Lorenzo Tomazzoli and Toblino Winery

Stories of men, scents of lives and vines

“The oenologist has only one task, not to spoil the grapes that the winemaker brings you. It has to interpret the season and the variety”.

Lorenzo Tomazzoli has transformed many grapes. Dozens of harvests in as many years of work at the Toblino Winery, founded in 1960 on the intuition and pride of the first winegrowers of the valley, the flagship of organic viticulture in the Valle dei Laghi Biodistrict.

 He is the oenologist of the 630 Valle dei Laghi winemakers who grow grapes on about 830 hectares of land stretching from Arco to Cadine, from Storo to Cavedine, passing through the Bleggio area through the Limarò canyon. Over time, as a result of the evolution of irrigation, he witnessed the transformation of the valley’s orchards into vines back when Chardonnay was still called Burgundy.

Lorenzo Tomazzoli believes that white wine pleases the nose before it does the palate and, therefore, it is drunk more easily and the glass lasts longer, while red wine gives its best in the mouth, and, therefore, it is best enjoyed at mealtime. Among the many national and international awards, Tamazzoli is the recipient of the Three Glasses of Gambero Rosso earned for the transformation of Nosiola grapes into Largiller and L’Ora - Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT - and into Vino Santo trentino Doc, named Italy’s Best Sweet Wine. He created the first red passito wine of Valle dei Laghi, eLimarò, by transforming Rebo, the black grape variety invented in the middle of the last century by the great agronomist of the San Michele all’Adige Agricultural Institute, Rebo Rigotti, who crossed Merlot and Teroldego. Tamazzoli oversaw the varietal conversion from the Schiava grape, which he then recovered with the addition of Lagrein, to Chardonnay and Müller-Thurgau and Nosiola, the symbolic vine of the valley.


Lorenzo Tomazzoli | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

He is the oenologist who respects the varieties, who wants to feel them and recognise them in the glass as the prevailing note, the artist and troublemaker whose best ideas come like a bolt of lightning by recovering memories of the past or traveling around Italy to learn from the experiences of others, whose decisions must be made instantly when the tractor loaded with grapes arrives in the cellar “in real time in the courtyard”, because the grapes cannot wait: select, convey, add yeasts, choose, wait or collect, anticipate or postpone, all with the memory of an elephant and the instinct of a fox.

He is the boy who used to get lost walking in the woods with his dog and then in the gardens with his grandmother or in the small family vineyard, whose middle school teacher said he would never achieve any good result at school, and, as a challenge, with the sacrifice of his metalworker father and housewife mother, eventually graduated with excellent marks in Oenology from the Agricultural Institute of San Michele, defending a thesis on the Cooperative Cellars of Trentino, which at the beginning of the 1900s were in Val di Non (!), before apples were grown there, and who became passionate about markets and the economy and never missed a day of work in the gardens, in the vineyards and in the cellar. Tamazzoli joined the Toblino Winery fresh out of graduation, with his hippie hair and a trial bike, first as a seasonal employee, then as a technical expert, doing everything and anything, from selling to analyses.

He is the one who works for the Winery to achieve “the highest quality”, who has never forgotten and does not forget masters, friends, directors, collaborators and the people who allowed him to live the life he wanted because team work is a serious matter.

He is the kind of oenologist who gets to know all the members of the Winery one by one, because he was born and raised in this valley, the one you meet at international fairs to look in the eye of anyone who tests a new wine even before putting a label on it, the one you meet at tastings and, without fail, at the Winery. He is the one who is preparing to kick off his forty-second harvest.

Toblino Winery, a Trentino experience

The breath of the harvest

“I did 41 harvests and can assure you that at least ten of them I remember as if I had done them yesterday because they were either exceptional or disastrous, but every harvest has its own story, there are so many variables… early, postponed, abundant, scarce harvest, with healthy grapes or with grapes damaged by hail.

