Renato Ratti is born. After studying enology in Alba he “emigrates” to Brazil where he is put in charge of the production of Vermouths and sparkling wines for Cinzano of Sao Paolo. The experiences gained operating in such a vast, and challenging country as Brazil will prove fundamental in the development of an innovative outlook, one that will characterize his later work back in the hills of Piedmont’s Langhe region.
Renato Ratti returns to Piedmont and buys his first vineyard for the production of Barolo: a small plot in the historical zone of Marcenasco, right below the Abbey of L’Annunziata (Our Lady of the Annunciation) at La Morra. In the ancient (14th Century) Abbey, he creates his first single vineyard (cru) Marcenasco Barolo.
His nephew Massimo Martinelli, he too an enologist, joins the company and together, they perfect a technique of vinification, maturation and refinement for their Marcenasco Barolo, with the declared aim of obtaining the elegance, subtlety and longevity worthy of the variety’s full potential. They shorten the periods of fermentation and maceration and also reduce the oak barrel aging to two years. In time, their completely innovative process of in-bottle refinement becomes of primary importance in the evolution of all Marcenasco Barolos. In the Seventies, the company develops additional Marcenasco vineyards as well as new Conca and Rocche crus in and around the township of La Morra. Meanwhile, they renew and restore the Colombè vineyards at Mango and those of the family estate of Villa Pattono at Costigliole d’Asti. They also transform the old Abbey of the “Annunziata” into the “Ratti Wines of Alba Museum,” an important destination for a great many visitors keen on deepening their knowledge of Barolo and the many other great wines of the Langhe region.
Between the middle of the Seventies and the end of the Eighties, Renato Ratti becomes an important point of reference for Langhe wines and Italian wines in general. He is elected president of the Barolo Consortium and subsequently General Director of the Asti Consortium. He directly participates in the drafting of the rules and regulations governing the appellations of Alba wines and is particularly active in those regarding the coveted “DOCG” (guaranteed) label. He writes numerous books about the wines of Piedmont and Italy. For the Ratti Museum, he produces, a guide to the Barolo vintages as well as one to the historical Barolo and Barbaresco sub zones, the result of a painstaking field research effort throughout the myriad of relevant territories. Topnotch enologist, writer, historian, communicator, Renato Ratti becomes one of the prime movers of the cultural and technical revolution that eventually brings the wines of Piedmont and Italy into the international limelight.
After Renato Ratti’s untimely death, his son Pietro, fresh graduate of Alba’s renowned Enological School takes charge of the company. In the ’90’s he carries on the work of expansion and restoration of the family vineyards and furthers the ongoing research of the various unique sub zonal varieties.