Conference Preview: Antonio Carpenè and the Birth of Prosecco



Today we have a conference preview about a session about the rise of Prosecco—and so much more. Read on to hear a bit of the story of the fascinating “Father of Prosecco” – and don’t miss the part about that time when he named his children after the elements. Now, that’s a good story!

It was a dream in 1868 that gave rise to Carpenè Malvolti—a dream that became Prosecco.

Antonio Carpenè is the father of Prosecco.  He fought to unify Italy under Garibaldi at the battle of Bezzecca, and then went on to study chemistry at the University of Pavia.

For Antonio Carpenè, chemistry held the secrets of the future and he dedicated his life to the pursuit of that future. He named his first son Rubidium and his second, Etile (Ethyl)—who went on to manage the wine company he founded (and was the first to put the term “Prosecco” on a wine label.  But when Antonio suggested that another child be named Oenocyanin, after the pigment in grape skins, his wife rebelled.  That daughter became Mary—who, out of respect for her father, later named her first son Iridium.



It was his love of chemistry and the patria of Conegliano that brought him to the world of wine.  Antonio believed that wine, more than any other product, completely expressed the character and quality of a place and he dedicated himself to spreading this message throughout his native land.  Despite his position as a professor at the legendary University of Bologna, he preferred to give Chemistry lectures on a chair in the local piazze around the Veneto, so that every man in the street could benefit from his knowledge.

In addition to founding Carpenè Malvolti, the first modern winery in the Veneto—and the winery that created the style and character that is Prosecco today—he also founded the Instituto Conegliano, now the largest technical winemaking school in the world, and a leader in oenology and viticulture in Italy. The school celebrated its 140th anniversary last year.

Over succeeding generations, the Carpenè family has led the way for the wines of Italy: they founded the Italian Institute of Sparkling Wine, pushed for legislative protection for wine regions and production methods, played key roles in Federvini, the national wine association, and today chair the Technical High School Institute for New Technology to improve education and the use of High Tech in the world of Italian food and wine.

Rosanna Carpenè is now the fifth generation of her family to serve as president of the company, and she continues to drive it forward by marketing her wines in more than fifty countries, and producing a range of products from Prosecco Superiore to Brandy, Grappa, and Classic Method sparkling wines.



And she has plans for the future…the winery is now completely renovating more than five acres of property in the heart of Conegliano, modernizing the production facility, and contributing to the community by constructing a new public piazza in the heart of the city.  The piazza will celebrate the story of Antonio Carpenè and his contributions to the world of Italian wine, culture, and science.

In this year’s conference, managing director Domenico Scimone will explore this history, culture, and wines of this region, with special attention to the leadership of Antonio Carpenè—the father of Prosecco. The session, entitled “Antonio Carpenè and the Birth of Prosecco” will be held on Friday, August 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm as part of the Society of Wine Educator’s 41st  Annual Conference, to be held in Portland, Oregon. See you there!


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