*** Breaking News from Montalcino ***
Earlier this month, the premium Brunello Estate, Il Palazzone was sold by owner Richard Parsons for an undisclosed sum. Parsons purchased the Estate in 2000 from Mario Bollag after numerous visits to Montalcino. Parsons sold the estate to the Kerns who are long time friends of his and also Americans. Over the past 30 years, the Kerns have traveled extensively to Tuscany and for them this is a realization of a dream long held.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with the Kerns and discuss their vision for Il Palazzone going forward. Kirsten was engaging in this brief, but informative interview about their initial plans and the new developments already underway at the vineyard.
Kirsten, what a busy, exciting time for you! Thank you for chatting with me. Many of my readers, myself included, are avid fans of Il Palazzone so I know they will be curious about the direction and future of the winery. Grazie!
TV: Do you anticipate any changes to the way the winery operates on a day to day basis? In this sense I’m speaking about the winemaking team, the style of the Brunello and the methods of production/quantity of wine produced?
TV: What drew you to Il Palazzone (other than your friendship with Mr. Parsons) if anything?
We have been traveling to the area for many years and looking for a vineyard for the last couple. After seeing a number of things on the market – good terroir but no infrastructure, brand or real winemaking of their own or more commercial volume players but no real established quality or good terroir – we were fortunate to reconnect with our friend Dick at a time where he was looking for safe hands to pass Il Palazzone on to. Il Palazzone has a great combination of terrific terroir, particularly in the Le Due Porte area, ranging from 520 to 560 meters above sea level close to Montalcino itself, a phenomenal cantina with capacity to grow, an established brand and following, and a terrific team that has been managing the evolution of the wine for many years. We couldn’t have asked for a more complete opportunity as a jumping off point as we continue to invest in driving excellent winemaking and ensure that Il Palazzone continues to actively participate in the broader conversation of Brunello.
TV: You mentioned the “new vineyard” when we talked. What can you tell us about that? Where is it located and is it planned only for Brunello? Are any other varietals planted there and when do you expect it to be in production?
The new vineyard is on the hill behind the cellar. (There is a video of the recent clearing on our Instagram #lavignanuovaproject) We hope to plant next season, but the vines may not go in until 2023, so the first harvest will not be for a few years. We plan to plant only Sangiovese/Brunello to take advantage of the superior soil and elevation.
TV: Was the impetus for the sale related to Covid and the overall performance of the winery or was it simply time for Richard to move on given his health/age, etc? Consolidation is happening a lot in Tuscany and I know with the less than ideal 17 and 18 vintages on the horizon, plus Covid and a glut of wine in the system, could have been part of the motivation?
I can’t comment on Richard’s decision to sell now or his motivation to do so. We are simply grateful to have this spectacular opportunity.
TV: Of course. Finally, what is your dream for Il Palazzone? What do you want it to become? How often do you plan on being in Tuscany?
We are eager to build on Il Palazzone’s history of success and to continue to invest in making better and better wines that are the fullest expressions of vintage and terroir. We want Il Palazzone to be a property that contributes to the pantheon of great wines in the region. If we can do that we will be very happy. We plan to be in Tuscany several months a year and spend as much time as possible becoming more involved and active in the local community and to be active, hands-on participants in the winery.
Awesome! Grazie again Kirsten, I wish you the best of luck. Hope to see you soon on the estate!