Olive Garden has begun pouring its newest wine, the Head to Head Rosé, made especially for the brand from grapes grown in the lush vineyards of Sicily, Italy. Expected to appeal especially to millennial women, the rosé was created by siblings Giulia and Andrea Zingarelli of the renowned Rocca delle Macíe winery in Tuscany. The wine has a “young touch,” Giulia said.
As the new generation at Rocca delle Macíe, Giulia and Andrea are working closely with their parents, winery owners Sergio and Daniela, to shape the winery’s path in the years ahead. With their Head to Head Rosé, the siblings have put their fingerprints on the next generation of wine — and possibly on future generations of Olive Garden guests.
Italian-style rosés are drier than the other rosés on Olive Garden’s menu, Giulia said. Made from carefully selected Sangiovese grapes, the new wine perfectly complements Olive Garden’s classic Italian dishes.
Head to Head Rosé is brilliant coral pink and features intense, complex red fruit aromas dominated by apple and cherry notes. The sun and warmth of Sicily give the wine a smooth and aromatic taste, balanced by the freshness that comes from the grapes’ acidity.
“Rosé is trending now,” said Robyn Albert, director of beverage strategy at Olive Garden. “We wanted to launch our new wine in summer because rosés are refreshing in hot weather. And bringing in Giulia, a female millennial herself, made for a perfect partnership to develop the new wine.”
Olive Garden has partnered with the Zingarelli family since 1995 to create wines especially for its guests. The Zingarellis are proud to be a treasured part of Olive Garden’s family. “I have grown up alongside Olive Garden,” Giulia said. “Each Olive Garden restaurant is like a little piece of Italy in the United States. I hope people who dine at Olive Garden will remember Italy if they have already visited or get inspired to plan a trip to discover a land full of history, culture, food and wine.”
Many Olive Garden team members and managers have seen the Rocca delle Macíe winery while experiencing Italy’s food and culture at the Culinary Institute of Tuscany. Each year, more than 150 top performers get to learn cooking techniques and wine pairings while immersed in the country that inspires Olive Garden. In addition to the winery, the institute includes a bed and breakfast, a guest house, a pool, a kitchen and a restaurant. Giulia also keeps six jumping and race horses nearby. “My horses help me relax after a long day of work.”
Winemaking sounds glamorous, but it’s hard work, she said. In winter, the vines are pruned and prepared for harvest. In spring and summer, the work in the vineyards is more strenuous as workers ensure that the grapes are perfect. “Autumn is the most important season, when we wake early each morning to check the grapes and watch the weather so we can decide when to harvest them. Making the wine is the final step after much work on the vineyard and in the cellar.
“Winemaking gives us great satisfaction because we aren’t just producing something to drink, we are crafting an experience. Each glass is a taste of our countryside.”