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The first cellar dates back to 1883 and was built at Soave, a medieval town south-east of Verona, by Abele Bolla, proprietor of the renowned inn, "Al Gambero", famous everywhere for offering the finest wines from the area. Aware of the high quality of his wines Abele decided to market the wine "Soave" that his guests appreciated so highly and transformed his passion for vine-growing into a real business: the first Bolla Cellar was established in Soave in 1883. The company obtained its first official recognition in 1909 when Bolla obtained the gold medal (which would be followed by many more) for quality wines at the Bologna fair.
As the century advanced, the time came for Abele's grandchildren, Sergio and Giorgio, to join their fathers in the front line. The Bolla name soon became renowned across the ocean too. In 1946 Ercole Sozzi, proprietor of the "Fontana Hollywood", one of New York's most famous restaurants, visited the Bolla cellars and made a large order (200 cases of Bardolino, vintage 1943) which accelerated the introduction of Bolla wines into the American market in 1947. In 13 April 1953, on the occasion of Alberto Bolla's eightieth birthday, his family organized a special party at the Hotel Cavalieri in Milan: children and grandchildren surprised their grandfather by bottling his preferred wine with a special label: Amarone Bolla Riserva del Nonno, vintage 1950. Amarone's great fortune sprang right from this propitious idea as the Bolla brothers were the first to market this wine. In the meantime the number of admirers of Bolla wines continued to grow. In 1959 Frank Sinatra refused to take a seat at table without Soave Bolla.
"Pride of the past, passion for the future": this was the Bolla family's motto and well sums up its respect for tradition and the drive towards innovation, indispensable requirements for maintaining quality over time, in line with consumers' demands. In the meantime, the cinema world contributed to the success of Bolla wines. In 1967, the BrownâForman Corporation (a multinational business based in Kentucky, owner of brands such as Jack Daniel's, Tuaca etc.) became the importer for the United States and bought 40% of the brand four years later.
In April 1996, the Bolla Quality System received UNI EN ISO 29002 Certification from the prestigious Norwegian firm Det Norske Veritas (and in 2001 the Agribusiness Supply Chain Traceability Certificate). Bolla was one of the first Italian Cellars to obtain this recognition. It expansion abroad was gradually reinforced with the passage of the years as it received important official awards. In 1997, Rudolph W. Giuliani, mayor of New York, organized an event to celebrate 50 years of the presence of the Bolla brand in the United States market. In 2000 Cantina Bolla was taken over completely by BrownâForman which became the sole owner.
At the end of 2006, Gruppo Italiano Vini bought the Pedemonte cellar, continued the production of Bolla wines and became the distributor for the Italian market. In 2009 GIV purchased 100% of the brand from BrownâForman while Banfi Vintners, belonging to the Mariani family, became the exclusive partner for the US market. Taking over this precious legacy, Gruppo Italiano Vini conserves the original values and philosophy and has made itself the interpreter of concepts such as quality and excellence which make Bolla a cellar with a great present and a great soul.