Salvatore Ferragamo II
Carries on His Family Legacy Through Wine with IL Borro Winery & Medieval Resort in Tuscany
By Alona Abbady Martinez
Salvatore Ferragamo II, whose family name is most widely known for luxury Italian leather shoes and purses, proudly carries his grandfather’s legacy of excellence into the realm of fine wines. Ferragamo II runs the family resort and vineyard of IL Borro, a mere 45 minutes south of Tuscany, and explains that his family’s expansion into the world of winemaking came by happenstance.
“IL Borro is a unique story in the sense that my father, my brother and I enjoy hunting birds,” Ferragamo II explained to Robin Jay, Editor-in-Chief of International Opulence. “We actually rented the property [to hunt] for 5-6 years before we purchased it.”
When the opportunity to acquire the land arose, his father, Ferruccio Ferragamo, saw an opportunity.
“My father got the family together and said, ‘I don’t want to purchase a property like this just to go hunting. I think we should turn it into an activity, a viable business activity.’”
A vineyard seemed the logical viable business activity in the rolling hills of Tuscany. There was also an abandoned medieval village, which the family decided to restore.
“It’s beautiful! You get this amazing cultural experience staying in a medieval village. It’s completely authentic and dates back to 1039,” Ferragamo II added, his radiant blue eyes brightening.
The property, which was purchased in 1993, still bore the scars of World War II and required extensive reparation and restoration.
“It took a lot of work, we’re very fortunate to have the artisans in Italy – they are very good at what they do. The restoration was impeccable,” Ferragamo II said.
“The property stretches for about 2,000 acres and according to the different altitude, we have different types of soils and we match the vine according to the soil. We make wines according to the terroir, so they are unique to this place, and this part of the world,” Ferragamo II, who is a certified sommelier, explained.
Every variety is able to find its ideal terroir. Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Chardonnay grapes are grown organically and hand-harvested with extreme care under the guidance of the most experienced oenologists.
“The way I like to describe the bottle is that it’s a completely authentic experience because everything that we farm is done organically,” Ferragamo II stated proudly. In 2012, the vineyard began biodynamic cultivation, a form of alternative farming focusing on using natural fertilizers and organic pesticides for cultivation.
Organic Through and Through
This organic philosophy extends to the property as a whole. “We have a negative carbon footprint property because we produce three times as much solar energy as we consume. We transformed the land to produce excellent extra virgin olive oil and produce honey from our bees, again, all organically: chicken, eggs, vegetables, cattle. It is almost a completely self-sustainable farm. Then there is the cultural element of staying in a medieval village. If you’ve seen the movie Chocolat, it looks very much like that: This little village perched on top of a hill. It is really quite unique.”
A Luxury Resort
As if that weren’t alluring enough, in 2013 IL Borro became part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, an exclusive organization of the world’s finest resorts, hotels, villas and restaurants.
“We have three restaurants, a spa, different activities from horseback riding to mountain bikes to golf to tennis; sightseeing and many others,” Ferragamo II said. “It’s just a beautiful property.”
IL Borro wines are known all over the world and have received numerous rankings and awards from Italian and international wine guides, so it is understandable that Salvatore Ferragamo II would have a hard time picking just one favorite.
“I like the white wine called Lamelle. It’s 100 percent Chardonnay and is a fantastic wine. For the reds, the Pian Di Nova, which is a Syrah and Sangiovese blend.” He pauses for a bit as his mind, ever brimming with ideas, has one final thought: “Of course my absolute favorite would be the IL Borro Toscana, which is our flagship wine. That is Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and Petit Verdot: big wine!”