21 Jul 2017

Cinzano, the Italian cin cin

Cinzano’s is a great Italian story that goes on through the centuries.
The first trace is to be found, even, in 1568: as evidence there is one of the first official records, kept in the parish archives of the village of Pecetto Torinese, in Piedmont, right there where, at the end of the nineteenth century, a small territory between Pecetto and the municipality of Chieri was called just with this name.

At the time, the Cinzano family specialized in the cultivation of fruit trees and grapevines, producing an excellent rosolio, well known also by us Neapolitans: it is a liqueur made with rose petals, which is the basis, very often, for other alcohol, liqueurs, wines …

Almost two centuries later, in 1707, the master liquor Giovanni Battista Cinzano obtained the license to distil and sell elixirs and rosoli to Turin.

Exactly fifty years later, in 1757, the brothers Carlo Stefano and Giovanni Giacomo Cinzano, his direct heirs, acquired the title of masters aquavitai, “congregated” in the University of Confettieri and Aquavitari of Turin, and an additional license that allowed them to open the workshop in Via Dora Grossa, today called via Garibaldi, in the center of Turin.

1786 was an important year for the company: it was awarded by the royal family of Savoy as the best producer of a Vermouth specialty (the Red one) and commissioned by the King of Piedmont and Sardinia to emulate French methods to make Champagne , remaining, however, in the royal domains of Santo Stefano Belbo and Santa Vittoria d’Alba; the latter, in particular, served as a basis for the brothers’ estates.

It took some time, but after the first half of the nineteenth century, Cinzano started production on an industrial level, inaugurating the first plant in Santo Stefano Belbo.

The recipe of their famous Vermouth, for all this time, has remained secret.

In a chronicle of the Italian Exposition of Turin in 1884 we read: “It is only after having gone through the labyrinth of galleries, the long sequela of cellars, after having seen the continuous and orderly work, which without interruption is stirred there daily, which we come to understand the full importance of this colossal houseof export … Vermouth is shipped everywhere, but especially in South America, in barrels and bottles. Likewise the Barolos, the Barbera, the Muscat: the latter were especially perfected, reduced to exquisite sparkling wines, which began to acquire renown for aroma and clarity “.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Cinzano has always distinguished itself for its modern and innovative look, winking towards the near future; thus, she found herself often “before” in many choices.

For example, the first refrigeration plant in an oenological plant was precisely that of Santa Vittoria, in 1904, exactly as, in 1911, there was the first airplane used for industrial advertising, which launched on Milan promotional disks.

Also on a graphic level the Cinzano have always distinguished themselves: the posters of the famous painter Cappiello have entered the history of advertising. Who, even looking at them, can say that they have never seen them around, even today?

Poster Cinzano designed by Cappiello


In 1929 also the Florio family, of industrial tradition, and the Woodhouse plants (first winery founded by an Englishman in 1796, who started the export of Marsala in Great Britain and other European countries) and Ingham-Whitaker (old house) winery based in Marsala and producer of the homonymous wine) became part of the Group: it was at that time that the international market of Marsala received a new input.

Also the Ferro-China brand of Bisleri was acquired with the original recipe; therefore, the already well-known dark liqueur, suitable as a digestive and for aperitifs, has been added to the whole.


The Santa Vittoria d’Alba factories were subsequently sold, while, in 1999, the Cinzano brand was acquired by the Campari Group (but not the plant), which has 16 plants in the world, still active in continuing its successful production in one of these structures, in Novi Ligure, modern, advanced and of high technical level