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Carpenè Malvolti - Made in Italy

You write Prosecco, you read Made in Italy: a toast to Carpenè Malvolti

No doubt you have had a glass of prosecco. But perhaps you do not know that the first wine in the world to bear the word ‘Prosecco’ on its label was made by Carpenè Malvolti, a company founded in 1868 by Antonio Carpenè and his friend Angelo Malvolti.

reading time5 minutes

The holiday season is over, but the opportunities for toasting never end! So, Prosecco or Franciacorta for your next toast, whatever you want to celebrate? This question allows us to tell another strictly Made in Italy story: that of the legendary Carpenè Malvolti, the first wine in the world to bear the words ‘Prosecco’ on its label, the result of the fraternal friendship between the visionary scientist Antonio Carpenè and the entrepreneur Angelo Malvolti.

A visionary scientist

It all began when Antonio Carpenè, an internationally renowned researcher, scientist, chemist and oenologist born in Brugnera (PD) in 1838, realised that the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (UNESCO heritage site from 2019) until then cultivated with corn, would be perfect for the Glera grape variety.

Antonio then convinced the farmers to plant vines, teaching them the most innovative cultivation techniques. Financially supported by his friend Angelo Malvolti, who believed in him and co-financed the project, Carpenè decided to make sparkling wines from the grapes of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. A scientist with a positivist spirit and in contact with the great scientists of the time, such as Louis Pasteur, he studied, published essays, and eventually patented an original method for making sparkling wines.

An internationally oriented company

In 1868 (a good 155 years ago!), he founded the Società Enologica Provinciale, which later became the Carpenè Malvolti winery, and as early as 1880, began producing sparkling wines using the Champenois Method.

When Angelo Malvolti left the company a few years later, Antonio Carpenè, grateful to his friend for financing him, kept the brand with the double surname. In 1876, with Antonio Cerletti, he set up the first school of oenology in Italy, still one of the most prestigious institutes in Europe. The first Italian champagne was produced in 1880.

The international calling of the company and its product soon became apparent, and the first exports to Germany date back towards the end of the 19th century. The new market soon proved very promising, so much so that in 1888, Antonio opened a new site in Munich and developed a thermal inactivation system to avoid the re-fermentation process, often occurring during transport, a practice later adopted by all Italian sparkling wine producers.

In 1902, however, his son Etile decided to close the Munich site to expand the capacity of the Conegliano plant. It was not until 1924, however, that the word Prosecco appeared on the label, and it was only in the 1990s that the company focused its commercial policies on exports again. Today, 55% of production is for the foreign market, consisting of more than fifty countries worldwide, with Canada, Switzerland, the United States, England and Japan as the top markets.

Wine or spumante? Either way a great success

Carpenè Malvolti Spa is thus today Italy’s oldest family-run sparkling wine producer, with the fifth generation of the Carpenè family at the helm.

«Il Prosecco ha un nome piacevole e facile. Si tratta di un prodotto non eccessivamente alcolico, si abbina bene a un po’ tutte le pietanze e viene offerto a un prezzo molto conveniente. Forse anche troppo! Inoltre, non è mai stato vissuto come uno spumante ma piuttosto come un vino. Diciamo che ha assunto l’immagine del buon vino italiano».

This is how Etile Carpenè Jr tells Civiltà del bere about the success of this wine.

Etile is now Carpenè Malvolti’s president and runs the company with his daughter Rosanna. The company’s headquarters is still in Conegliano, and with dozens of employees, it had a turnover of over fifteen million euros in 2022, producing almost six million bottles of Prosecco.

Congratulations to those who bring quality Made in Italy Prosecco to the world!

Discover Veneto’s other outstanding companies.