About Apollonio Vini

By Paul Caputo

As one of Italy’s officially recognised historical businesses, the Apollonio name is known and respected throughout the country. The family’s viticultural legacy can be traced back as far as the beginning of the 19th century. The story’s more concrete roots are firmly dated at 1870 however, when in the buoyant aftermath of Italian unification Noè Apollonio took the decision to plant his own vines and, for the first time, make his own wine. It was felt that, amidst the devastating effects of the phylloxera disease, which wiped out great swathes of Europe’s vineyards, there were opportunities for those prepared to keep their head up and start again. The Apollonio wine business began.

Based in the Salento area of Puglia, Apollonio Vini continues to make high quality wines that would stand up to anything else produced in the region. Massimiliano Apollonio, the latest generation to oversee the family heirloom, now steers the company and its vision for the future. After completing his oenology studies he went on to seek experience in Italy, France and Spain. A former local representative of the Italian ONAV (Organizzazione nazionale assaggiatori vini – ‘National Organization of Wine Tasters’), he is a now regional president of the Assoenologi association for the regions of Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria, and is well placed to handle the company’s global network of clients.

While Salento and Puglia do not have a long tradition of barrel ageing - hot summers and a lack of money to build temperature controlled cellars meant wine was consumed early - the Apollonio family were early into the use of wood. As Noè’s enterprise expanded he travelled further afield in search of both grapes and customers. His son Marcello followed suite, enthusiastically acquiring or renting land throughout Salento, from the Valle della Cupa to the Terre d’Arneo, and as East as neighbouring Basilicata. Merchants in Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont sought a beaker or two of the warm south to bolster their wines with body, fruit and alcohol. By the time the Second World War came to a close, Marcello was travelling north by car and his wines required the protection of wood for those long, often hot journeys.