Savory Characters: The Lungarotti Family Umbrian Winemakers
As an Italian expat, I have fallen in love with Umbria, and with Umbrian wine. Last fall, I had the pleasure of enjoying a day at the Lungarotti winery in Torgiano, a quaint town between Perugia and Assisi in the rolling hills of Umbria. I often talk about the passion of Italian winemakers, but I would soon learn how deep a family’s passion can go. Our tour guide at Lungarotti was Grazia, who had an interesting story of her own. She actually visited the winery with her school when she was only six years old and today, as a young adult, leads the company’s hospitality efforts.
Lungarotti wines was founded by Giorgio Lungarotti in 1962, what started as a small hobby among family and friends. His passion for production grew and he studied and invested in the land and the vineyards to create the best possible wine the region could produce. Some refer to Giorgio as the one who "drew the world wine map in Umbria". He would soon amass a burgeoning wine business, along with wine tourism, that is now the talk of the region.
Today, Giorgio’s sisters, Chiara Lungarotti and Teresa Severini, run the company and they both stopped by to introduce themselves and express their passion for the business. Both are actively involved in the day-to-day activities at the winery and also with the family’s 5-star resort that attract travelers from all over the world seeking a luxury wine tasting experience.
In their continuing quest to turn Umbria into a true wine tourism destination, the Lungarotti’s built the spa resort, Le Tre Vaselle in Torgiano. We were fortunate enough to enjoy our wine tastings at the resort’s elegant restaurant where the chef introduced several courses. On my next trip, I hope to experience the spa at Le Tre Vaselle and enjoy one of their vino treatments.
The family also owns Poggio alle Vigne, a sprawling country house set among the Lungarotti vineyards that is a popular destination wedding spot. The town of Torgiano is a destination unto itself with quaint old buildings and narrow streets lined with vegetation. It is also popular shopping destination for cashmere, which the team at Lungarotti can arrange shopping tours for.
In 1974, the Lungarotti’s opened one of the region’s first wine museums, today, a world class private collection of historical artifacts that document 5000 years of wine history. There are few wine museums anywhere in the world with the number and quality of works on display, covering twenty rooms of exhibits in the Palazzo Graziani-Baglioni.
The newest endeavor, the Olive and Oil Museum opened in 2000, features artifacts pertaining to the origins and mythology of the olive, and its use in religion, medicine, nutrition, sport, and cosmetics.
Running the Lungarotti business is truly a family venture. Giorgio’s wife, Maria Grazia, oversees the Lungarotti Foundation, established in 1987 to manage the family’s museums and historical artifacts.
The winery and showroom are must-sees on any trip to Umbria. The highlight of our tour was the visit to the winery’s safe, where vintages leading back to the winery’s opening in 1962, are stored. Some years, there were only four bottles remaining (a good year) and other years, there were dozens of bottles in the bin. They’re stored, sold and enjoyed for special occasions with some bottles commanding upwards of $1,000 a bottle.