The Vinoteca al Chianti was founded in 1998 by Andrea Formigli as part of a family project. The Formigli, owners of the Selezione Fattorie distribution company and with a long involvement in the wholesale market of quality wine and olive oil, wished to create, in an area totally lacking in a structure of this type, an emporium which would launch a message of quality wine, olive oil, spirits, and gastronomy and offer fine products which would both find discerning customers and raise the cultural level of its clientele as well.
In addition to a store to sell these products, there was a strong desire to create a space where wines could be sampled and tasted with the fine foods of Italy's artisans, part of the country's enormous cultural patrimony. The greater experience and the higher level of awareness now present in Italy's younger generation, not to speak of the normal curiosity of visitors to Italy, require that customers be offered the possibility of sampling the products, of lingering over the wine which has been poured, of discussing it with the others present, of observing its fine points and subtleties and enjoying the dialogue and different points of view. The possibility of tasting is also of essential importance to help understand the tastes of customers and assist them in avoiding mistakes in their purchases. An emporium of this type was intended to be a lively place, a place for dialogue and discussion, an area which reflected the professionalism of its owners and their desire to raise the cultural level of their customers and their zone, to spread the appreciation and knowledge of Italy's grand tradition in wine.
Fortune would have that premises with vaulted ceilings of old bricks from nearby Impruneta, a center of high quality terracotta production, was found, and with arches which divide the space - which was thoroughly renovated - into a series of smaller rooms which create a sense of warmth and intimacy reinforced by the wood fixtures and the terracotta. The display structures were planned in a way that made it possible to store the bottles in a horizontal position, with only one upright and visible, avoiding the sensation of a series of small cubbyholes for the wines which characterizes so many wine shops. Further decoration included furniture and objects of the peasant culture of Tuscany, scrupulously cleaned and repaired by an artisan from Florence.
The location of the emporium could not be more convenient: in Bottai, right at the foot of the magnificent, historic Charterhouse of Florence, on the old Via Cassia, the road which once joined Rome to Florence, a mere 500 yards from the A1 super highway exit of Firenze-Certosa. The site is at the very gates of the Florence, right where the city's renowned beauties come into view. Bottai takes its name from the word "botte" or cask: this is where Florence's coopers were once located and made the casks for Tuscany's famous wines.
The name Vinoteca al Chianti was chosen because this was a place of transit for those travelling towards from Florence Chianti. Five hundred yards down the road is the village of Tavarnuzze, named for the taverne - the taverns - where Chianti was served to travellers who wished to rest and relax. The Vinoteca's symbol is the black rooster, which recalls both Chianti Classico as a zone and the nearby town of Galluzzo, which takes its name from gallo (rooster), and also uses a black rooster as its emblem. The rooster perches on a goblet of wine, the symbol of the Vintners Guild of Florence, founded in the year 1264. The name Vinoteca is meant to distinguish the emporium from an Enoteca and indicate that this is a place where wine is meant to be tasted; it also recalls similar names in foreign languages (Vinoteque - Vinoteck), which should give pleasure to the many visitors and foreign guests who come to Florence.
For us, wine is something which moves and impassions, part of a whole larger world of quality and culture.