Mariano Buglioni - The Accidental Winemaker

In 1993, Alfredo Buglioni bought the old farmhouse of his dreams, in the heart of Valpolicella Classico. With the property came a four hectare vineyard planted to the local red varieties of Corvina, Corvinone, Molinara and Rondinella.

Fast forwarding 7 years, to the 2000 vintage, Alfredo and is son Mariano decided to undertake their first serious effort at winemaking. They relied on a consultant to set up their cellars below their farmhouse and eventually produced their first vintage of just 12,000 bottles. To help them further, in 2001, oenologist Diego Bertoni, who still leads the winery, joined them in the Buglioni business.

By 2004, the Buglionis’ first Amarone was ready for release, along with a range of other wines, and Mariano himself was charged with selling it. A task almost as daunting as creating the wine.

I knocked on doors of wine agents, and every one had the same response: ‘This is a just a hobby for you. Why should we concern ourselves with a winery that may not be around in three years?

‘Osteria del Bugiardo’ quickly became a huge hit with wine-loving locals and visitors alike and the Buglioni wines that were served there became instantly popular.

Since 2005, Mariano and the Buglioni family have increased their vineyard holdings to nearly 54 hectares in Valpolicella Classico, have begun farming organically and are currently building a new winery.

Though about half the production is sold in bulk to “famous wineries,” Buglioni now bottles nearly 280,000 bottles a year under its own label that are widely sold and enjoyed in Europe, the United States and Asia. More than 50,000 bottles of that are enjoyed in three outposts of ‘Osteria del Bugiardo’ as well as its more upscale sister restaurant, ‘Piscaria’, in the centre of Verona, as well as at ‘Locanda del Bugiardo’, in the vineyard area of San Pietro in Cariano.

Today, Buglioni crafts nine individual wines, including an IGT white from Garganega, a Rosé and some white sparklers, plus a grappa for good measure. However it is its reds that are the true stars. In the 2007 through to its 2011 vintages, Buglioni released six wines scoring 90-plus points in Wine Spectator’s tastings with particular praise being bestowed upon the Amarone and Ripasso.

Looking back over the last 23 years, more perhaps by luck than judgment, The Buglioni family, and Mariano Buglioni in particular has become somewhat of an ‘accidental’ wine maker and wine producer of some repute. To this, Mariano is philosophical in saying that “Wine is more of a passion for us. You have to follow nature, and you must touch everything”.

Buglioni wines are distributed in Singapore exclusively by PIVENE