Time-honored Martini Asti traditions yield sustainable business practices for centuries to come

December 7, 2010

Santo Stefano Belbo, Italy, December 7, 2010 – MARTINI Asti, the world’s favorite Italian sparkling wine, sustains a nearly 150-year-old business through innovation and a passion for keeping Italian traditions alive.

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On the steep hills in the heart of the Asti region of Northwest Italy, 400 family vineyards grow the distinctly sweet moscato grapes – the only grape selected for MARTINI Asti-Italian Sparkling Wine. The moscato grape, which has the honor of being known as the oldest domesticated grape variety, is floral and fruitful, providing the delicious fresh taste of MARTINI Asti.

All moscato grapes for MARTINI are handpicked, as they have been for generations. The steep hillsides are a difficult place to grow vines. However, the unique climate is perfect for cultivating the sweet moscato grapes.

Commitment to sustainability

To ensure this time-honored Italian tradition of family vineyards growing grapes continues, MARTINI established a center in 1987 dedicated to sustainable business practices called L’Osservatorio (Martini & Rossi Observatory) next to the vineyards to assist all grape growers in the area. The L’Osservatorio has pioneered many sustainability practices in the region. The L’Osservatorio is lead by Professor Edoardo Monticelli, associate to Institute of Vegetal Virology at the University of Turin (Università degli Studi di Torino, or often abbreviated to UNITO). Dr. Monticelli is an expert with a specialty in viticulture – the cultivation of vineyards. L’Osservatorio hosts regular meetings for growers on sustainability, natural ways to manage pests, the weather, climate and other insights about upcoming harvests and pioneered an in-depth study on the more than 300 soil types in the region and started the concept of integrated viticulture – looking at the balance of what is grown in the microclimates of the Asti region.

“Every vineyard is different and every year is different. One may need help with the weather, another with the soil. We work to help them produce the best quality grapes and sustain the Italian and MARTINI heritages of fine winemaking,” said Dr. Monticelli.

The professor is keen about respecting the beautiful Italian countryside and the tradition of great winemaking by using as many natural techniques as possible. He developed the practice and installs custom bird houses in the vineyards for the families to attract indigenous birds of the Blue Tit, Great Tit, Redstart, Serin, Green Finch, Spotted Flycatcher, Hoopoe, Sparrow, Tree Sparrow and Gold Finch families to nest and eat insects which could challenge the vines. Since this program began in 1998, farmers have noticed increased numbers of birds living in the vineyards.

He also works with growers on experimental vineyards, to cultivate 100-year-old vines on very steep hills. Without proper cultivation techniques, the vineyards could die out due to the challenging terrain and age of the vines. Professor Monticelli believes that reviving these old strains could bring heartier, more resistant vines in today’s environment as their top quality grapes create an exceptional quality sparkling wine for the consumer. MARTINI Asti has continuously been awarded the highest quality rating given by the Italian government, the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).

Just picked moscato grapes for MARTINI Asti are carefully selected and go directly to processing close by in Santo Stephano Belbo to ensure its fresh aromatic taste. Innovation doesn’t stop in the vineyards. The Martini company, with its nearly 150-year history of being one of the world’s leading wine and vermouth producers, always works for sustainability.

Environmental Efficiencies

Since January, nearly all of the energy consumed at the facility comes from renewable sources such as water. This use of hydro electrical energy has lead to a 50 percent cut in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the past ten months alone. MARTINI also started a water savings program which has led to a 4.3 percent reduction in water usage over the past year.

In addition, nearly 100 percent of materials left-over from the production process are recycled – including packaging, glass, wood, plastic, steel and even the grape skins. Some of the grape skins are distilled into grappa, while others are burned for energy use.

“We are really proud to be the world’s leading Asti Spumante. We are committed to quality while at the same time are protecting the environment – two areas we are striving for simultaneously. But the most important thing is passion, as we say here in Italy, Gioia di Vivere – the joy of living,” said Giorgio Castagnotti, operations director at Martini & Rossi Italy.

That Italian “joy of living,” comes to life when a cork is popped off MARTINI Asti. Perfect alone, or in cocktails like Bellinis and Mimosas. And while holiday time draws most consumers, more and more are discovering MARTINI Asti for every day celebrations, enjoying the fresh, fruitful and floral taste in a light sparkling wine to experience the Italian lifestyle.

The Martini & Rossi group, including MARTINI vermouths, Asti, Prosecco, sparkling Rosé and other wine-based products, was acquired into the Bacardi Limited portfolio in 1992.

One of the most iconic brands in the world, MARTINI is the leading name in Italian winemaking and a purveyor of the highest quality wines, with MARTINI Asti, the number one-selling imported sparkling wine in the United States, and MARTINI vermouth, the number one-selling vermouth brand in the world. Since its founding in 1863, the Martini company has fostered a pioneering spirit to develop unique products that represent the very best in Italian quality and style. For additional information on MARTINI, please visit www.martini.com. For information on L’Osservatorio, visit www.martinierossi-observatory.com or www.osservatorio-martinierossi.it.

About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited is the largest privately held spirits company in the world and produces and markets a variety of internationally-recognized spirits and wines. The Bacardi Limited brand portfolio consists of more than 200 brands and labels, including some of the world’s favorite and best-known products: BACARDI® rum, the world’s favorite premium rum and world’s most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world-leader in super premium vodka; DEWAR’S® Scotch whisky, the top-selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world; MARTINI® vermouth, the world-leader in vermouth; CAZADORES® blue agave tequila, the top selling premium tequila in the world; and other leading brands. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. bacardilimited.epam-dev.bacardistaging.com

Media Contacts:
Amy Federman, for Bacardi, afederman@bacardi.com, 441-294-1110
Patricia M. Neal, for Bacardi, 441-294-1110