The famous Italian noble family in Tuscany has been dedicated to wine growing for 26 generations. The family is one of the largest and most important wine producers and trading houses in Italy. Its founder was Giovanni di Piero Antinori in 1385, during whose lifetime the rise of the Medici family in Florence also counts. At that time the city had gone through a long period of warlike turmoil and several waves of plague. Wine production, together with the silk trade and international banking, formed the third pillar of the family activities. In 1506 Niccolò di Tommaso Antinori acquired the Renaissance palace built in 1469 in Piazza degli Antinori. Subsequently, vineyards and small estates were acquired in Tuscany.
In 1898, the two brothers Piero and Ludovico Antinori, together with their brother-in-law Guglielmo Guerrini, founded the present company Marchesi Antinori, originally under the name of Marchesi L&P Antinori, with the aim of "creating a little order among the various wine-growing activities established since the 14th century by the previous generations of Antinori". During a trip to in 1905, Lucien Charlemagne (one of the Chefs de Caves) was engaged to create the house's first sparkling wine according to the Méthode traditionnelle. The next milestone was the Chianti "Villa Antinori" in 1928, which was vinified in a style that was new to Tuscany at the time and which would last for many years.
Niccolò Antinori laid the foundations for the highest quality with premium Chianti and Orvieto wines and successfully expanded the company despite the turmoil of the Second World War (1939-1945). In 1966 his son Marchese Piero Antinori (*1938) took over the management. He is considered the leading figure of the oenological revolution in Italy, also in connection with the so-called Super-Tuscans, who had a significant influence on the quality of Italian wines. Among many other innovations, he was one of the first to experiment with barrique ageing. In 1961, he hired the young oenologist Giacomo Tachis (1933-2016), who had already achieved legendary fame during his lifetime. Among other things, he was the initiator of the use of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety in the Chianti region. He was succeeded in 1993 by Renzo Cotarella.
In 1966 a great misfortune occurred due to continuous torrential rainfall. The overflowing waters of the Arno River poured into the Antinori wine cellars. A considerable amount of wine was also destroyed. This was the reason to completely renew the house. The famous French oenologist Émile Peynaud (1912-2004) was hired as a consultant, who introduced, among other things, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. In 1971, the later famous Tignanello was created following the example of the Sassicaia produced by Piero's uncle Nicolò Incisa. The two wines are considered the beginning of the Super Tuscan era.
The three daughters Albiera, Allegra and Alessia follow the family tradition and are active in various functions. They have taken over the operative business from their father. The company now comprises 16 wineries in Italy and 7 abroad. These are wineries and cellars in Puglia, Piedmont, Tuscany and Umbria as well as in California. The total area under vines covers almost 3,000 hectares, of which 2,200 are in Italy. However, the total ownership is much larger. On some estates, olive oil is also produced in addition to wine. The property also includes the restaurants "Cantinetta Antinori" in Florence, Zurich, Vienna, Moscow and Montecarlo as well as "Procacci" in Florence. The Antinori company is a member of the renowned PFV (Primum Familiae Vini) association of family wineries.
The winery Tenuta Tignanello was bought in the middle of the 19th century by a collateral line of the famous Medici family and is located in the heart of Chianti-Classico, 30 kilometres south of Florence. The two top sites are called Tignanello (57 hectares in open south-east position) and Solaia (20 hectares adjacent to it). The headquarters of "Bottega Cantina Antinori" in Bargino, on the highway from Florence to Siena, completed in 2012, is considered a landmark of the region. In the cellar in Bargino the "Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva", the "Chianti Classico Peppoli", and the "Vin Santo del Chianti Classico" are being built.
Five kilometres north of Tignanello is the Tenuta di Pèppoli, acquired in 1985 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Antinori family. The vineyards cover 50 hectares, mainly planted with Sangiovese and small quantities of Syrah, Merlot and Malvasia Bianca Lunga. Olive oil is also produced here. The third mainstay of Chianti Classico is the Badia a Passignano estate, three kilometres south of Tignanello. It was here in 1049 that Saint Giovanni Gualberto founded the Vallombrosan Order, a reformed branch of the Benedictines who specialized in viticulture and forestry. A fossil Vitis vinifera was found here in 1983. Of the 223 hectares, 65 are used for viticulture and are mainly planted with Sangiovese. The "Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Badia a Passignano" is produced here.
The Guado al Tasso estate (Badger's Ford) is located near Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast and covers 320 hectares of vineyards. It produces the red wine named after the estate (a cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and sometimes a small percentage of Petit Verdot. The "Scalabrone" rosé and the "Vermentino" white wine are also produced. In the immediate vicinity is the estate Ornellaiawhich used to belong to Lodovico Antinori (younger brother of Piero Antinori). Not far away is the Biserno estate, the first joint project of the Antinori brothers, under the direction of Lodovico.
In lies the winery La Braccesca, acquired in 1990. The vineyards cover 340 hectares. Among other things, a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the Rosso di Montepulciano "Sabazio", and the two Syrah "Achelo" and "Bramasole" are produced here. Close to Cortona is the Santa Cristina estate, where wines under this brand are produced. In Montalcino is the Pian delle Vigne winery, acquired in 1995 and named after a railway station, with a Brunello di Montalcino and the Riserva "Vignaferrovia". At the very south of Tuscany, in the Maremma, there is the Fattoria Aldobrandesca near Sovana and the Le Mortelle winery.
The estate Castello della Sala, named after the medieval castle near the historic town of Orvieto in Umbria, was purchased in 1940. The extensive vineyards, covering 160 hectares, produce Procanico, Grechetto, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Pinot Bianco(Pinot Blanc), Viognier, Traminer, Riesling and Pinot Nero(Pinot Noir). The white wine "Cervaro della Sala" is produced here. Other wineries are Prunotto (Piedmont), Tormaresca with its two cellars Tenuta Bocca di Lupo and Masseria Maìme (Puglia) and Montenisa with a sparkling wine Franciacorta (Lombardy).
Antinori's foreign holdings are the Haras de Pirque (Chile) and Antica (Napa Valley in California) wineries. There are joint ventures with the wineries Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (Napa Valley), Col Solare (Washington), Tuzko (Hungary), Meridiana (Malta) and Vitis Metamorfosis (Romania).