Camilla Lunelli knows a thing or two about sparkling wines. As Communications Director of Gruppo Lunelli, she represents the third generation of the Lunelli family to manage Italian sparkling wine house Ferrari Trento.
But her interests go beyond bubbles. With experience working with humanitarian aid programs in Africa, including a posting in Niger for the United Nations, Lunelli is always thinking about how to effect meaningful change. Wine Enthusiast caught up with her to talk about what that means at Gruppo Lunelli, plus some fun insights into what makes her tick.
What do you wish you knew when you started working in the industry?
My formal education was very focused on technical content and very low on soft skills and emotional intelligence. There was very little group work. There was not even much instruction in public speaking or organizational management. I wish the system had offered me more holistic training.
The system does seem to be changing slightly nowadays. I wish the approach of my formal education had trained me to focus more on team performance than on individual results. I have shifted my management style to an environment more favorable to group success.
When I started working, I expected the wine industry to be more male-dominated, but I really didn’t encounter this resistance. As I started growing older, however, I realized just how much our society—not only in the wine industry—expects mothers to shoulder the burden of childcare. I believe we have a responsibility to move faster in reducing the gender gap, mainly for working mothers.
Ferrari achieved carbon neutrality last year. What does that mean for the winery?
We consider ourselves, in our role as vine growers, to be custodians of the land. This means we have a strong connection to our territory, which we honor and maintain alongside our pursuit of excellence. We look toward the future, holding fast to our conviction that a company should not produce only profit, but also well-being, security and beauty for all its members, including its staff, its stakeholders and the entire community that sustains it. We have always been ethically focused, but we only codified our mission recently.
As for myself, I have a strong social and environmental mission. This is the motivation that pushed me to go to live in Africa and dedicate myself to humanitarian work early in my career.
Ferrari Trento celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2022. How is it preparing for the next 120 years?
Our main goal is to further enhance the quality of our Trentodoc sparkling wines. To do so, we invest in research and technology, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. In the context of global warming, we plant our new vineyards—which are organic, as are all our estate vineyards—higher in altitude on the slopes of the Trentino mountains. In this way we guarantee the acidity and finesse with is necessary to have elegant, long-lived sparkling wines.
On top of this, at the corporate level, we focus on three aspects that we consider important for the long-term success of our winery:
- Regulating all the aspects of the relationship between the family and company, so that the family is an added value and not a constraint. We hold regular meetings among the family members. We set standards for the next generation that aspires to managerial positions. We explain what being a shareholder is and what being a manager is, so they are prepared if/when they enter the company.
- Expanding our international presence so we can face the future as a much more international company than we were before. In particular, we are leveraging our international event sponsorships, such as Formula 1, to build and maintain our brand awareness.
- Working on attracting talent and developing the managerial skills of our people. We put a lot of focus on the strength of our company culture so that we can be attractive to managerial talent.
Who’s the most underrated person in drinks?
The entire retail sector. Our industry tends to look up to sommeliers as the standard-bearers for wine education, and indeed they are very important. Yet a very high level of professionalism is also found among those who work in the retail sector, which is sometimes overlooked. Retail professionals are also crucial partners in educating consumers about wine.
You’re at a dive bar. What do you order?
You know something I really love? Tonic water. It reminds me of the time I spent living in Niger, an Islamic country where alcohol is less popular. A potential bonus: It contains quinine, and I never did get malaria! My favorite is Tassoni.
Published: January 25, 2023