Giuliano Bortolomiol did much more than build one of the leading Prosecco wineries in Italy, he played a fundamental role in the future of the world’s most beloved sparkling wine. He founded the Confraternita di Valdobbiadene.
In 1946, in the aftermath of the ravages of World War Two, a small group of local men banded together to protect the future of a centuries-old tradition: making sparkling wine. They founded the Confraternita di Valdobbiadene.
In the steep hills of the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene valley, farmers and agriculturalists were left with little hope or prosperity in the wake of the war. This corner of Northern Italy, in Veneto, saw heavy casualties and destruction as the area fought in the Partigiano movement. Many were unsure of how to move forward and create a new life, most left in search of better opportunities. A few braved the calamities of the unknown and chartered a new path to what would be, 70 years later, one of the world’s most cherished wines.
The Confraternita di Valdobbiadene
The Confraternita di Valdobbiadene (Fraternity of Valdobbiadene) began as the Confraternita del Prosecco (Fraternity of Prosecco) in 1946. Giuliano Bortolomiol was one of the founding members. His passion and dedication to the “heroic viticulture” of the Valdobbiadene area drove him to ensure that traditions would continue into the future. And especially that people could find a prosperous path forward with wine if they chose to stay in the hills that were home.
The Confraternita has three broad aims: increase the technical and scientific development of Prosecco winemaking, increase awareness about the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area, and promote Prosecco wine from the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene valley. Exactly 72 years since its founding, it is safe to say that the work of this brotherhood has catapulted Prosecco into the legions of great wine around the world.
The Mostra dello Spumante
A little under 20 years after founding the Confraternita, Giuliano was once again busy promoting the fizzy delight of sparkling wine. He helped to inaugurate the Mostra dello Spumante (Sparkling Wine Exhibition) in 1963. This exhibition has expanded in aim and name over the years, but has been fundamental in expanding Prosecco’s reach outside of Italy. Can you imagine a cocktail party or wedding without Prosecco in today’s world? What about a family celebration or just even a Thursday night of fun? You can thank the work of dedicated Prosecco makers like Giuliano Bortolomiol for building the pedestal on which Prosecco stands.
Giuliano’s legacy continues to be carried on by his four daughters who run Bortolomiol winery today. Working from the platform their father helped to build, the four women have invested heavily in promoting the role of women in winemaking and conserving the Valdobbiadene’s long history of silk production. They are working in equal measure of their father to ensure the future success of Prosecco by paving a new pathway to sustainable production that does not compromise on luxury.
So, raise a glass to the past, present, and future of bubbly enjoyment!