Since their arrival from Italy, the Pizzato family have been cultivating vines, and for some time also producing wine in small amounts, which was supplied to the local hospital, recommended as an aid to typhoid treatment. At that time, it was produced from the Bonarda grape, similar to Barbera, brought over from Italy by the immigrants. However, the bulk of the grape production was sold to Vinícola Brasileira (Brazilian Winery), which was located at the premises where Aurora Winery is today.
The activities of Antonio, the Italian immigrant, were carried on by one of his sons, Giovanni, who, besides tending the vineyards, also kept up the wine production, although only for consumption within the family. The largest part of the grape production therefore continued to be sold to the local wineries.
Following in the steps of his grandfather, Nono Giovanni, Plinio Pizzato, a man with a long lasting passion for viti-viniculture, has been growing vines since his teenage years. Initially, Plinio worked with his father on their property in the town of Monte Belo do Sul, moving to the present estate in Vale dos Vinhedos (Vineyard’s Valley) in the late 60’s. He also kept up his grandfather tradition of producing wine for the family’s consumption and selling the bulk of the production for a profit.
The ever-present dream of the Pizzatos – to produce and commercialize fine wines – finally became a reality in 1998, when Plinio Pizzato and his children (Flavio, Flavia, Ivo e Jane) decide to found Pizzato Winery using family resources.
The wine production started in the following year, from grapes harvested in the family’s estate vineyards. The first wine, Pizzato Merlot, of which 15.500 bottles were produced, was launched in the market in September 2000 and soon was receiving enthusiastic reviews from the specialized sector. In that same year, in a professional tasting organized by the Belo Horizonte Wine Academy, with the aim of producing the first guide on Brazilian wines and with Brazilian journalists and wine experts present, Pizzato Merlot was considered the best.
Both Ivo and Flavio Pizzato, the wine makers responsible for the viti-viniculture process, graduated in Enology from the Escola Agrotécnica Federal Presidente Juscelino Kubitscheck. As well as training in several local wineries, Ivo also received extra technical practice in Bordeaux.