Our fear every year is that, just when the grapes are ripening, latent molds emerge. It makes me laugh when in August you start reading in the newspapers that it will be a five-star harvest; this is feel-good news one pleasantly read under the umbrella at the beach. Until the grapes are under the roof of the cellar and, even better, already transformed into wine, we cannot know what the harvest is like”.

At Toblino Winery the harvest lasts two months, a very long harvest, because there are many winegrowers across a truly vast territory, from Arco to Bleggio, from 80 to 700 metres above sea level. There is no rest, we work all day, including Sunday. And every August we prepare ourselves as one would for a birth.

Gynecologists estimate the expected date of delivery, then it is the child who decides when it is time. So it is for the harvest. You estimate a date according to ripening of grapes, heat and rain, but then all it takes is an unexpected event like a hailstorm and you have to decide in real time whether the grapes are really ready or not.

These responsibilities are a little overwhelming at first and, indeed, of all the decisions that an oenologist has to make some may turn out to be wrong, because we are human, but all it takes is one truly right decision to save the year and perhaps even with a bang. That is precisely how Largiller, Vigneti delle Dolomiti PGI, was born; it received the Platinum at the Decanter World Wide Award, perhaps the largest and most influential wine competition in the world, and was born as a trial in 2007, “to test its duration”, from a flash of genius under a storm and three coincidences. It is an important wine, one that makes you “remember the Winery that made it, and what the bottle you drank was like”.

Cantina Toblino esposizione | © Archivio Trentino Mktg
Lorenzo Tomazzoli enologo | © Archivio Trentino Mktg
Cantina Toblino botti | © Archivio Trentino Mktg
Sebastian Sartorelli | © Archivio Trentino Mktg
Largiller | © Archivio Trentino Mktg
Cantina Toblino anfore | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

A wine by accident…

First coincidence - “It happened that in 2007 we brought a lot of wooden casks and barrels fumes to the Cellar, a series of 80- and one of 30-hectolitre barrels, with some of them reserved for white wines, to be mellowed because to mellow the wood you have to let it ferment something”.

Second coincidence - “2007 was a wonderful year, a spectacular harvest, one of the best of the last thirty years, especially for Nosiola. We produced 100 hectoliters of Nosiola, the best I have ever tasted. We had plenty of it.”

Third coincidence - “At the end of the harvest I always take four days off to decompress. In late October 2007 I was invited by a colleague I had met to a wine competition in the Marche region where they make Verdicchio, a very fine, fruity, aromatic, acidic wine, which, despite clear differences, is similar to Nosiola in terms of type. The last winery we visited had a Verdicchio aged 10 years in small concrete tanks… a wonderful thing! While I was driving back home under four hours of storm I started to think. I counted the new barrels, I had an exceptional Nosiola, they have always given me the opportunity to try and experiment at the Cellar. Hence, I proposed to the then general manager Giannantonio Pombeni to put away an 80-hectoliter barrel of Nosiola and to forget about testing its duration. “Forget” so to speak, because I nurtured it, we decanted it, topped it up with fresh lees and did everything that was needed. In 2014, we filled 12 bottles with this Nosiola, which, by now was rounded and creamy after its acidity had softened, and prepared them for Vinitaly, to let customers try it”.

The rest is history.

Hosteria Toblino | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

Hosteria Toblino

Toblino Winery has thousands and thousands of these stories to tell. Stories of the land, of families, of winemakers. Stories to listen to, admire and taste. During visits to the vineyards, in the cellar and also in the Hosteria.

At its store, Toblino Winery boasts a cuisine that is worth the value of its labels. Here you can taste the local products transformed by a young chef, Sebastian Sartorelli, who is now a guarantee in Trentino and thinks outside the box, exactly like the history of this Cooperative and Farm.

A fascinating, bold and ambitious story. To know!

Cantina Toblino esposizione | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

Cantina Toblino

Published on 29/08/2023