A Sip of Suvereto at Bulichella Winery in Tuscany

Buiichella Winery vineyards in Suvereto

​​Suvereto, Italy, is home to the Bulichella winery. The vineyard is a virtual “vintner’s blend” of both Italian and Japanese heritage and culture.

The winery is a perfect day trip for wine enthusiasts whose cruise ship stops in the port of Livorno.

The original 62-hectare estate in Suvereto (in the province of Livorno) was founded by four Italian families in 1983. The name of the medieval town—considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy (Borghi più belli d’Italia)—derives from the abundance of cork trees in the surrounding forests.

Bulichella corks in Suvereto
Bulichella corks in Suvereto

Suvereto is located in the Maremma, the coastal area of Tuscany (in the province of Livorno) that borders the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is about two hours southwest of Florence and one hour south of the port city of Livorno.

The unfolding love story of Hideyuki Miyakawa

Hideyuki Miyakawa on his motorbike
Hideyuki Miyakawa on his motorbike (circa 1960)

At the age of 22, a photojournalist named Hideyuki Miyakawa left his native home of Maebashi, Japan, in 1960 to discover the world by motorcycle. After traveling to India, Pakistan, and Europe, the young man’s passion for motorbikes and fast cars meshed with his photography work and brought him to Italy. 

He reported on the Rome Olympics as a reporter for a Japanese publication, and that same year, Hideyuki attended the Turin Motor Show. He was dazzled by a young Italian woman he met, Maria Luisa Bassano (Marisa), dressed in a kimono. 

The couple married two years later on May 5 (considered a day of good luck in Japan) before setting up their home in Turin. Their first child, Mario Yukio was born in 1963, followed by six more siblings.

In Turin, Hideyuki worked with design icons Giorgetto Giugiaro and Aldo Mantovani for almost two decades to help create ItalDesign, a leading Italian firm known for its bold auto design.

Creating a socially responsible winery in Suvereto

Recognizing the potential of land in the heart of Val di Cornia for agricultural production, the couple and their children bought out partners and became sole owners of the Bulichella estate. The family moved to Suvereto permanently, dedicating their passion to wines. 

Their vision was to resurrect the estate’s lineage as a producer of high-quality, organic wines and farm products that respect the land. 

Bulichella lived up to this tradition and its long-standing commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. It has been at the forefront of promoting the wine region through the Val Di Cornia Consortium and has been a leader in local philanthropic efforts

As president of the consortium, Hideyuki Miyakawa was instrumental in the wine region achieving DOCG Sureveto designation in 2012.

The farm was totally renovated with modern technology in 1997 and again in 2001. This three-generation “family business” has grown to seven siblings and their 16 offspring. Family members contribute their varied talents and personal passions in art, design and culture to the enterprise.  

Suvereto: Home of Bulichella wines

Bottles of Bulichella Wines
Bulichella Wines

The Bulichella estate includes 17 hectares of vineyards planted with Vermentino grapes as well as Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. 

Avant-garde at the time, the winery was among the first in the area to receive organic certification. It continues to produce organic PGI extra virgin olive oil as it has done for almost a half-century.

The estate’s growing conditions are ideal thanks to three mineral-rich soils, a Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool nights, and hills allowing consistent sea breezes. 

The estate’s wines are characterized by elegance and balance. Although the area is small, each of the different wines conveys a sense of place because of the microclimates of the terroir.

The wine that best expresses the vineyards, its “jewel,” is Bulichella Montecristo DOCG, a blend of 50% Cabernet, 40 % Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. The fruity wine offers a nice balance of spice and pairs well with meats, cheese and game.

Drawing upon the artistic talents of two of the founder’s nephews, Orso and Nicolò, the winery rebranded all its bottles in 2015, with artwork that translates the family’s story onto the labels. 

Bulichella Montecristo features a line drawing of the young Hideyuki with his motorbike.

Wine tourism in Suvereto

Medieval street in Suvereto Tuscany
Medieval street in Suvereto Tuscany (Adobe stock)

Located between the sweeping hills and the coast, the position of Bulichella Winery in Suvereto has much to offer to tourists—whether they’re visiting for the day or staying longer.

The medieval town of Suvereto

The Town Hall in Suvereto (Adobe Stock)
The Town Hall in Suvereto (Adobe Stock)

The Bulichella Estate is about a one-mile walk from the stone walls and winding alleys of the medieval village of Suvereto.

Here, there are fortress ruins with panoramic views (Rocca Aldobrandesca); the town hall (Palazzo Comunale), whose construction dates back to the 13th century; and the Romanesque Parish Church of San Giusto (Parrocchia Di San Giusto Vescovo).

The San Giusto Museum of Sacred Art features liturgical furnishings, vestments, and sacred paintings and sculptures, including two wooden statues by Lorenzo di Pietro. The Doll Museum offers a diverse collection of dolls from different periods and showcases their changing styles.

Immersion in nature

A relaxing stay immerse in nature
A relaxing stay immersed in nature

The placid, natural setting of the Maremma is a far throw from the heavily touristed cities and towns in Tuscany. 

Here, nature takes center stage at the forested Montioni Interprovincial Park and Sterpaia Nature Park, both of which can also be explored by foot or bicycle.

Farm stays

Open year-round, the Bulichella Estate offers accommodations for relaxing stays amidst the vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees. 

The agriturismo complex features 6 rooms with baths overlooking the farm; 8 rooms with baths at Gabella, a two-story farmhouse; and 4 apartments with amenities. A buffet breakfast includes local and homemade products. 

Gabella, the two-story farmhouse on the grounds of the Bulichella Winery
Gabella, the two-story farmhouse on the grounds of the Bulichella Winery

The property has a small lake, and beaches and thermal baths are in close proximity. Hiking trails lead to Suvereto, Monte Calvi, and Belvedere.

Of course, wine enthusiasts will want to arrange tastings and tours of the cellar to learn more about the winemakers, the land, and the wines. 

Contemporary Bulichella Wine Shop in Suvereto
Contemporary Bulichella Wine Shop

Winemaker Industry publication Canopy has called the winery “one of the most important and promising estates on the Tuscan Coast.” 

A visit to charming Suvereto and a tasting at this family-owned winery can make an excellent day trip for those on cruise ships stopping at Livorno or those who want to stay longer and explore a unique corner of Tuscany. 

All photo credits: Bulichella Winery (unless otherwise shown)

An earlier version of this article previously appeared on Forbes.com




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