A stunning family manor. No words can better describe Tenuta degli Angeli, situated in the province of Bergamo, in the Calepio valley, crossed by river Oglio as it slowly flows to meet the Po river in the namesake plain.
The valley is still permeated with the fascination of a life that respects the pace of nature and the slow changing of the seasons, which have let mankind write its history.
What makes Tenuta degli Angeli truly unique besides an award-winning wine production is the Acetaia, the firm’s vinegar cellar as well as its pride and joy. A project launched by Pierangelo Testa, the passionate son of the inventor of glass-lined concrete barrels, which remarkably changed wine-making processes and improved their quality.
Pierangelo discovered the charm of vinegar cellars at a trade show, as he listened to the captivating tales of a friend from Modena who produced barrels for balsamic vinegar.
In the early ‘70s, to celebrate his children’s births, Pierangelo dedicated a barrel battery to each, intending to bequeath them his barrels as per tradition.
Roberta, who is now running her father’s business together with her mother and siblings, takes us into their intriguing world.
Roberta, your manor produces the Balsamo degli Angeli, a real premium elixir.
Our Acetaia has remarkably grown. It is traditionally located in the loft of an ancient Lombard dwelling that my family has renovated, where tastings, conferences, and various tourist visits take place. We have passionately pursued our father’s project, which has engaged and captivated us to the point of becoming a key asset to our business.
Why is your Acetaia in the company’s loft?
Vinegar needs calm and quiet. It needs to mature in a ventilated space exposed to the seasonal temperature changes that are frequent in our area. From the must of aromatic grapes, boiled in a cooking vat over an open fire, we make our Balsamo degli Angeli, an acclaimed sweet and sour sauce.
How is a vinegar cellar built?
Its most unique feature is the battery, consisting of small barrels of decreasing volume made from mulberry, locust tree, chestnut, durmast and ash wood, which are grouped in series and used for maturation and ageing. These wood barrels are the place where our must transforms into vinegar through extremely complex fermentation and oxidation natural processes.
A family tradition, first intended as a legacy and then turned into a business. Could you tell us about your family company’s history?
In the late ‘40s, my grandfather patented “La Monolitica”, a glass-lined concrete barrel that significantly changed wine-making processes. Such new tanks allowed for improved stability during the wine maturation and aging stages. A real innovation in the wine-making industry.
His business kept growing until the ‘80s, and his products were exported to France, Argentina, Switzerland, and more.
Next, my father carried it on. He built our Acetaia, and in 1984, he opened the winery, too. Unfortunately, he left us before having a chance to see his dream come true.
After our father’s passing, my mother has been the real heart of our business. She has pursued what they had started together in the ‘80s, transforming the barrel business into the production of concrete décor pieces and architraves for the construction industry.
Meanwhile, she has kept on running the winery and working on the vinegar cellar project.
She has involved us in all activities, giving each of us a precise role and responsibility.
I take care of the Acetaia.
We can definitely call it an excellent family-run business.
Yes, and we are also a company where women entrepreneurs have been able to make a difference. Our firm is headed by women. In 2019, Italian national broadcaster RAI even selected us for a TV show on female entrepreneurship!
Your claim is “Taste of History”. Why did you choose it?
To us, it is all about conveying the value of tradition, about explaining that our Balsamo degli Angeli has precise maturation times that need to be respected. The boiled must is processed into vinegar in time, and lives its transformation process by bringing along a history that is responsible for its quality.
Just like our family and business history, where tradition blends with innovation and the ability to introduce changes to keep up with the times, while never losing sight of our past, with its deep culture and roots.
This is why we chose “Taste of History” as a claim for our Balsamo degli Angeli.