Gianfranco Soldera the founder


Il nostro appetito di vita è vorace,
la nostra sete di vita insaziabile

Lucrezio, De rerum natura, III, 1084



Gianfranco Soldera was born in Treviso on 29 January 1937.

When he was a child, he and his family moved to Milan.

At the start of the 1960s he founded one of the first insurance brokerage companies in Italy, which he ran until 2003.

His family, by tradition, had always been passionate about the land and wine and, at the end of the 1960s, he and his wife Graziella, a flower and plant enthusiast, decided to buy some land with the intention of producing one of the best wines in the world.

The search for land with suitable characteristics for this purpose proved long and hard. Then in June 1972, Gianfranco and Graziella discovered Montalcino and Case Basse.

The 23-hectare estate of Case Basse had been uncultivated for years.

There weren’t any vines on the land, but the estate was perfect for cultivating large vineyards.

Splendid for its beauty, light and position: a hilly terrain of Eocene origin, at an elevation of 320 m, in a southwesterly position.

They bought it two months later and in autumn planted the first vineyard of about 2 hectares with Sangiovese, then in 1972 a second one of about 4.5 hectares.

The first vintage was in 1975 and it confirmed all the family’s extraordinary quality expectations.

In 1982 they sold their first Brunello, which marked the start of business relations in Italy and abroad, with the aim of reaching everywhere where there are connoisseurs of great, long-aged natural wines.

Today, despite limited production, Soldera wines are known and distributed to over 40 countries.

His thirst for knowledge and his insatiable curiosity steered his interests towards every branch of knowledge.

He was a tireless reader of various literary genres: classic adventures and thrillers in his youth; essays on history, economics and current affairs as an adult.

He loved classical music, especially Mozart. He followed jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Louis Amstrong.

Even during the difficult years after the war, he never missed the chance to see to opera and he loved to go to the theatre a lot. Shakespeare, Molière and Pirandello, Carmelo Bene, Dario Fo and Ferruccio Soleri, the unforgettable Harlequin. Then cinema, where he often loved to go alone. Memorable Italian neorealist films, Visconti and Fellini, then Anna Magnani and Vittorio Gassman.

Exhibitions and art galleries were another of his passions: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Picasso.

He passed on his passion for every form of art to his family.

He wasn’t sporty, but he liked to follow sport, especially football – he was an Inter Milan fan – and cycling.

He devoted his free time to knowledge and learning and he would get the family together around the table at celebrations to appreciate good food and great wines.

The search for knowledge also influenced his professional activity and was always intimately linked to his personality. Therefore, natural winegrowing at Case Base has been supported by innovative studies and collaborations with various research institutes.

He and his wife Graziella set up the International Soldera Case Basse Award for Young Researchers with Prof Mario Fregoni in 2010, to support young researchers.

After Gianfranco Soldera passed away in February 2019, the family continued the business in full respect of the principles and founding values of Case Basse.

The excellence of the product according to nature, enhancing the ecosystem and garden, investments in research and innovation and support for young researchers all make up the winery’s DNA.

Graziella Soldera, Monica and Paolo, Mauro and Valeria are strengthening this character today and will enhance it in future with renewed passion, each of them enriching it with their own personality.

Memories of Gianfranco Soldera

I met Franco over thirty years ago. And since then the faith he had in me was on a par with my friendship. In this long period of deep mutual esteem, I believe I helped him to create many great wines

Giulio Gambelli, December 2005

My relationship with Gianfranco began through work, over eleven years ago. His passion and love for wine, and the pride in his product of the vine, prompted him to study the microorganisms that transform his grapes into something unique, with extraordinary aromas and flavours. Since then his curiosity as a producer continued to feed and expand my curiosity as a scholar. And the relationship that formed, became a harmonious union between passion, experience and science.

Massimo Vincenzini, November 2005

Case Basse is a paradise on earth. And Gianfranco is its patriarch. You need to know him to understand the personality of this man, his love for the land and wine. He is open to innovation, but always respects tradition. He is sensitive to research projects.
The man, the land, the wine, a trilogy that Soldera has melded in an original cru that stands out from all the rest, because it reflects the character and passion of the producer and the terroir.

Maro Fregoni, November 2005