A Wine Dynasty

The history of the Mazzei family is closely woven in Tuscany’s winemaking tradition, as well as the region’s strong political and cultural past. Two important historical figures in Mazzei’s rich lineage standout as pioneers in wine-making and viticulture. Ser Lapo Mazzei (1350-1412) a winemaker from Carmignano is considered the father of the Chianti name. He was the first to use the word Chianti to denote a region of production, and therefore a terroir, rather than the name of a wine. But it is perhaps Philip Mazzei (1730 – 1816) who best represents the innovative, visionary, and entrepreneurial spirit that has characterized the Mazzei family throughout its history. Passionate grape-grower, liberal thinker, and “citizen of the world”, Philip planted the first European vines in Virginia and was a proponent of American libertarian ideals both in Virginia and Europe.

Today, Marchesi Mazzei is one of the ten oldest family businesses in Italy, one of the most acclaimed names in Italian wine, and the most awarded producer of Chianti Classico. The extraordinary Fonterutoli estate in Chianti Classico has been owned by the Mazzei family since 1435, and has passed down through 24 generations. The continuous search for new challenges, and the unwavering quest for excellence has pushed the family to expand its horizons toward new viticultural and wine-making frontiers, beyond Chianti Classico, into Maremma Toscana (at the Belguardo Estate), and Sicily (at Zisola).