It was 1958 when her father Silvio Nardi, entrepreneur in the mechanical agricultural sector in the Upper Tiber River Valley, produced the first bottle of “Brunello di Montalcino” from the winery of the Casale del Bosco.
In 1985 Emilia Nardi began working in the company, the youngest daughter, and she began working in management in 1990. She, together with her brothers decided to introduce radical changes in the wine production process and in the company management: she gave the go-ahead to begin restructuring the vineyards and the winery, choosing to use tradition together with scientific research. The winery Silvio Nardi with its 36 vineyards is a leading company today and the head of the company is Emilia.
by Cristina Crisci
Emilia, you’ve been the leader of this company in Montalcino since 1985. How did this career as entrepreneur in the wine business begin?
«Being a family company, it’s hard to talk about career, however it all started by chance: the secretary broke a leg and I was given the job of taking her place, then I stayed. I had already developed a great love for the countryside, wine is fascinating and can even capture the attention of a 20-year-old girl, which I was at the time… besides that, it gave me the opportunity to travel and since I had studied at a linguistics secondary school it all fit me well».
The biggest difficulty that you have had to face?
«The sense of loneliness, an entrepreneur and an administrator of a company often feels alone, especially when making choices that involve other people».
Your biggest satisfaction?
«It is this: even though I am my father’s daughter, the company has grown a lot. It has new products and its earnings after 30 years have grown, so I haven’t just inherited it».
What’s the situation like for Italian wines in the world? And what are the new markets?
«Asia and Oceania are the markets where we need to grow more, not with high numbers but the perception of Italian wines is establishing itself. There has been a lot of fragmentation in the promotion of national wines that are not always well known, but we have many kinds of wine, something that other countries don’t have».
Woman, entrepreneur, central Italy: which challenges do you want to win?
«I come from the 70s and 80s when there was a strong emancipation of the female role in the world. At the moment I see a step back. About future challenges: I hope that all these shows that put beauty at the centre don’t stir up a deterioration in the woman-person in all her completion».
The crisis in Italy: in your opinion are we close to recovery?
«I think Italy still has to face too many topics. In my opinion we need to free work much more, the reform of the government was important, but at its base it was poorly interpreted and today the situation is that the entrepreneurs don’t feel like they can hire anyone with a permanent contract. There are too many super structures».
Vineyards and wine production in the Upper Tiber River Valley: did you ever think?
«The Upper Tiber River Valley has a natural vocation for white wines and especially for vin santo (sweet wine). We don’t exclude this but for now we are concentrating on the Montalcino».
Have you ever felt discriminated against in the working sector, for the sole reason of being a woman?
«Yes, plenty of times».
Your experience to serve citizens with a commitment at an institutional level: is it possible or is it only utopia?
«I think that a career as an entrepreneur is complete when you are at the service of the community. However, at an institutional and political level no, it’s not for me. When you manage a company you need to be a direct person, and not very diplomatic; it’s something that does not conform to the Italian political situation».
Your favourite wine?
«Apart from the one I produce and which costs me too much effort to enjoy it in peace… a good Chianti with flavours of iris is one I appreciate with much enjoyment».
What do you put next to that bottle of wine?
«Friendship and conviviality».
To a woman who desires to become a successful entrepreneur, what do you advise?
«To be a serious woman and to express yourself as such, don’t use your femininity but your head».
Emilia Nardi, outside of the office: how do you spend your free time? What are you passionate about?
«Right now I am very involved with the Rotary Club of Città di Castello (of which she is president, editor’s note). I love gardening, I read a lot, I like living in the countryside and listening to music».