At just twenty years old, Bettino Ricasoli, known as the “Iron Baron”, began his research and experiments in Brolio, with the aim of producing a high-quality wine in Chianti, able to compete on an international level with the great French wines, the undisputed leaders of the time. Bettino Ricasoli accomplished his mission through his awareness of the potential of the Brolio terroir together with his faith in technological progress and science applied to vinification processes.
Bettino Ricasoli travelled widely, visited cellars, brought avant-garde knowledge and tools to Chianti, involved illustrious researchers and scholars of the period in his mission and was wise and far-sighted in attending to the marketing and placing of Brolio wines on international markets. His commitment to the economic development of Chianti is interwoven with the history of a political man who was one of the main players of the Italian Risorgimento and Prime Minister of the unified Italy after Cavour. His determination gave a direction to what can be defined as a Risorgimento in Italian winemaking.
Bettino Ricasoli’s search for the perfect wine was the beginning of the development of winemaking in the Chianti area according to modern economic and farming principles. The Baron boosted the development of roads and railways and worked with a great progressive spirit for that period to educate and involve farmers and croppers in a production philosophy that aimed at quality. In 1867 wine from Brolio was awarded the first gold medal at the Paris Exposition.