By Alessia Benelli


For over a hundred years, the family has been the first to trade oil and wine in the valley and on the Apennine passes.


The Zanieri Cellars are located on one of the oldest roads between Bologna and Florence, in the ‘La Luna’ hamlet of the current Municipality of Scarperia-San Piero a Sieve.

The Zanieri were the first traders of oil, wine and cereals on the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines in the second half of the nineteenth century. Rather ancient family, their origin is probably Florentine since some of the ancestors of Nicola, the current owner, are buried in the ‘Chiesa del Carmine’ in Florence. The family had its own exclusive heraldic coat of arms: we can therefore assume that the Zanieri come from the Medici city and that, at a certain point in the eighteenth century, they then decided to move to the countryside.

It was Giovanni Zanieri who started trading at the beginning of the twentieth century: with his horse-drawn cart he brought oil, wine and food to the Futa Pass, where there was already a road but not as we know it today. His sons Renato and Ruggero carried on their father’s business, expanding it. Ruggero was particularly gifted for commercial exchanges: for this reason, he often went to Florence to the ‘Commodity Exchange’ – a real wine and oil market where traders set prices and exchanged information.

Instead, Renato, Nicola’s grandfather, was inclined to be among the people: “They were the Zanieri and everyone came here to buy food and especially wine. My grandparents and my uncle sold demijohns and flasks, labelled Zanieri. Imagine… a customer from Monghidoro even showed me and donated an ancient ‘fiasco’, marked Giovanni Zanieri e Figli”, says Nicola who continues: “It was my father Luciano, Renato’s son, who gave a modern twist to the family business. He took the reins in the early seventies starting to produce bottles signed “Zanieri”. Today it may sound strange, yet once these did not exist. So he began to sell the first wines that came from renowned wine areas – such as those of Brunello di Montalcino or Bolgheri – setting up the shop in the version we still see today”. Luciano, unfortunately, died prematurely and it was his children Nicola and Lucrezia – also taken away too soon by a tragic illness – who made the family business cross the threshold of the twenty-first century.

Nicola has transformed Cantine Zanieri into what we see today: a point of sale, an excellent service for restaurateurs and a wine shop. Very recently, we learn, the business have become Antinori’s ‘sole wholesale dealer’ for Mugello and Valdisieve. There are many fine labels that you can find here: from the blend of grapes of the nearby farm ‘Canneto III’ to the precious Pinot Noir of the ‘Podere Fortuni’. Nicola dedicates meticulous attention to the search for labels and producers of the highest level, preferring brands from Tuscany. In addition to bottles, Cantine Zanieri’s bulk wines are always available in the store: six reds and two whites, as well as a rosé sold only in summer. These wines can be purchased in bottles or in practical bag in box, with a capacity from 5 to 20 litres.

Zanieri works hard with the main restaurants and hotels in the area, contributing to the creation of wine lists on request. Nicola does not limit himself to showing a purchase list: he passionately transmits the history and value of individual productions, trying to harmonize the nature of the wines with the culinary addresses and expectations of the different restaurants. Raised with a deep dedication to wine and oil – which he defines not only as food but as ‘culture’ – he is able to communicate it in a profound and intuitive way: an elective passion inherited from his father and grandfather.

Nicola has chosen, in fact, to promote mutual knowledge of producers and buyers. For this reason, ça va sans dire, he organizes wine sessions for sommeliers and restaurateurs, for inns and hotels – planning frequent exploratory visits to the same producers. All in the name of love for wine. The doors of Cantine Zanieri are open to anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of wine: with a heartfelt and inspired tasting, Nicola will accompany you in this wonderful and kaleidoscopic world: a journey through history, tradition and culture, in one of the oldest shops in Mugello.

In the last ten years, Nicola has thought about the creation of two new labels ‘Cantine Zanieri’, whose name, it is appropriate to say, is certainly perfect: they are the ‘Wine of the Gods’ and “Love”. “We have managed to retain several customers in the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, since the time of my great-grandfather. At the beginning of the new millennium, I noticed how the hotels of ‘Madonna dei Fornelli’ were repopulating; all this thanks to the great work of promotion of the ‘Via degli Dei’ on the Emilian side. Thus was born the ‘Wine of the Gods'”. Instead, ‘Love’ wants to express a philosophy of life that we can summarize in the motto: “Life is short, enjoy it and stop for a good glass of wine”.

And how to blame him.



Info: Via La Luna, 6 – Scarperia e San Piero (Fi) / Info e prenotazioni: Tel. 055 848020 /