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Interview with Kyle Krause about his acquisition of Vietti winery in Barolo

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Interview with Kyle Krause about his acquisition of Vietti winery in Barolo
Interview by Mike Tommasi of Kyle Krause, President and CEO of Kum & Go, who has recently acquired the Vietti winery in Barolo. In the photo: Mario Cordero, Tanner Krause, Sharon Krause, Kyle Krause, Elena Penna Currado, Luca Currado.

The news of your recent purchases in Piemonte has the Italian wine world talking. How will your investment in Vietti influence the winery and its wines? Will you be personally involved in determining the style of future Vietti wines?

Luca Currado and Mario Cordero will remain at the helm of Vietti. Nothing will change, except for the potential Luca and Mario will have to utilize additional vineyards that I have purchased over the last two years. They will have access to these additional 12 hectares of cru Barolo vineyards and use them as they see fit—for Castiglione and Perbacco to start, and eventually they may explore another single-vineyard cru bottling.

We plan to work with Luca and Mario at Vietti for a long time, and our deepest hope is that our collaboration will carry on to the next generation. My wife and I own a home in the area and our family will certainly be visiting as much as we can, but we’ll leave it to them to run the day to day business.

Foreign investors have been flocking to Tuscany for decades, but wineries in Piemonte tend to be owned by families with a long history and strong beliefs in tradition. Do you think local winemakers will welcome this transaction, or will they be concerned about local wineries passing under foreign ownership?

Of course some people will judge the transition of ownership, but we’d like to communicate that we are a family who shares Luca and Mario’s values and dedication to the land, the wines, and the people who work for them. We are a family with a heritage of multi-generational businesses. Luca and Mario will continue to run Vietti.

Giancarlo Gariglio of Slowine reported an unofficial $60 million figure and asks if this is the beginning of the end for locally owned wineries in Piemonte; while Alessandro Morichetti of Intravino writes about the “burgundization” of Barolo. Will your investment start a rush for the top properties in Barolo? Can you say a few words about your taste and passion for wine?

I can’t speculate what will happen in Piemonte, nor will I disclose or confirm any financial information. What I can tell you is that we believe Vietti to be the most exciting and dedicated producer in Barolo. We were thrilled that their family agreed to transition ownership, while remaining at the helm of production, operations and distribution. Without their commitment, we would not have made the deal. We share a vision to sustain and improve upon what Luca, Mario, and their preceding generations built.

My family is very passionate about Barolo and Piedmont. I grew up with an Italian-American mother, and was influenced by the culture of food and wine at a young age. When I was little, most of my friends wanted to grow up to be firemen. I wanted to grow up and own a winery. My wife and I were engaged in Italy and subsequently got married there. We’ve made many trips to the region with our children. Since buying a winery in Italy has been a family dream for a long time, we decided to pursue that dream in earnest beginning a few years ago. Since beginning this process a few years ago, in addition to buying Enrico Serafino, which has tremendous potential, we have also purchased approximately 12 hectares of cru vineyards in Barolo. In our opinion, Barolo is the best wine in the world, and through my exploration of the region, I’ve come to love and respect the people and legacy of Barolo and Piedmont. There are so many great things happening in the area, and I love to see that young people are moving back to this area because of the opportunities.

We have the utmost respect for the Luca and Mario and their families, and are really honored to continue to work with them.

Kyle Krause, thank you.

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