This year marked the 25th anniversary since Marina Colonna established her head office at Masseria Bosco Pontoni, a district of San Martino, Molise.
“I started to take care of the commercial aspects of the company long before I moved in here,” she told Olive Oil Times. “In 1986, I came up with the bottle, and that is where it all started.”
It is constructive to make people aware of what lies behind a quality product and show them the territory from which it comes.
To commemorate her bond with the land, Colonna created Molensis XXV, which won a Silver Award at the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition. The limited edition medium blend combines Gentile di Larino, Leccino and Rosciola olives.
“It is always exciting for us to be part of this great event,” Colonna said. “We are pleased to have received recognition for our quality work.”See Also: Producer Profiles
All of her products come in the iconic vessel that she dreamt up and designed. A historic glass factory developed her project, shaping a bottle that has since become the hallmark of Colonna’s extra virgin olive oil.
“I reached out to Giovanni Bartolozzi of Vetreria Etrusca, who helped refine and implement my intuition,” she said. “The idea of that special profile came to me looking at a home accessory, namely a curtain cord knob.”
This detail says a lot about the far-reaching yet pragmatic attitude of Colonna. She had a promising career as a documentary filmmaker ahead of her. However, after speaking with her father, Francesco, she decided to take some time off to help him reorganize the family company.
Colonna had traveled extensively, exploring remote parts of the world, and stayed in touch with unspoiled nature. This experience played a crucial part in broadening her creative vision.
Less than a year after she arrived at the company, she launched her first product line, obtaining excellent results and a great sense of responsibility, which pushed her to continue with the new career path.
“I realized that a quality job requires presence,” Colonna said. “I think that once you start down a path, you have to move on doing the best you can. You cannot back down from the challenge. Either you do, or you don’t.”
Not only did she take up the challenge, but she also upped the stakes, contributing to the creation of one of the first trade shows dedicated to the olive oil sector. Enhancing the reputation of ‘Made in Italy’ in the world, she emerged as one of its leading figures.
Today, extra virgin olive oil is the flagship product of her model 165-hectares farm, where Colonna also grows durum wheat, legumes, coriander and sunflowers.
At the heart of the property is the 55-hectare olive grove, over half of which is certified organic and consists of several autochthonous varieties and experimental cultivars. Colonna created a vast collection that demonstrates her desire for research and improvement.
Leccino, Frantoio, Peranzana, Gentile di Larino, Coratina, Ascolana Tenera, Fs-17, Cima di Melfi, Rosciola, Maiatica, Nocellara del Belice, Itrana, Kalamata, Termite di Bitetto and Leccio del Corno are combined in various blends, including Classic, the Molise PDO and the organic line. She also produces oils solely from a single variety, such as the Peranzana monovarietal.
Over the years, these products have earned various awards at NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
Some of her oils are also combined with citruses, herbs and spices, creating an interesting selection of flavored and infused oils.See Also: Best Olive Oils From Italy
“During the year, we pay the utmost care and attention to our plants,” Colonna said. “Then, at the right time, their fruits are harvested and crushed in our mill, which, after being recently renovated, boasts two-phase technology of the latest generation.”
“This allowed us to reach exceptional levels of quality,” she added. “Thanks also to favorable weather conditions, the last harvest was probably the best in recent years, both in terms of volumes and quality.”
Along with olive cultivation and oil production, Colonna also pays special attention to the agritourism aspect of her business.
The guests of Casa Colonna are invited on guided tours of the mill, including a full explanation of the production process and a visit to the bottling and packing area. They can also enjoy the olive harvest, participate in tastings and cooking classes.
“We want to involve all those who visit our farm,” Colonna said. “I think that, beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has changed and communication has evolved. This awareness becomes essential, since, in this way, we can efficiently spread information and reach so many people even at a distance, and this is impressive.”
“At the same time, it is increasingly useful to organize events on the ground,” she added. “It is constructive to make people aware of what lies behind a quality product and show them the territory from which it comes. I see everyone who arrives here appreciates this very much and is eager to know what we do to achieve quality. Nowadays, the communication of quality also passes through the experience.”
During activities with her guest, Colonna is always present, believing that it is essential to communicate directly with those who want to learn about her products and their unique features.
“Over the years, I have met and worked with many people and several foreign markets,” she said. “It is rewarding when, dealing with countries, cultures and peoples accustomed to other types of cuisine and condiments that they start to know, learn and value your extra virgin olive oil.”
“Because the more they learn, know and appreciate it, the more they care, follow and become aware of what quality is,” she added.
Colonna said that she has an invaluable team that shares the same quality objectives and dedication, which helps make her high-quality production possible.
“Passion,” she said when asked what it takes to do a job like hers. “Everything that follows comes from passion. If you have it, you get a thousand ideas. When you have it, you can do everything.”
“Otherwise, it is better to do something else,” she concluded. “This is a demanding job that requires a great commitment, and to do that, it takes passion, which, despite seeming like a romantic idea, is something real and truly necessary.”