A Focus on Design and Sustainability in Pursuit of Perfect EVOO

In the Umbrian hills, two families are working to preserve the ancient heritage of an endemic cultivar while embracing modernity with a new mill and tourism operation.
Photo: Miriam Cinaglia
Mar. 19, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Dedication to the land com­bined with an empha­sis on beauty, design, tech­nol­ogy and envi­ron­ment serves as the creed of the Cinaglia fam­ily.

The fam­ily is one half of the force behind Centumbrie. This young but expe­ri­enced com­pany is flour­ish­ing in the ver­dant hills sur­round­ing Trasimeno Lake, a breath­tak­ing loca­tion in the cen­tral Italian region of Umbria.

Along with grow­ing 30 hectares of olive groves on their 140-hectare estate, the Cinaglia fam­ily has a diverse and organic agri­cul­tural port­fo­lio, main­tain­ing the native for­est and green­houses while grow­ing wheat, legumes and other types of fruit and rais­ing poul­try and cat­tle.

Along with their focus on high-qual­ity agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, the fam­ily has restored its ancient farm­houses to serve as guest accom­mo­da­tions, focus­ing on ambi­tious archi­tec­ture that blends inno­va­tion and hos­pi­tal­ity.

See Also: Producer Profiles

These efforts, the fam­ily empha­sized, focus on beauty and design, offer­ing tourists some of the region’s most enchant­ing views together with a farm-to-table food culi­nary expe­ri­ence. However, owner Miriam Cinaglia told Olive Oil Times that it did not hap­pen overnight.

We started by restor­ing the farm­houses and ancient build­ings sur­rounded by those beau­ti­ful olive groves,” she said. Over time, we teamed up with local young pro­fes­sion­als and trans­formed the olive groves into a high-qual­ity olive oil pro­duc­tion project. This is how the Centumbrie com­pany was born.”

One of the first steps of the project was to con­struct a new mill, which was an archi­tec­tural and design exper­i­ment con­ceived to allow the olive trans­for­ma­tion process to hap­pen in a loca­tion shared with a shop and a trendy restau­rant.

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Restaurant, tasting room and mill are all contained within Centumbrie’s new and modern building.

The COVID-19 pan­demic forced us to sus­pend our bistro oper­a­tions,” Cinaglia said. But vis­i­tors can still wit­ness the mis­sion of our com­pany, which is to offer a range of high-qual­ity prod­ucts from this beau­ti­ful ter­ri­tory to our cus­tomers.”

Another part of her family’s mis­sion is to empha­size the qual­ity and trace­abil­ity of every­thing they offer.

With Centumbrie, you can count on a short sup­ply chain, local prod­ucts, extra vir­gin olive oil processed by the most advanced machin­ery and rec­og­nized pro­fes­sion­als,” she said. It’s a way to let the world appre­ci­ate Umbria’s trea­sures.”

Olive oil pro­duc­tion is essen­tial to the far­m’s oper­a­tions and last year, Centumbrie’s monocul­ti­var Frantoio won a Gold Award at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

See Also: Best Olive Oils From Italy

Along with Frantoio, the fam­ily also grows Moraiolo and Leccino olives, both of which con­tribute to the pro­duc­tion of their PDO Umbria Colli del Trasimeno.

The fam­ily also grows the rare Dolce Agogia cul­ti­var, which is endemic to the east­ern shores of Trasimeno Lake and holds a very spe­cial place in their hearts.

While sev­eral leg­ends sur­round its ancient past, Dolce Agogia might have been named because it used to be har­vested very late in the sea­son, Cinaglia said, so that olives with lower lev­els of polyphe­nols would taste sweeter.

Dolce Agogia is the focus of one of our lat­est ini­tia­tives, which com­bine our ancient olive oil with the evoca­tive ances­tral pot­tery of our local part­ner, the Endiadi ceramic artists,” she added.

In a 35-sec­ond video, a bal­le­rina dances among the olive trees to pro­mote their lim­ited-edi­tion offer­ing: L’Approdo, a monocul­ti­var Gran Cru Dolce Agogia. The oil has already been rec­og­nized by the Slow Food Foundation as a high-qual­ity prod­uct unique to Umbria that is at risk of extinc­tion.

The extra vir­gin olive oil is pack­aged in his­toric ceramic bot­tles and is avail­able in two col­ors – the color of the lake or the land,” Cinaglia said.

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The Cinaglia family.

She added that every­one involved in the pro­duc­tion, from the bal­le­rina and video crew to the ceramic artists, are young, local pro­fes­sion­als.

While beauty and design have played a vital role in the devel­op­ment of Centumbrie, advanced man­age­ment of the entire pro­duc­tion chain is the foun­da­tion of the company’s extra vir­gin olive oil and its suc­cess.

When we receive olives for the trans­for­ma­tion, we first dis­card all the olives that do not reach our min­i­mum qual­ity stan­dards,” Luca Mencaglia, Centumbrie’s mill man­ager and ole­ol­o­gist, told Olive Oil Times. That goes both for the olives we grow and those har­vested by the farm­ers with whom we work.”

Once only the best olives have been selected, they go on to the company’s state-of-the-art mill, which boasts two sep­a­rate pro­duc­tion lines. These allow Mencaglia to tai­lor the trans­for­ma­tion process of each oil pre­cisely.

They are inde­pen­dent pro­duc­tion lines that mostly work with spe­cific and per­son­al­ized machin­ery,” he said. We can choose to use one or the other to obtain dif­fer­ent results, needed to ful­fill the require­ments for our extra vir­gin olive oils.”

After the oil has been pro­duced, it is stored at 16 ºC using best prac­tices to pre­vent oxi­da­tion. The oils are then bot­tled in dark brown glass bot­tles entirely wrapped in the company’s label to avoid oxi­da­tion by light to the best of their abil­i­ties.

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Centumbrie’s state-of-the-art mill.

Their PDO Umbria Colli del Trasimeno is even wrapped in a dou­ble black coat­ing to pre­serve its con­tents for as long as pos­si­ble.

Part of Centumbrie’s suc­cess so far has been its abil­ity to sus­tain­ably exploit and uti­lize the nat­ural beauty of the hilly land­scape sur­round­ing Trasimeno Lake. Therefore, pre­serv­ing this nat­ural beauty and pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment is an essen­tial aspect of their busi­ness plan.

Sergio Rutili, Centumbrie’s gen­eral direc­tor, told Olive Oil Times that the com­pany sources its energy from a 300-kilo­watt pho­to­voltaic plant, which low­ers its car­bon foot­print sig­nif­i­cantly.

Our work is focused on the preser­va­tion of the envi­ron­ment,” Rutili said. That is true in all our pro­duc­tion processes and we even took advan­tage of the harsh times of this pan­demic to accel­er­ate sev­eral inno­v­a­tive projects, such as the reuse of olive pro­cess­ing waste­waters.”


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