WINERY LOCATION: Main winery in Castelfidardo (Ancona province), Marche; Verdicchio winery in Serra de’ Conti (Ancona province), Marche
VINEYARD LOCATION: Montecarotto (Jesi area), Paterno and Piancarda (Mount Cònero area), and Castelfidardo (near Loreto), all in Ancona province, Marche
VINEYARD LAND: 124 acres (51 ha) owned
GRAPE VARIETIES: Verdicchio and Montepulciano; smaller amounts of Sangiovese and Trebbiano Toscano
WINE STYLES: Dry white; dry white frizzante; dry white sparkling; dry red; dry rosato
TOTAL WINE PRODUCTION: 2,000,000 bottles (1,500,000 liters)
OWNER(S): Carlo and Gianfranco Garofoli
WINEMAKER(S): Carlo Garofoli

The city of Loreto in Marche is the site of the Basilica della Santa Casa, one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites during the Middle Ages and still among the most visited pilgrimage churches today. The basilica was built around a small house that is said to be the very structure in which the Virgin Mary was born and where Jesus was conceived and raised. According to tradition, the house was flown out of Nazareth in Palestine by angels before that city fell to Muslim forces during the Crusades, and it eventually wound up at the current location in Loreto. As such, untold thousands of the faithful have traveled from far and wide to see and pray at the Santa Casa (Holy House) over the centuries. 

The pilgrims who came to Loreto were some of the world’s first mass tourists, and like the tourists of today, they needed places to stay and to eat. Inns and taverns sprang up around the pilgrimage sites to serve the needs of the visitors. In Loreto, along the main road entering the town from the north, one such inn was owned by Antonio Garofoli in the mid-19th century. In 1871, Garofoli began making wine to quench the pilgrims’ temporal thirst, beginning a long family tradition. Thirty years later, his son Gioacchino founded a full-scale winery operation. The winery expanded commercially after World War II as Casa Vinicola Gioacchino Garofoli with national and European distribution beginning in 1950. 

The winery is now run by the fourth and fifth generations—brothers Carlo and Gianfranco Garofoli and their three children Gianluca, Caterina, and Beatrice. Garofoli today has four family-owned vineyards totaling 128 acres: at the family’s base in Castelfidardo outside Loreto, in the Castelli di Jesi growing area for Verdicchio in Montecarotto, in Paterno in the Rosso Cònero denomination, and the Piancarda vineyard within the Mount Cònero Regional Nature Park. The family also buys grapes from growers who have sold their entire output to Garofoli for many years. There are two production facilities, at Castelfidardo and Montecarotto.

Garofoli makes an extensive range of wines typical of the Marche region. The winery is best known for its Verdicchio-based dry white wines, which range from still to sparkling. Carlo Garofoli is well known as an innovator in the region, leading the way in such practices as aging Verdicchio wines, using 100% Verdicchio rather than blending, using standard wine bottles rather than the old-time “amphora”-type bottles, and bottling a single-vineyard Verdicchio (Podium). The Podium Verdicchio has been rewarded with Tre Bicchieri by Gambero Rosso 15 times and remains one of the most lauded white wines in Italy to this day. 

The winery also makes a significant amount of Montepulciano-based red and rosato wines and some Sangiovese. Of note in this group is “Grosso Agontano,” another multiple Tre Bicchieri award winner. In addition to the Garofoli-labeled wines, the winery also makes simple white and red blend wines under the Antica Osteria label, which harkens back to the family’s origins as innkeepers for the Loreto pilgrims.