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We went to Furore, in the “Terra Furoris”, to interview Andrea Ferraioli, the owner together with his wife, of Marisa Cuomo Winery, one of the excellences of the Amalfi Coast.

by Vittoria Samaria

It’s an endless love story, that of Andrea Ferraioli and Marisa Cuomo for their land, the Amalfi Coast, a land that is as divine as impervious and difficult to tame. High cliffs overlooking the sea, where farmers over the centuries have heroically learned to snatch small parcels of land from the mountains by using “dry stone walls” - that became a World Heritage site in 2018 - and “furoresi” pergolas to enable the growth of the classic DOC wines of the area: Falanghina, Biancolella, Aglianico, Per ‘e Palumm, Ginestra, Fenile, Ripoli e Tintore.
Here, as in fairy tales, a knight gives his fief to his bride, and the company “Marisa Cuomo Winery” is born. An excellency in the Italian wine industry, this company produces wines with a rich medal collection: Furore Bianco, Ravello Rosso and Bianco, Costa d’Amalfi Rosso, Rosato and Bianco and the award-winning Furore Rosso, Furore Rosso Riserva and Fiorduva, a white wine from the category Vini Estremi (Extreme Wines).

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Interview  with Andrea Ferraioli - Marisa Cuomo Winery

Let's start from here: “Marisa Cuomo Wine Cellars” is a wedding gift you gave to your wife Marisa in 1983. In a man's world, you gift your father's Gran Furore Divina Costiera, dating 1942, to your wife. Tell us more about this romantic story!

Yes, it is indeed a magnificent story that got lost in the 60s/70s. After acquiring my family business I decided to dedicate it to my wife Marisa and I announced so on our wedding day, to all the guests present. At the time only very few people understood it but, as a man of the sea, I am used to look beyond the horizon. Today I could define myself as a forerunner for gender equality. In 39 years of divine and wine history, my wife and I gathered unexpected successes in Italy and worldwide. It hasn't been easy because we are in a geomorphological disadvantaged territory, an extreme and heroic one. Working in an unmechanized and non-mechanizable area is really difficult.

This territory is so special, it enters powerfully in the Marisa Cuomo company. Maybe it does so in all the excellent companies of the Amalfi Coast...

Amalfi Coast is, thankfully, a World Heritage Site from 1997 and, as such, is rich in various bonds to protect the territory. 

The companies, both of the wine and citrus sector, do their part with great responsibility because with their tireless work they endeavor to save it from instability, degradation, fire, and many more atavistic problems. They ensure that here, what is happening in many other Italian territories, does not happen.      

Where are your vineyards? Are they all here in Furore?

Of the 40 hectares of vineyard that we currently manage, almost half of it is directly managed by the Marisa Cuomo farm, a branch of the production and transformation winery Marisa Cuomo. We receive and transform grapes from about 62 suppliers. In the gathering of these grapes, we are doing a tremendous task: safeguarding, with our working method, the entire area of the Amalfi Coast. 

The grapes we use come from vineyards of 10 of the 13 municipalities of the Coast.
We don’t have vineyards in Atrani and Maiori. Not even in Positano, but we count on having them there soon.

A territory that is difficult, but that has as well proven great resistance, with its vineyard managing to escape important microbiological attacks. Could you tell us more about that?

We’ve never wanted to apply the method of grubbing and replanting vineyards. We did no more than respect this liana by breeding it like it is always be done in these territories. 

Not running after the didactic we have especially made a significant work: safeguard dozens of vineyards that otherwise would have disappeared with the introduction of national and international vines. Our pride, instead, is to be able to keep in a field catalog established in ‘95, 42 vineyards all from Furore: 28 white grape ones and 14 red grape ones. 

Anyway, the most important peculiarity is another one: we made sure to be careful not to destroy but especially we have been focused on preserving from degradation and abandonment those pre-phylloxera centuries-old strains that in our country, unique worldwide, were cultivated on the vertical dry stone walls and then laid on these structure made with chestnut poles, Amalfi’s or Furore’s pergolas. In there the vine, being a liana, stretched for a dozen of meters, reaching also 30 meters of vegetation and woods. And today we collect the results. 

The Coast is unique not only for its biodiversity but also for its people. Here you have also invested in workmanship. Winemakers have been trained. How did all of this happen?

Finding workmanship in this sector is impossible. To create our team I put in charge an agronomist from Amalfi that has been working with us for 15 years. I gave him the job of training the farmers.
Today the average age of my collaborators is over 50 years old. In 10 years I could have not enough workmanship. So I decided to create a sort of winegrowing school.

This is not the kind of territory where big businesses want to invest, as it happens in Tuscany and Sicily. Those who decide to invest have to measure themselves, but first of all with the territory. 

This territory is difficult, it can be used properly only by those who are born here.

Let’s talk about these heroic wines, extreme wines, reclaimed from these extreme territories. We know that there are 9 labels and an award-winning wine.  

We have 9 labels, in two different sub-areas: Furore and Ravello. We have a Costa d’Amalfi that we make from Tramonti, Cetara and Vietri sul Mare grapes, white and red wines, and also a rose that was historically made by my family.  We presented it 8 years ago and it has been very successful since. This year it won in an international competition, the one in Bruxelles, and in addition to winning the gold medal in its category, it also won the “Best Rose” prize of the competition. 

So the Rose is making its way in the family of the 9, which includes the award-winner one. Could you tell us more about it?

The champion is always the Fiorduva. To introduce it, I like to quote a phrase that has become its slogan: “Un vino appassionato che sa di roccia e di mare” (litt. a passionate wine that tastes of rocks and sea). This phrase was pronounced in 2001 by the great Gino Veronelli that while tasing this wine remembered his past, especially when in 1965, during a journey in the Amalfi Coast saw my sister and me, playing happily, hand in hand.

This wine impressed him because it wasn’t the usual wine from the usual territory…and so he described it with these amazing words. 

What can I say about Fiorduva: It is not the best wine, but it is a unique wine for sure! 

After many awards, honors, and national and international recognition, what’s next for Marisa Cuomo?

There are still many things to do. Let’s say that the strength of our company is in my entrepreneurial dynamism. 

The company keeps on growing and we keep on being inclusive towards those farmers who see an opportunity in us. We always face difficulties in finding areas for wine processing and for everything that results from commercialization. For this reason, in the near future, there is the construction of a wine cellar in Agerola where we will have the opportunity to create a little center of communication and marketing as well. 

We care for the territory, we care for the families and this is widely recognized. I am happy because in 39 years, divine and of wine, Marisa and I have done really well. 

But our greatest achievement, our best harvest, is always our family: our children Raffaele e Dorotea have become the soul of our winery, together with our 5 nephews.  

What role does Marisa Cuomo play in the Amalfi Cost tourism?

We have done something that will go down in history, but it is the territory that will benefit the most of it. 

The tourists coming to Amalfi Coast, stay here for a week and after wandering in Capri, Pompei, and Cilento they save/cut out a day to taste our wines. We enriched the touristic offer by offering an equipped landscape and a real experience. 

It has been 30 years now that we do wine tourism and we have so many visitors that sometimes we’re not able to welcome them all, since spaces are so little in this territory.

Maybe with the new cellar, we will be able to fulfill the demand.

Thank you so much, Andrea, and prosit: to a great future!


The cellars in Furore

Costa d'Amalfi  Wine - Cantine Marisa Cuomo

  • Marisa Cuomo Winery - Furore
    Tours and Tastings
     (+39) 333 4313667

    Booking: From Monday to Saturday 10.00 am - 5.00 pm


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