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Bollini is about nature and passion. Its story began in 1979, when Neil and Maria Empson, founders of an Italian wine export company, created their own range of wines as an expression of their love and respect for fine Italian viniculture. Excellence and consistency at highly accessible price points remains the Bollini mission.

In 1969, Neil and Maria Empson had an idea to start a négociant business in France, based on their shared interest in wine. But their honeymoon to Italy in that year changed their plans: They realized that, in contrast to the well-populated wine brokerage business in France, virtually no one represented the small, quality-conscious producer-growers of Italy. Within two years they had a small portfolio of Italian producers, and with enterprise, perserverance and solid business integrity, the Empsons brought together over the next few years a portfolio of 65 exceptional producers under the Neil Empson Selections umbrella.


One of the Empsons’ early exports, in the mid-1970s, was a Chardonnay from the Collio zone of Friuli, the first Chardonnay to be exported from Italy. The wine grew to represent nearly a third of the Empson Selections volume. When the producer's contract came up for renewal, however, a major American importer negotiated the representation away from the Empsons. Undaunted, in 1979 Neil Empson created Bollini Chardonnay. He focused on the Trentino area's tremendous potential for fine, quality white wines in the crisp, varietally distinctive style he had in mind, and enlisted the technical help of the region's highly respected school of enology, the Istituto Agrario Provinciale of San Michele. Maria Empson provided the creative elements of packaging and promotional materials, and the brand was launched. It was not long before Bollini Chardonnay was joined by other wines grown in top vineyards in Trentino and Friuli. In a characteristic spirit of enterprise, Neil and Maria Empson have firmly set the Bollini brand on a path of innovation and tireless commitment to quality.

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The fruit for Bollini wines is grown by dedicated grower-partners in the northern Italian regions of Trentino and Friuli.


The Trentino zone lies within Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy's northernmost wine producing region. Trentino is comprised of several vineyard areas running north and south parallel to the Adige River. Their hillside exposition, stony, alluvial soils and cool, dry highland climate converge to produce ideal conditions for aromatic white vine varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, resulting in a crisply defined, fruity style.


Friuli-Venezia Giulia, bordering Slovenia in Italy's far northeast corner, is one of the country's most technologically sophisticated and quality-oriented regions. The zone is characterized by heavy gravel (hence the wine’s name, Vigna Trasassi, meaning “vineyard among stones”) deposited by the passage of prehistoric glaciers and high in fossil content. These calcium-rich soils, exposed southward to the Adriatic winds, produce finely structured wines of fresh fragrance, crisp fruit, lively vitality and clean varietal character. The Pinot Grigio grape is particularly suited to this terroir, which lends it a unique and unmistakably characteristic personality.

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Franco Bernabei’s winemaking philosophy reflects the values of a man who hails from the land where he works. With three generations of his family in wine and a degree in viticulture and enology, he has served as consultant for many of the most prestigious estates in Italy, including Folonari, Felsina, Fontodi, Sartori and Guicciardini Strozzi. Today, his sons Marco and Matteo are the family’s fifth generation working as winemakers.

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Inside information

Situated in the north-east of Italy, with its wide variety of landscapes, we discovered Friuli-Venezia Giulia feels as much Slavic and Austrian as it does Italian. In fact, Friulian culture is surely more Mitteleuropean than Mediterranean – a crossroads of civilizations, alternatively conquered by this or that European power throughout history. Politically speaking, the region is called Friuli-Venezia Giulia. However, 96% of this is made up of Friuli (from the Latin Forum Iulii): Venezia Giulia is merely a sliver of land between Friuli and Slovenia, the remnant of a much larger area that was dismantled after WWII. Between mountains, hills, the rural central plains, and the coastal area, there was much sight-seeing to be done on our journey through this land struck by such tumult over the years. Within a short amount of time it was clear that we would be absorbing an assortment of cultures; in fact the area is divided not only in it’s appearance and architecture (ranging from ancient Roman ruins to eclectic Austrian castles), but even by the languages spoken within the region: we heard Slovenian in the north, German in towns adjacent to Austria, and of course, at the time, the most commonly spoken Friulan dialect.Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s cuisine, as one might well imagine, is also influenced not only by Italian traditions and standards but by the multiethnic diversity from which it originates. From the classically Friulan Prosciutto di San Daniele to gulash (a typical Hungarian dish made of beef and cooked in strong spices), Friuli beheld a number of interesting combinations to tantalize our palates, and to invariably combine with their selection of exceptional wines. In each place we visited, we were welcomed with the utmost hospitality and cordiality.


Friulans, in light of their region’s past, are known to be extremely open-minded, with an unprecedented (in Italy) spirit of acceptance and integration with all tourists and foreigners in general.In the same eventful 1970s which saw a part of Friuli being damaged by a tragic and disastrous earthquake, Friulian winemaking began making waves of an entirely different order, gradually becoming the number one region for Italian whites of unparalleled structure, character and aromas.Reds are the minority, albeit also excellent, and the varietal map of both reds and whites reflects the multicultural tradition of the region, flanking international grapes like Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and native varieties like the celebrated Friulano (formerly Tocai Friulano; nothing to do with Hungarian Tokaij!), the rare, treasured Picolit and fragrant Ribolla Gialla (whites); or Franconia, Pignolo, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Schioppettino, Tazzelenghe (reds) – names that stand for unique, mellow intensity and fruity appeal.

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0 different wines with 2 vintages


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