“Frescobaldi for the Social Good” Positively Impacts Inmates at Gorgona

Lush rolling hills, towering cypress trees, charming villages, olive groves, and sprawling vineyards define the landscape of Tuscany. It is also where you’ll find the exceptional winemaker, Frescobaldi. In a recent trip to Italy, I had an opportunity to experience tastings of their excellent wines, and to learn about Frescobaldi’s devotion to social justice and building their community. 

Gorgona

The history of Frescobaldi dates back centuries to the early 1300s, when the family began making wine in the Tuscany region. They currently have an impressive wine portfolio in a wide range of styles.  Frescobaldi is recognized globally for wines from their estates that include Tenuta Castiglioni, Tenuta Castel Giocondo, Tenuta Perano, Castello Nipozzano, Castello Pomino, Tenuta Ammiraglia, Rémole, and Gorgona.

Frescobaldi’s dedication to the region, the land, and the people of Tuscany has resulted in an exemplary program that has made a positive difference in the lives of many. “Frescobaldi for the Social Good” began a decade ago. The project involved a unique collaboration with the authorities of the penal colony on the island of Gorgona. With the support of Frescobaldi, inmates learn practical viticulture skills. The correctional facility at Gorgona has been on the island since 1869.  It houses fewer than 100 men who are in the last phase of their sentences.

Boat Ride to Gorgona

Gorgona is a beautiful island in the Arcipelago Toscano National Park that is accessed by boat. It lies 20 miles west of the port city of Liverno. Under the tutelage of Frescobaldi agronomists and oenologists, inmates at the correctional facility on the island have restored and cultivated the one-hectare vineyard that was present there since 1999. Frescobaldi has since added an additional 1.3 hectares of vines. The inmates currently manage the vineyards using organic farming techniques to produce the white wine, “Gorgona.”  It is comprised of a blend of Vermentino and Ansonica grapes that are grown in the island’s rocky soil of magmatic origin.

Field with Worker

The project at Gorgona gives the men an opportunity to develop essential skills and a work ethic that will be useful to their futures. Inmates earn money and accumulate  savings while working in the vineyards. Additionally, Frescobaldi regularly employs the men who have participated in the program for one year after their release from Gorgona’s correctional facility. 

Lamberto Frescobaldi

Our group of journalists visited Gorgona for an afternoon. We had a tour of the hilly island and enjoyed a delicious luncheon graciously served by inmates and paired with Gorgona 2021 wine. We also had the opportunity to speak with the Marchesi Frescobaldi President, Lamberto Frescobaldi who lent fascinating insights into his company’s collaborative program. He has immense pride in the individuals who have worked with his Tuscan winery and the positive impact it has made in their lives. Lamberto pointed out that the rate of recidivism for the men was at 0%.  He also related a touching story of how a recently released man proudly used his earned savings from the program to buy his children’s shoes.

Gorgona Wine

There are partners who have embraced Frescobaldi’s vision for the project at Gorgona and have contributed their talents and resources. They include Simonetta Doni of Studio Doni & Associati who specializes in wine labels; Agrotractors, a company founded in 2007 that provided a tractor for the project; Giorgio Pinchiorri, owner of Enoteca Pinchiorri who promotes the island’s rich food and wine heritage in his exclusive restaurant; and Andrea Bocelli who wrote and signed the label for the 2013 vintage of Gorgona wine. 

Blue Skies over Gorgona

The program, “Frescobaldi for the Social Good” at the correction facility on Gorgona is a model for rehabilitation and serves as the finest example of social responsibility, stewardship, and positive action to the people of the region and well beyond. Raise a glass of delightful Gorgona wine, with its elegant expression of hope, to toast a future that has been made much brighter by Frescobaldi. 

Featured photo: Gorgona Vineyards

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Marchesi Frescobaldi

About Marina P. Kennedy (67 Articles)
Marina Kennedy began her writing career when her four children were grown and she returned to college to study in the humanities. She is delighted to be a contributor for Woman Around Town. The majority of her articles focus on the culinary scene, theatre, and travel. Marina and her husband Chuck enjoy the rich cultural experiences of the New York metro area and beyond. She hopes that readers like reading her articles as much as she enjoys writing them.