Great passions are often sparked by little seeds. The history of Apollonio winery dates back to 1870, in the aftermath of the Italian unification. It was in the south of the Salento region – where most people made a living out of wine – that the story of Apollonio’s family began; such has succeeded in exporting Salento’s high-quality wine tradition all over the world thanks to its passion and hard work.
Apollonio's first steps
It was 1870 when Noè Apollonio planted his own vineyard and produced wine for the first time. He did not lack experience, which he had inherited it from his father Tommaso (a producer and wine merchant born in 1828), and his grandfather Giuseppe (a peasant born in 1805). In the late 19th century, a phylloxera epidemic obliged winegrowers throughout Europe to plant new types of vineyards. At the time, wine was everything: it was food, care, relief. Noè decided to roll up his sleeves and start a long-lasting adventure, with the help of his family and his tireless workers. He owned a winery in his hometown Aradeo, in ‘Via dei Pozzi Dolci”, the street of wineries and pasta-makers. It was in this plant that he turned grapes into wine and sold his products, such as the Negramaro and Primitivo wines that were made from grapes harvested in the villages of Aradeo, Neviano, and Cutrofiano, in the chalky-clay estates of the “Cafari”.
The 20th century
Driven by the same passion inherited from his father Noè, Marcello proved to be just as hardworking and enthusiastic. After moving to the town of Maglie, he bought some vineyards and rented various wine plants all across the Salento territory, from “Valle della Cupa” (the Cupa valley) to the “Arneo” land, up to those located in the Basilicata region. Tirelessly travelling around the region on a gig during World War II, and by car after the war ended, Marcello managed to satisfy his numerous clients, especially those from northern Italy. In fact, Salento’s wine then served as an excellent “blending wine” due to its high alcoholic content: Piedmont, Veneto, Lombardy, or Tuscany wine merchants bought it in bulk to bottle their wines. Every Monday, many producers of the area gathered to fix market prices at the “Caffè della Borsa”, which overlooked a Roman amphitheatre that had been recently dug out. Marcello Apollonio often went there with his son Salvatore, who would soon run the winery with the same commitment and ability to grasp changes as his father. At the end of World War II, while poverty was slowly giving way to an economic boom and the market was changing, Salvatore had an intuition of how to take advantage of new business opportunities. By introducing business management, he started a new era characterized by a more modern and efficient production, and in 1975 he began to bottle high-quality wines with the Apollonio brand.
the company today
At the helm of the company since 1995, Marcello and Massimiliano Apollonio are the fourth generation of the family. Driven by enthusiasm and passion and by the experience they acquired in the field, they decided to pursue the ambitious goal of expanding their products beyond national borders. Under new management, Apollonio has specialized in wine aging and expanded its retailing network. It has widened its range of wine products, with excellence as its objective. Apollonio’s wines are now sold in 35 countries, where they are greatly appreciated as they tell the story of a family and a territory whose identities and authenticity have been left untouched.