Not long without manor 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 spoken that she is moreover 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 unconfined collaboration I’ve unchangingly received from all my colleagues. Without 18 years, it is time to transpiration and move on to new challenges,’ commented Fusari.
Both Heinz and Fusari joined Ornellaia in 2005, with Fusari graduating to throne 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 stereotype score from the panel of three expert judges, who tasted it veiling versus 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 spoken the vanquishment of four hectares of vineyard in Bolgherese and 11 hectares in Sondraie, with would-be plans to build a cutting-edge winery and hospitality centre. The first vintage made from the new manor will be this year, likely to be released in 2025.
A recent Ruffino Estates printing release stated: ‘Ruffino is embarking on a momentous transformation to stand as a steer of creative bravura, Italian savoir faire, pioneering innovation and uncompromising quality that will hoist Ruffino and secure it as a cultural icon for generations to come. The transformation encompasses every speciality of the brand, from the vineyards and wineries, to marketing and hospitality, to a multi-year trademark 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 unzip this, they have sought a winemaker with wits making wine at the highest level in Bolgheri.
Who will be scheduled as Ornellaia’s new winemaker?
Gaia has to be a frontrunning consideration for Ornellaia. With wits working at Allegrini, Tenuta San Guido, Istine and Biondi-Santi, she joined Ornellaia’s sister estate, Masseto, in 2021 as winemaker and cellar master.
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?
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 transiently worked as a cellar hand at Masseto.
Interested in tasting Ornellaia vintages all the way when 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.