In 1705, thirty years before the end of the rule of the Medici family and eleven years before the Grand-ducal Proclamation of 1716 that limited the Chianti production area, the Melini family of Florence, wealthy entrepreneurs from the Val di Sieve, decided to get involved in vine-growing and wine production. The Winery Melini was established in Pontassieve. Its coat of arms has three stars showing its allegiance to the Guelphs and three pomegranates, symbols of sincerity, generosity and harmony.
The Melini Winery began to produce Vermiglio, the classic red table wine of Tuscany. Wine was sold in barrels, which led to considerable difficulties in terms of preservation and transport. The oenologists at the winery struggled to solve these problems and followed the advice of the greatest experts of the time, including Cosimo Villifranchi: “flavoursome, sturdy and truly uncomplicated wines without any kind of regulation are required for export… and cellars dug out of rock, where wine will remain exquisite for many years”.
1830: since its very beginnings, the Melini winery has been a forerunner of technological progress: as early as 1830, following the recommendations of Novellucci di Prato, wine was heated for a few minutes to 50°C to pasteurise it. At the time, it was an innovative process of stabilisation, which Luis Pasteur would discuss in his Etudes sur les vins in 1866.
1860 The turning point came in 1860 (the year before the Unification of Italy was proclaimed), when Adolfo Laborel Melini started to use the “straw flask” invented by the master glassmaker Paolo Carrai. Chianti was made more easily available to the Italian and foreign market in a tempered glass flask that was resistant to the pressure of a mechanically inserted cork.
In 1877, the Chamber of Commerce and Arts of Florence awarded Melini a certificate and a gold medal “for having established the most extensive and reliable trade of Tuscan wine abroad”.
It is worth mentioning that Melini achieved this leading position over the years: it is still one of the most popular brands in all countries today.
In the 20th century, after the death of the oenologist Luigi Melini, who had volunteered to fight in the Great War, the winery in Pontassieve was purchased by Buitoni of Perugia, which it later sold to Martini & Rossi of Turin.
Later on, Gruppo Italiano Vini became the owners and the headquarters of the longstanding company were moved to the Chianti Classico area in Gaggiano di Poggibonsi, in the province of Siena.