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Posted: Monday, January 12 2009. 13:02

Italian World's Oldest Family Run Winery

Barone Ricasoli in Chianti Classico region of Italy is the oldest family run winery in the world, followed by the Tuscan Marchesi Antinori, according to the American magazine Family Business list of the oldest-running businesses that have remained in the hands of the founding family.

Barone Ricasoli, based in Brolio and founded in 1141 tops the list. The Ricasoli barons were given their first land from the Republic of Florence; today their Brolio Estate covers about 3,600 acres. The family's main focus is wine production, although they use 26 acres of the estate to cultivate olives. Francesco Ricasoli, the 32nd Baron of Barone, manages the company.

In the wine making field, Ricasoli (no. 4 overall in the list) is well known for having carried out many experiments which led to the famous formula of the Chianti Classico blend at the heart of the specifications of one of the most important wines of Italy.

Marchesi Antinori, the next in the 2008 list (9th overall) of the Family Magazine was founded in 1385. The Antinori family has been in the wine business since Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Florentine Guild of Vintners more than 600 years ago. Marchese (Count) Piero Antinori and his three daughters, Albiera, Allegra and Alessia, oversee a system of vineyards in Italy, the U.S., Hungary, Malta and Chile. The company has been housed in a Florentine palazzo since 1506.

Barone Ricasoli wines are imported by Mohan Bros., Delhi while the Mumbai-based Sansula has been promoting Antinori in a big way for a decade

In the strictest sense, the honour of being the oldest wine company could be claimed by the Loire Valley-based Château de Goulaine (tied-no. 2 in the List) as it was founded in 1000 AD. It is not clearly recorded when the family started producing wine for commercial purpose. The castle, owned by the Goulaine family, houses a museum and rare butterfly collection. The family hosts functions and sells wine from the castle vineyards.

Codorniu, based in Saint Sadurní d'Anoia in Catalonia, Spain, is the oldest

Spanish wine making company which was founded in 1551 and finds the 19th spot on the list, fourth in the wine producing category. In 1976 King Juan Carlos I declared the Codorníu estate a national historic and artistic monument .

Fonjallaz (18), a Swiss winery founded in 1552 is ahead of two Chilean Estates. Alsace based Hugel et Fils (39) is the only other French winery mentioned in the list.

UK based wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd, founded in 1698 and being run by Simon Berry find a position at no. 66. The family operates out of the same shop where they began three centuries ago.

According to the experts who drew up the list, less than one third of family companies manage to be passed along to a second generation.

The list containing the 100 oldest family run companies is topped by a Japanese Inn founded in 718. As may be expected, maximum number of oldest firms is from this country.

       

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