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In 1840 in Montegalda: it all began with a woman

The oldest artisan distillery in Italy was founded in 1840 by the Brunello brothers.
It all began with Maria Marzari, one of the first women entrepreneurs in the world of grappa making.

In 1840 in Моntegalda is where the story of the oldest family-run artisan distillery in Italy began. The founder of the dynasty was Bortolo Lotto (1824-1907), a beloved and respected man in the town of Montegalda.

On the ground floor of his Palazzone – the seat of the Brunello distillery to this day – there was a “bruso” (boiler) for the production of liquor, a mill for the production of olive oil and a millstone to grind sulfur.

These three activities allowed him to live comfortably alongside his wife Teresa and their adopted son Pietro Pinaldo (1878 -1904). In 1902, their son married Maria Stella Marzari and together they had a daughter.


In 1904, Pietro Pinaldo died at a young age, followed by his father Bortolo’s death three years later. The business was then passed to Maria, who proved to be a tough woman. She was, in fact, one of the first female entrepreneurs in the world of grappa making. She refined the distillation technique learned from her father-in-law. She worked on the still herself and soon began receiving awards and recognition.

In 1908, she married Giovanni Brunello, with whom she had seven children.

The two sons, Giandomenico and Antonio, were of great comfort and help to their mother Maria in the distillery.

She became a widow again in 1934 and never remarried until her death in 1953.

World War II saw the Brunello brothers involved in two different fronts: Antonio became a lieutenant in the Communication Engineer Corps stationed in southern Italy, while Giandomenico served as a pilot in the 50th Fighter Wing.

At the end of the conflict, they rejoined the family in Montegalda and resumed their work at the distillery.