The ancient family name, and here we are speaking of before 1400, was Terzi, but that was changed to Guerrieri, or Warriors, after one of the family, Niccolò son of Ottobono, played a major role in 1445 in the conquering the fortress of Rocco, in Le Marche.
In merit of this achievement, and for the valour that he displayed in preceding battles, he was known as Guerriero, a name his descendants assumed and a clear reference to the family motto, Belli ac Pacis Amator, Lover of War and Peace.
In that same year, Niccolò went to the Gonzaga court in Mantua and offered his services to the noble family, as did his son Ludovico. Marchese Francesco rewarded the latter by granting him, in 1506, the right to add to his own name that of the Gonzaga, with their coat-of-arms, as well as the title of Marchese.
Only in 1894, however, did the Guerrieri Gonzaga family take up regular residence in Trento, when Marchese Tullo, grandfather of Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga, married Gemma de Gresti, whose family had owned the Tenuta San Leonardo for almost two centuries. It was their son Anselmo who cast a more business-like eye on the property.
He reduced the number of different crops, and particularly that of milk, in order to focus on its viticultural production, which was already considerable, as documented by extant wine labels from the 1800s, testifying to international wines such as Burgundy, Rulander, Chablis, and Riesling, wines that supplied the Imperial Austrian court in the first half of the 19th century.
We must wait for Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga, however, to meet the first technically-adept family member. His training was directed not only by what was required to personally manage the family agricultural concern, but above all by a lively curiosity for the world’s great wines, with Bordeaux in first place.
This interest led to his decision to study oenology in Lausanne, and to deepen his knowledge with research trips to France and Tuscany. In other words, Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga’s commitment to the winegrowing profession was deeply international in spirit, as is that of his entire family.
Today, Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga has spent nearly fifty years dedicating almost all of his time, energy, and attention to the Tenuta San Leonardo.
Nothing escapes his benevolent supervision, whether that involves management of the vineyard or the various steps in the winemaking process, or the harvest, or contact with the world of his wines’ loyal friends and customers.
For some years now, his son Anselmo has been fully involved as well with the winery, like his father passionately committed to the Trentino area, to its cultural and physical landscapes, to its distinctive fragrances, even though he often has to separate himself from it to introduce the family’s wines to far-off lands.