It was the year 2000 when I visited VinItaly for the first time. One of my themes was Trentino. Randomly, I tasted my way through the hall and got stuck with Lina. Lina, wife of Domenico Pedrini, was presenting the booth of the Trentino winery Az. Agr. Pravis. I was captivated by the wines she presented. Domenico noticed our intense conversation that had been going on for some time, came over, greeted and put a plate of salami, bread , olive oil and cheese in front of me. I had already refused to eat any food during a tasting – any food disturbs me when I try to taste sensory. The scent of the Trentino specialties, the gesture that seemed so natural, the warm nature of the two I found very pleasant at the time. And yes, I could not help myself and gave in to the delicious culinary temptation. An intended flying visit turned into a long afternoon. This visit established my interest in the wines of Trentino.
ITALY (Lasino) – The meeting with Lina and Domenico, which was more coincidence than plan, continues as a friendly relationship to this day. Their two daughters, Giulia and Erika, then still children, have recently taken up their responsibilities at Pravis. Erika refers to a study of oenology in Geisenheim. She graduated at the top of her class with honors. Giulia studied economics and business administration in Trento, as well as oenological technology at the Istituto Agrario di San Michele.
What does the name Pravis mean?
(Giulia): Very close to Lasino there was a plot of land suitable for viticulture, where vines were first planted in 1970. This spot was named Pravis. The founders had agreed on this name for their joint winery.
Who were the founders?
(Erika): Three friends. Mario Zambarda, who initially only wanted to produce wines from the Müller-Thurgau grape, Gianni Chistè and our father Domenico Pedrini. They distributed among themselves the tasks that had to be done. Gianni was responsible for the vineyard and the care of the vines, Domenico for the winery and cellar work and Mario took care of the bottling as well as the administrative and marketing.
Today, the two of you are the second generation in charge. How did you experience the generational change?
(Giulia): The change of generations is one of the most important life cycles of companies. It is mainly about continuity in the organization and in the management. It is important to successfully continue the productivity achieved by the predecessors, but also to open up perspectives for improvement and growth.
(Erika): We appreciate very much that the founding fathers do not leave us alone, that they support us. They are there on a regular basis, giving us advice, correcting our ideas and also exercising a welcome supervisory function. Gianni and Mario’s children are also involved. Both of them, like Giulia and me, were practically born in the winery. Gianni and his sons Alessio (28) and Silvio (20) have studied agricultural science. Together they take care of the vineyards. Alessio and my sister Giulia take care of the administration, as well as the marketing and the wine shop. And for the vinification I am responsible, together with my father.
(Giulia): The transition was easy for all of us. Our fathers always gave us a lot of freedom to make our own decisions. What was important to us as we grew into the tasks was that we were allowed to be happy doing what we were doing.
How is Pravis represented today?
(Erika): Our estate is divided equally between the founders and the second generation. Including the owners, we have nine permanent employees. In addition, we have a number of helpers during the harvesting phase.
(Giulia): We all work in a family atmosphere and according to the motto “all for one – one for all”. We live transparency on a daily basis and observe criteria and dealings with each other for the good of the family and our company. We expect our employees, whom we naturally include in this sphere, to believe in our vision and way of working, to make it their own and thus to support it. We want all of us to feel at home. We also attach great importance to clarity, dialogue-based exchange of opinions, proposals and initiatives that will be useful to the quality in the vineyard, in the cellar and in the whole company.
I have appreciated the wines of Pravis since you were children. It is an estate whose constant evolution I have been able to follow over the years. Both of your contributions have already been felt positively in the last few years. Despite the modernity that you represent without question, you remain faithful to traditional principles and elicit a remarkable variety, fruit and minerality from the vines that grow here. What is the essence of Pravis wines?
(Giulia): I have to elaborate a bit. Trentino is one of the wine-growing areas that, thanks to its geographical position, rich in different climates and mostly stony soils, produces quality wines that are often characterized by particularly pleasant aromas and absolute sensory rigor. The alpine morphology of the Trentino soil reveals vineyards that extend from the mild shores of Lake Garda to the valley floor and the slopes of the Dolomites. It is in this environment, in this habitat, that for years, right at the foot of Castel Madruzzo, the Pravis winery has been located, just outside the town of Lasino in the Valle dei Laghi. Our vineyards, cultivated since the 1970s, on mostly stony, calcareous soils, find ideal conditions here. These sites maintain a unique temperature due to the mountain ranges opening up to Lake Garda on its flanks, valleys and depressions, where there is a mild, windy climate that is ideal for growing our vines.
(Erika): We have about 36 hectares in production. Our vineyards reach altitudes of over 600 meters above sea level, nestled between Lake Garda to the south and the Brenta Dolomites to the north. Between them there is a unique microclimate, accompanied by the Ora, as we call the wind that flows from Lake Garda to the mountains. These conditions are ideal for our native varieties like the Nosiolo. But we also have endangered species in cultivation. These include red varieties such as Negrara or Groppello di Revò, the latter was the predominant variety in Trentino in the 18th and 19th centuries, today a rare vine in cultivation. We also have wine varieties such as Sauvignon, Solaris, Cabernet Cortis and Johanniter and the Pinot Noir in cultivation.
