The White Wizard of Soave


Leonildo Pieropan is finishing his 50th harvest, hoping to fade into the background as his two sons take over the family’s famous Soave estate.

Sort of.

“He lives upstairs from the winery—so he can not not be involved,” quips eldest son, Andrea, 39, the family agronomist who looks after the vineyards, while brother Dario, 37, runs the cellar.

Both sons, like their father, are also enologists: “Three in one small winery is probably too much,” says Andrea with a laugh.

Nevertheless, the 69-year-old Leonildo—the third-generation winemaker who brought Pieropan, once a local bulk-wine producer, to the world’s great wine lists—still shows up for work to watch and assist when needed.

“For me, this has never been work. It’s a pleasure,” Pieropan says, stopping by the winery after a day of harvesting. “And you can’t retire from a pleasure.”

Pieropan speaks softly, exuding the quiet confidence of a man, now considered a visionary, who succeeded by following his own instincts. Decades ago, he went against the popular tide of mass-produced Soave, chasing wines of mineral-driven elegance and becoming an inspiration to a generation of Soave producers....Read the full blog at