For over 120 years

A history of tradition and courageous vision for the future

The history of Coppo winery is inextricably wound with the wine history of Piedmont. It is closely linked to the development of the city of Canelli, known as the capital of Italian sparkling wine and one of Italy’s most important viticultural centers today.

Coppo’s history is one of tradition and courageous vision for the future, of sacrifice and innovation. It is a story of the unconditional love that Coppo has for their vines’ origins, for varieties that have always been cultivated in Piedmont, and for old family traditions.

The origins of the winery date back to 1892. For over 120 years, the family has remained the sole owner. Since the very beginning, the Coppo family has managed estate vineyards and bottled their own wine under the name of Coppo, making it one of the oldest family-run wineries in all of Italy.

In fact, in 2012, Unioncamere added the winery to the national register of historical businesses, highlighting its uninterrupted activity for over a century in the commodity market.

The beginning quality without compromise

Piero Coppo was the head of the family and founder of the core that became today’s modern winery. He was known for his finely-tuned palate and infallible nose. Above all, he was known for his strong sense of ethics with which he managed all his activities. He strived for perfection down to the last detail, personally checking on all phases of work, from the vineyards to pressing, and from the winemaking to bottling and aging in a near-obsessive search for absolute quality without compromise.

At the time, Canelli was an important market for Piedmontese grapes, and a fundamental juncture for vine growers and winemakers. It was in this city in the 1800s that Coppo made the first Italian spumante with secondary bottle fermentation. This method is the same used to make Champagne; thus, the wine was called Moscato Champagne. Coppo’s intuitive move was destined to change Italian wine history and cast the city of Canelli in a role of noteable importance as it proved itself worthy of developing an international wine industry at the forefront of change.

In Canelli in 1913, Piero married Clelia Pennone, the heir to the Pio Pennone winery, a “leading and renown” producer and exporter of wines that had already been active for two generations. Thus the Pennone winery was added to Coppo in the center of Canelli between Via Giuliani and Via Alba, and today comprises the central seat of the winery.

In this very winery at the end of the 18th century, the galleries and corridors known today as the Underground Cathedrals were excavated from the tuff stone under the earth. Because of their historical value and unique, architectural beauty, these underground cellars have been recognized as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Passing through the underground cellars, one may walk underneath the entire length of the hill, finally reaching the point where the spumanti rest on their lees. Here, at the end of the long lines of bottles, pass through an ancient wood and cast iron door to emerge directly on the other side in the garden of the magnificent art nouvea villa that Piero bought the same year he was married.

The 20th century an international market

At the beginning of the 20th century, the winery’s production ranged from sparkling wines to classic Piedmontese reds, among which Barbera stood out. Coppo also produces Vermouth, an aromatized wine (often Moscato di Canelli) that became fashionable in the 19th and 20th centuries. Vermouth is one of the world’s most popular cocktail ingredients, and it definitively contributed to the wealth and fortune of Canelli.

Wine production in the first decades of the 20th century was profuse and frenzied. Wine and sparkling wine sold fast in Italy and around the world, leaving the wineries on carts pulled by oxen and encased in 200-liter, oval Bordeaux barrels. Wine was exported mostly in South America and to the United States, where it was sold in bulk and in demijohns.

The second generation never give in to adversity

In 1948, Canelli was hit with two floods that destroyed the town’s lower section, which was built near the Belbo river bed. Coppo winery was not spared, and suffered extensive damage.

The family decided to move the entirety of their wine production to Via Alba, next to the hill and to the cellars already excavated underground. In these years, Piero Coppo’s son Luigi entered the family business, shouldering the responsibility of facing those difficult and trying times.

Because of his tenacity and determination, the wineries were not only restored, but were modernized, adopting innovative technology. For example, Coppo was one of the first wineries to use a ventilated tunnel to dry large numbers of labels at one time.

Because of Luigi’s passion for great French wines, between the ‘60s and ‘70s the winery began to import the wines of Burgundy and Champagne.

“Man is not made for defeat”

Ernest Hemingway –

The third generation the enthusiasm for change

Between the ‘70s and ‘80s, Luigi’s four sons Piero, Gianni, Paolo, and Roberto entered the family business, heralding a turning point for the winery all the while keeping it in the family. Inspired by the great French wines their father imported, the four brothers introduced their personal style in the production of Metodo Classico sparkling wines and Chardonnay, aspiring to create white wines that were capable of complexity and longevity.

Thus the first experimentations of using small, French oak barrels began. Alcoholic fermentation and aging are both carried out on the noble lees of Chardonnay and Pinot Nero. Beginning in 1984, these two grapes were blended for a cuvée as the base of sparkling wines Riserva Coppo and Piero Coppo, this last a special riserva dedicated to the founder. That same year, 100% Chardonnay was vinified as a still wine, becoming one of the winery’s greatest whites with Monteriolo, which has an elegant minerality and almost savoury marine notes. It is a wine capable of aging over 20 years.

Pinot Nero and Chardonnay have been grown in the hills around Canelli since the first half of the 1800s, and their roots find this land favorable. The soil has sedentary marine origins and is mineral-rich, and its compatibility with Pinot Nero and Chardonnay has allowed the four brothers to realize their vision.

The third generation of the Coppo family did not forget the winery’s original calling to produce red wines, especially Barbera. This grape has passed through a difficult era of hard work and poverty. In the past, Barbera’s adaptability and generous productivity caused the variety to become extremely popular and widespread in all of Piedmont. However, winemakers often compromised quality for quantity, stunting the variety’s true potential.

With the ambition to unequivocally demonstrate the elegance of Barbera, its character, and its capacity to age, the Coppo brothers were among the first in the early 1980s to establish a new production philosophy. This involved a stricter and more attentive management of the vineyards, including limiting yield; manual harvest of the grapes in small baskets, picked at the correct ripeness; and the innovative introduction of barriques during maturation. These were the deciding factors in the reacknowledgement of Barbera, and Coppo was at the forefront of this variety’s rebirth.

1984 marked the first harvest that was to become the symbol of the winery, a wine that is a reference point for its kind: the Barbera d’Asti Pomorosso. Later, it was joined with Barbera Camp du Rouss.

The fourth generation beyond the frontier

When Max Coppo and his cousin Luigi entered the family business, they began to focus on a new style of communication using, in particular, the internet.

Globalization and the parallel digital revolution brought about a pivotal transformation for all of society, and the two cousins adapted their communications approach accordingly.

To involve younger generations of wine lovers, Max and Luigi merged the carefree, lighter side of wine to the traditional values of the market.

The two cousins become hospitality managers and host visits to the Underground Cathedrals, a privilege that allows them to convey the company vision to a broader public.

Our symbol

With the goal of representing Coppo winery’s productive philosophy with a symbol, Piero, passionate for fine arts as well as wine, commissioned a wooden sculpture in the 1920s by Bergamo sculptor Giacomo Manzoni, the celebrated artist later known as Manzù.

Manzù scultped a cherub in the act of attempting to capture the effervescence that bubbles from a bottle of sparkling wine. He’s a winged Cupid equipped with a quiver and arrows, the classic, mythic iconography that symbolizes passion and love. The family motto is engraved at his feet: Robur et salus, strength and health.

The symbol on Coppo’s wine bottles is a faithful reproduction of this statue. A century later, the energy and the charm of the cherub is captured in their wines: high quality, born of passion and of the aspiration towards improvement, and above all capable of bestowing a gift worthy of love.

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