Emilia-Romagna is one of Italy’s most epicurean destinations. Not only is it the birthplace of cherished foods like Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma and Aceto Balsamico di Modena, it’s also the region that brought us lasagne, tortellini and tagliatelle. As per tradition, these hearty dishes are usually washed down by a chilled glass of Lambrusco, the region’s signature sparkling red wine. But now there are new bubbles in town: Bolé.
Bolé is the first expression of Novebolle, Italy’s newest Spumante DOC, and is part of a larger cultural project designed to put Romagna on the map. Made with local Trebbiano and Famoso grapes grown by two of the largest wine cooperatives in the region, it’s a wine that truly captures the spirit of the territory: a passion for the land, a strong sense of community and the vivacity of its people.
The Bolé project was born from the unlikely collaboration of Caviro, the largest winery in Italy, and Terre Cevico, another one of the leading wine cooperatives in the country. “When we were growing up, these two businesses were always at odds with one another. They were like separate teams – the red team and the white team – and they even have different political views,” begins Nicole Poggi, a wine brand consultant who spearheaded the creation of Bolé Wine together with a team of under 35-year-old creatives.
“But after decades in the wine sector, Caviro and Terre Cevico decided to work together to create more value – not just in financial terms for their workers, but they wanted to create more value for the whole territory. They asked me, ‘What can we do to innovate our products and raise the profile of our region?’”
Sparkling wine, it turns out, has a long history in Romagna. “Back in the 1900s, almost all wine was sparkling wine because it fermented spontaneously in the bottle,” explains Ms. Poggi. “So we thought, since this is part of the region’s forgotten history, why don’t we work together to recreate this product and make Romagna a land of bubbles again?”
The timing couldn’t be better. Prosecco is having a moment and even received UNESCO World Heritage Status earlier this year, while Lambrusco has made a comeback from its reputation in the 80s. Bolé – which is fun, fresh and affordable – is a great addition in a market where sparkling wines are more approachable than ever and seen as the perfect accompaniment for everything from canapés and cheese boards to sushi and pizza.
“We began to work with the farmers and the enologists, and for the first time everyone began to share recommendations and best practices. From the beginning there was synergy, which is really at the core of a wine cooperative,” says Ms. Poggi. 100 families were selected from both wineries to participate and produce the first round of Bolé.
Ms. Poggi and her team also worked to create a solid brand identity for Bolé which naturally lends itself to storytelling. The Bolé blue label is a nod to the colors of Faenza’s famous ceramics and the Novebolle Liberty-style logo was adapted from a vintage font discovered in a typography studio in the city. The name Novebolle translates to “Nine Bubbles” and refers to the popularity of sparkling wines in the region in the early 1900s.
In less than a year since their first meeting, Bolé was launched with much fanfare. The team hosted a number of parties in Romagna this summer and rolled out BoléBites, a series that highlights the most exciting restaurants, bars and eateries in the city, from ‘O Fiore Mio, an artisanal pizza lab in Faenza, to Maré, a beach club with all-day eatery in Cesenatico. “Our goal was to elevate the profile of Romagna, and through Bolé to make the territory come alive,” she says.
This year, Bolé aims to increase its production from 45,000 bottles to 100,000 and begin developing a Bolé Wine in the Metodo Classico style, along with a sparkling Rosé using the territory’s Sangiovese grapes. For now the wine can be found locally but the goal is to take Bolé abroad soon. Other wineries in the region have also begun to produce Novebolle wines that are slated to come out later this year.
“Trebbiano grapes were born to make bubbles, and now even in Romagna you can enjoy a local spumante with our traditional dishes,” says Ms. Poggi. “Bolé is not just an enological project, but a cultural one: the history of Romagna lies in each glass.”