Friday, March 6, 2020

Italian Women in the Wine Industry Featuring Maso Martis

March is Women’s History month and is the perfect time to highlight and celebrate the hardwork, dedication and achievements of women in the Italian wine industry. This is the focus of our Italian Food,Wine & Travel group this month.  I’m featuring Maso Martis of the Trentino wine region in northeastern Italy where owner Roberta Giuriali and her daughter Alessandra, along with other members of the family, are dedicated to growing quality wines in the Trento DOC.  Below is an interview with Alessandra including her mother, Roberta's comments.  Enjoy! 
Maso Martis winery in Trento DOC Trentino
Copyright of Maso Martis
Tell me how the family came into the wine business. 
Maso Martis was established in 1990 by Antonio Stelzer and Roberta Giuriali, a young couple that never experienced the wine world before, but were passionate about the land and vines. In the 80’s Antonio’s father had the possibility to buy the Maso, typical house with 12 hectares of the surrounding land. This was considered a vocational area for the cultivation due to the perfect terroir.  

Tell me about Maso Martis and what is special and unique about your winery.
Maso Martis is situated in Martignano at the foothill of Mount Calisio (also called Argentario) above Trento, 450 m above sea level.  It’s a mountainous terrain that was cultivated as early as the late 80's and is well exposed and caressed by the mountain breeze. 

Between 1982 and 1984 they replanted all the vineyards, mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a little bit of Meunier and a little bit of Moscato Rosa, a typical Trentino red grape for sweet wines. In 1990 they started the production with their own grapes  dedicated almost exclusively to the art of producing classic method sparkling wines.  This was a real challenge to face at that time, as this type of product from Trentino still had not achieved the reputation of high quality as it has today with the brand Trento DOC. 

Today the production of classic method is the integral part of our everyday life.  Over the years we've embraced a particular selection and management of the vineyards that are all of our own property.  Therefore, for us the transition to organic viticulture was the natural consequence of our way of life that focuses on life quality. From harvest 2013 we have obtained the organic certification ICEA for the vineyard and the cellar. Working with the organic method means to exploit the natural fertility of the soil favoring limited interventions, promoting the biodiversity of our environment by limiting or excluding the use of synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We have a limited production of 90,000 bottles per year of which 80,000 are dedicated to Trento DOC. Our wines are made from organic grapes from our own production and from the grapes of little certified organic farmers on Trento hill.  The harvest on the farm is strictly handmade and is experienced today as a village festival. 

Tell me about you and your mother's background in the wine industry? 
Alessandra: I was born at Maso Martis just a few years after my parents started the winery, in 1993. I grew up in the vineyards, observing my parents’ and Matteo, our enologist, work in the vineyards, in the cellar and in the office. I experienced all the difficulties and the amount of work they had to face. I knew that I would be able to find my own space in the family business. I graduated in 2015 at the IULM University of Language, Media and Communication in Milan attending a three years course in Public Relation and Communication.  After graduation I worked for 6 months at a communication company in Trento.  In 2016 I officially took part in the family business.  Today my role is focused on social and web communication, visits and tastings in the winery. In the last three years the interest in enogastronomic travels has grown a lot. 

Roberta: My life in the wine industry began when I met Antonio Stelzer, my husband. I was 19 and I attended a school to become a teacher. Mine was a love choice. A little over twenty years old my husband's parents entrusted the management of the farm to us and in 1990 we started to work the first 150 quintals of grapes based on sparkling wine. Inexperienced and with a good dose of unconsciousness we have taken the road of sparkling wine decidedly uphill.

I was able to enjoy the trust and esteem of my husband and collaborators and I have been entrusted with the administrative and commercial part of the company which today with work from a strong team and small steps we cross the 30 year mark. 
Maso Martis Trento DOC wines
Copyright of Maso Martis
Since this focus is on Italian women in the wine industry I'd be interested in hearing your perspectives on women in the Italian wine industry.  What are some of the challenges and opportunities? 
Alessandra: I think that women today have a really important role in the wine industry. Lots of companies are guided by women that have a real capacity of management and collaboration between them. Women today tend to create groups of work, in which they have the goal to create something bigger. In Italy for example, we have the association of wine women that Roberta and I are part of.  During the year we organize lots of events around Italy and some collaborations with foreign countries. 
Roberta: There are certainly many more women today than when I started. There are huge growth opportunities. The predominance in the sector is still too male-dominated, above all in command of strategic positions (ex. Consortia) 

I see there is another daughter, Maddalena.  Are there plans for her to join the business as well? 
At the moment Maddalena is attending a course in ayurvedic Indian medicine. She loves cooking and maybe in the future she will develop the agrituristic part of the business. 

What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome since you started the winery? 
At the beginning it was a real feat. Our basic luck was to be able to count on the raw material: 12 hectares of properties grown to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier (Cabernet Sauvignon and Moscato Rosa have been uprooted over the years).  These are wonderful grapes that we have learned to know and manage better. The first bottle born was a simple still Chardonnay pending the first bottle of classic method Trento doc in 1993, the year of birth of the controlled denomination of origin dedicated to the city of Trento. The bubbles were not used except in moments of celebration. We started from scratch and from our territory, Trentino. 

Then slowly we built the sales network in Italy and abroad. In 2007 was the birth of the collective brand Trento DOC, which has constantly promoted the denomination and the classic method, helping to communicate the product's seasonally adjustment. 

Who are some of your role models in the wine business? 
There are no people and models to which we have been inspired by, despite having esteem and admiration for colleagues. We have firm principles that we stick to: respect, perseverance and determination. Our motto is never give up and always believe in it! 

What is the future of Maso Martis and what’s to come? 
The future of Maso Martis is green and international growth. We are working on completing the renewal of the vineyards. We enhanced our production by creating unique cuvees like Madame Martis (70% pinot noir, 25% chardonnay, 5% meunier) by increasing the numbers of bubbles that we intend to bring to 100,000 bottles. Ninety percent of our production is organic (only Madame Martis by age is not). We will shortly present the new graphic line of labels and packaging. Our daughters will be able to contribute with their creativity and we have opened a number of new markets. 

At the time of writing we are on Coronavirus alert and therefore have postponed our 30 year anniversary celebrations. 

The Wine ~ Maso Martis Brut Trento DOC 
Maso Martis Trento DOC BrutThis wine is made of 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir.  The grapes are crushed separetely and the wine off the less goes into stainless steel.  It spends about 36-48 months on the lees and goes through the process of riddling, disgorgement and bottling.  A pale straw color this wine is well-balanced with perfumed, floral aromas.  Fresh, delicate and elegant finishing with long lingering bubbles.  ABV 12.5% SRP $35   

Join our fellow Italian wine and food lovers as they share more women in the Italian wine industry with suggested food pairings.  You can also join us live on Twitter this Saturday at #ItalianFWT @ 11am EST.

*This wine was provided as sample, but opinions are always my own.


  1. Great interview! Trento DOC bubblies are serious good...often preferential for me over Champagne or even Franciocorta!

  2. Seems Maso Martis is in a good spot as the future unfolds and enogastronomic tourism grows. With Alessandra's focus, being organic and promoting biodiversity, and making nice wines, certainly a winery to visit.

  3. Love the mother/daughter team and their focus on quality of life. Will be interesting to see how both daughters contribute to the family business. Great interview!

  4. Wonderful interview! I love seeing how they're looking to the future in different creative ways as well.