in early June, beautified with a rose-entwined pergola over an outdoor terrace for social-distanced lunches, aperitifs and dinners. Also in June, legislation dependent, the country hotel is expected to greet guests again, while the on-site activities will be broadened with the opening of the Bottega de Le Tre Rane, a grocery store purveying the best of Tuscany’s cheeses and cured meats for a picnic on the verdant grounds or to stock up your home larder.
“In these weeks of difficulty and fear, we’ve thought about how lucky we are to live in Italy, where we produce the very best food and wine that’s envied all over the world… These are the values that make Italian products excel worldwide and that have always helped Ruffino to achieve such boundless success,” concluded Sartor.
With this in mind, the beverage company felt compelled to give back to Italy by launching the fundraiser Ruffino Cares – Help us to help Italy. Ruffino pledged 250,000 euro to help the work of medical professionals through the creation of intensive care beds in the Veneto region.