Gianni Piccoli, the founder of Corte Gardoni, belongs to the branch of the family that left Cellore at the beginning of the 1900. The vineyards had been destroyed by the grape phylloxera and the small farm was no longer able to support everybody. This is the reason why one of the five brothers, Clemente, moved to Ronco all’Adige.
However, the new area was not particularly appropriate for the viticulture, in fact his son Aldo decided to bid on the fruit farming in order to develop the business. Nevertheless, he has always been nostalgic of the hills, where the vineyards, and especially those of Corvina, produce authentic high quality wines. Aldo encouraged his son Gianni to acquire a farm in Valeggio. It was an attractive opportunity: firstly, because the firm was owned by some relatives belonging to another branch of the same family. Secondly, because the estate, whose building had been erected in 1800, included a peach orchard and a nice vineyard: a vineyard in the hills.
The whole family saw the opportunity offered by Valeggio of going back to the viticulture as a return to the roots. In fact, ten years later, in 1981, Aldo Piccoli finally left the plain, moving in a new farm, called Corte Gardoni by his son.
The vineyards provided Giani Piccoli a precious assets of autochthonous vine variety: Corvina, Trebbiano, Cortese, Trebbianello, all perfectly acclimated and characterized by an excellent qualitative level. There was also an international variety: a little area was cultivated with Chardonnay.
At the very beginning, 90% of the grape was sold to some local well-known wine cellars and only the remaining 10% was used for the production of wine within the firm. Having regard of the potential of the product, the Piccoli family decided to take charge of the whole productive process of its own grapes internally. Moreover, the product started being commercialized with its current name “Corte Gardoni”.
Obviously, this was not so simple: they had to build a wine cellar ready to work starting from the following harvest. But he made it: he still remembers the first vinification, because while he was busy with oenological processes he was doing for the first time, Valeggio was covered by the snow, on the 4th November 1980. Under a white baptism, the first two wines labelled “Corte Gardoni” were seeing the light: Bardolino and Bianco di Custoza.