Since 1730, Andrea Bocelli’s family has been living and making wines in a village called Lajatico, located outside of Pisa, Tuscany. Long before he and his younger brother Alberto began to oversee the production of wine—along with their mamma Edi—generations of the Bocelli family have been enjoying and sharing exceptional wines that mirror the richness and complexity of Andrea’s voice—the ultimate pairing of celebrity grapes and song.
“For me wine is the taste and smell of returning home and of celebration. A bottle of wine is a bottle of happiness that represents vacation and rest.”
With the latest English-Italian duet Perfect Symphony recorded by British pop singer Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli, the creative opera singer continues to shine in the most unlikely places. So let's delve into another colorful and bright area of Bocelli's life: his deeply important involvement in his family's roots and their dedication to a suberb eight-generation winery.
For nearly three centuries, the Bocelli family has made classic Italian wines on their small estate in Tuscany. To this day, Mamma Edi Bocelli still works in the fields, carefully hand-tying vines. Edi, along with Andrea's brother Alberto Bocelli, Alberto’s wife Cinzia, and their son, Alessio, all actively manage the winery. Andrea helps with with winery when he is not touring or traveling.
Andrea, left, mamma Edi in the middle, and his brother, Alberto, right.
When Andrea’s grandfather Alcide Bocelli was running the family farm in the 1930s, he made the wine, grew the wheat, and raised cattle. Andrea fondly remembers his father saying "we are the poets...the poets of the fields, of these fields.” Andrea’s father, Alessandro, a very passionate man, taught his two sons the art and craft of making wine in this special place. Both boys grew up on the farm, and learned to raise animals, grow grains, ride horses, and most importantly, make wine. The location of the farm has always proven fruitful for the family. As Andrea’s brother, Alberto, puts it: “We are located on a ridge in between two rivers, with a mix of gravel and sand in the terrain. This fortunate spot enhances our mission to continue the family business.”
For Andrea, horses are a spiritual connection to his youth. He says: “The horses came into my life in a big way when I was a child. To me, horses represent strength, elegance, and beauty; they are the stuff dreams are made of."
Andrea Bocelli typically arrives on stage by horse when performing at Teatro del Silenzio.
Despite having his sight impaired from birth, and ultimately losing it as a young boy, Andrea threw himself into his family’s estate with a full passion. His brother Alberto has always been his closest friend and constant companion. Together, the two young men worked hard, played hard, and learned the ways of their farm. Twelve years ago, the two brothers built the fabulous Teatro del Silenzio (The Silent Theater, an open-air amphitheater at the winery)–a fantastic marriage of two creative efforts: Alberto’s architectural and Andrea’s musical talents. “The combination of wine and music,” Andrea says, "helps to stretch and elevate the soul to to a place of joy.” The Silent Theater is literally silent 364 days per year. Bocelli performs there once yearly in the month of July.
“It’s only natural for us to move forward in love–because that is what it’s about.”
What many people do not realize is that Andrea’s singing career took off at the age of 40. With a law degree under his belt, Andrea was a late bloomer in terms of his musical career. Now, with over 70 million albums sold, Andrea Bocelli is the most successful classical music artist of all time. Through his soaring tenor and his personable style, he has made opera accessible to millions of people who never appreciated the genre. He is a humble man who loves sharing the things he loves, including his wine and the environment at Lajatico.
Because of his work as an opera singer, Andrea does not drink wine every day. He shares: “For me wine is the taste and smell of returning home and of celebration. A bottle of wine is a bottle of happiness that represents vacation. Rest. The hug of your children after 10 or 15 days without seeing them. For me, exceptional events are associated with drinking wine.”
A Bocelli family meal is always a celebration.
The winery has old vines (well over 70+ years), and has grown classic Tuscan varietals such as Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia, and Trebbiano. Having traveled extensively around the world, Andrea was determined to bring Cabernet Sauvignon to the farm. Turns out the terroir was perfect and the Cabernet vines were planted 10 years ago. The estate’s top wines now contain Sangiovese and Cabernet.
At just 25 years old, Bocelli’s nephew, Alessio, is steering the helm as the current winemaker at Bocelli. His mother Cinzia, who is still involved in the winery, adds: “It’s only natural for us to move forward in love–because that is what it’s about. And, to leave it all to our children—hoping they will carry the tradition on with great care and attention—is a great gift."
Discover the awe-inspiring region of Tuscany—Ciclismo Classico's home—on any of our Tuscan bike tour adventures!
Quotes and facts sourced from video transcripts provided by Modio Media Productions, Inc.
Photos: Marco Mugnai for Modio Media Productions, Inc.