Some of these varieties may have come from the clone and vine breeding of the Freiburg Institute, right?
(Erika): Yes, correct. These varieties, such as Solaris and Cabernet Cortis, can be grown in environmentally sensitive areas, for example next to buildings, in parks or along traffic routes. They do not require treatment with sulfur or copper. Only proper irrigation must be provided. Then these vines only need sun, air, good care and a lot of passion.
(Giulia): Another advantage is that these varieties are also naturally resistant to fungal diseases.
Have you both launched a new line of wines?
(Erika): Yes, first of all a sparkling wine according to the classic method. We call it Blau Dorè, vinified exclusively from grapes of the Pinot Noir variety, white vinified as Blanc de Noir, with an aging process of at least 24 months on the lees. The production volume, 5,000 bottles, is still quite small.
What does the name Blau Dorè mean?
(Giulia): The name is a combination of the German name of Pinot Noir, i.e. Blauburgunder, whose counterpart is called Plant Dorè in France.
(Erika): This variety is well suited for sparkling wines. The grapes come from vines cultivated at over 600 meters above sea level. The parcel is located above the village of Cavedine. The vines grow there on calcareous soils, get a lot of sun, the temperature change from day to night is high, so that a beautiful fruit develops. The wine is vinified white. In the bottle it has a golden color.
The labels of your wines have a special style, the names are special.
(Giulia): We hear that all the time. The graphics on the labels are very eye-catching and also memorable. Our customers like the design. Another special feature is that most of our wines bear the name of the areas or even the name of the smallest plots where the vines are cultivated. For example, the sites Madruzzo, Polin, Cros del Mont or Le Frate. This helps to identify our wines in the market and is also a clear information for our customers.
What is currently your market distribution?
(Giulia): Before Corona we had 20 different types of wine and grappa with a total production of 180,000 bottles. In general, 60 percent of our wines are sold in Italy, with the remaining 40 percent in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia and overseas in America and Japan.
If you were to describe your winery, what would it be?
(Erika): We are a small family business that produces wine, sparkling wine and grappa and has been on the market for years. Even the founding fathers had a vision. Their narrative: site, soil and grape must work in harmony, highlighting their respective special characteristics. Today we continue this vision, using innovative cultivation methods just as our fathers did, but also trying new techniques and also conducting special experiments. All this on the premise of respecting the environment, history and traditions. Of course, our ambition is still to produce high quality products and to make them better known in the markets.
(Giulia): Within the framework of “Made in Italy” or better yet, “Made in Trentino”, the challenges for Erika and me are to continue the efforts and achievements of the founding fathers, with the former masculine management of us now being transformed into feminine management. Still the masculine part supports us, but in the future it will be our sole challenge.
Whenever I visit you, I am amazed by the location and the style of the winery. All the buildings integrate themselves into the beautiful mountain landscape as if it were a matter of course and yet with such charm and architectural skill that newcomers often only discover the estate and are amazed when they are just outside, even though it is visible from afar. Do you feel the same way?
(Erika): Yes, we feel similarly. It starts with the fact that our buildings are simple, functional and built with materials from the immediate environment. No ostentation, no superfluous detail. The stones that surround our buildings are the same that are found all around. For this reason alone, our estate is so difficult to recognize from afar.
(Giulia): I understand if our visitors are impressed by the nature around us. Our estate is located on a slope below the striking Castel Madruzzo. This Castel, the mountain scenery all around are our identity, just as our work and the power of the vines are reflected in the grapes and in our wines. It is not natural to work and live in such a natural, attractive and imposing environment. We are all very grateful for it.
A stay with you feels familiar. Is this intentional, is this a marketing tool?
(Erika): Oh no, not at all. Because we ourselves live a family atmosphere and our families have subordinated everything to this, our visitors feel this atmosphere. Whoever comes to us feels that our welcoming culture comes from the heart.
(Giulia): Our farm, in the middle of the buildings, has enough space for parking. The visitor immediately finds himself in the midst of us. A terrace, light-filled tasting rooms and sanitary facilities are drawn like a residential bungalow that does not flaunt, but charmingly adjoins the production areas.
What does your future look like, what are your wishes?
(Giulia): I wish for all of us, for the whole Trentino, more self-confidence. We don’t have to be reserved at all, but rather more proud, more sensitive to our products and our local specialties.
(Erika): On an ecological level, there are not many areas with such a structure, with mountains, lakes, valleys and a particularly blessed climate. We are urged to raise the inestimable value of the entire region first and foremost, only then comes the company. Because if you only work for one company, it’s like an end in itself. But if you have a broad vision, are willing to work on it, then you absolutely must involve the community and your homeland. Because it is on the people and the history of Trentino that the quality of our company is based.
What a beautiful statement – it was to be expected. You are both children of Lina and Domenico, you think and act like your parents, whose work I have been able to appreciate during the many years of our contact. Thank you for the interview – Tutto il meglio per il futuro!