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The Pope’s wine

Letter by Antonio Pepe, CEO, Società Agricola Bellaria

“Several years have passed since I founded Agricola Bellaria together with the Maffei family; during this time I’ve seen the company start, grow, and expand.

I like to stop and to think about the hours we spent in the cellars, trying so hard to make wines capable of reflecting the beauty of our region, Irpinia.

Born as a small Company in the Irpinia region, trying hard to emerge and to distinguish itself among the thousands of excellent competitors, we never looked for shortcuts; every day, with hard work and humility, we fought and won battles that at first seemed impossible even to face.

I like to stop and think about the first triumphs on international competitions, about the first sales in Italy and abroad, about the expressions of appreciation from our partners and customers. All that represented the main motivation to carry on in a Country that usually hampers progress. We operated trying to control a system that, instead of supporting you, crushes you all the time.

It was a success… and it still is. So, I believe I’m on the right track.

It all begun when I met Chef Marco Picano – a charismatic, humble and shy man – and our paths crossed. It all begun with a “blind tasting”, and with this expression I’m not actually referring to the wines, but to the fact that when I first met him, I had no idea of what my esteemed interlocutor did as a living.

He came up to our stand during the latest “Vinitaly” and tasted our wine Greco di Tufo “Oltre”. His words made it clear what kind of person I was dealing with; he was a man with vast experience, one of those people we love here in Bellaria, a real worker, competent, one of those who always leave their mark even without giving his business card.

The story goes on with a request for us to participate in a tasting, during which our Greco di Tufo “Oltre” was very appreciated, and with the subsequent communication with which Chef Marco Picano informed us that our wine had been selected to be inserted in the wine list for His Holiness Pope Francesco’s Apostolic Journey … I stopped short, incredulous, on finding out that the man I had met at the fair was actually “lo Chef dei Grandi”.

The Pope’s wine

It was in this way, without even knowing how it happened, that, on June 24 th 2016, Bellaria’s wines ended up on the Holy Pope’s menu on the Alitalia flight to Armenia.

By writing these few lines with my heart full of contentment and of gratitude, I steal, this time, the stage from our Marketing Office, aware that the many wonderful and unforgettable goals we have achieved together in these years can’t equal the emotion I’m feeling these days.

I would like to dedicate this joy to the people who have stood by us in these years: my wife and my daughters, my outstanding colleagues and collaborators.

Above all, however, I would like to dedicate it to those who, in one way or another, came into contact with us and appreciated us, loved us, and, why not… also to those with whom we didn’t get along for some reason, because there are moments in which work relationships “exalt”, and in this case, the best thing to do is to embrace the fact that we are all part of a big family.

Yours affectionately, Antonio”


  1. Post comment

    What a great moment and appreciation for the fantatsic work and passion you all put in the wines and other products and things in life.

    Grazie Mille to been connected with you Anthonio Pepe, Saluti!


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