The Rubino Family

History of Tenute Rubino

Famiglia Rubino | Tenute Rubino | I Vini della Puglia

The Rubino Family

This is a story of family, a story of love for a land and its rediscovery. The sun of Apulia, the traditions of Salento reinterpreted with a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit passed on from father to a son. A project which saw the light in the early 1980s, in a farm established by Tommaso Rubino, the first to recognize the modern viticultural potential of a territory with such an important past. His son Luigi, together with his wife Romina in all aspects of marketing and communication, has taken on this entrepreneurial legacy, bringing all his passion to the family company and making it an ambassador of Apulian viticulture in the world.

Winemaking is, after all, an ancient art here in Jaddico: over the years, archaeologists have brought to light a Roman manor house and the kilns where Visellius, the owner of the estate, fired the amphorae used to export his wine to the four corners of the Roman Empire. At the time, this land was home to extensive vineyards and served as an important manufacturing centre for wine containers.

Twenty centuries later, Tommaso Rubino chose this ancient and precious wine-growing area as the home of his new company, and here he began planting typical Apulian native vines such as red-skinned Negroamaro and Primitivo onto pre-existing root stock. But it is in the early 2000s that his son Luigi, heir to his father’s vision of Puglia’s viticultural potential and its extraordinary resources, ushered in a new season of continuous advancement in the quality of the company’s output, bringing it to full maturity.
This is how Tenute Rubino was born: Luigi dedicated the greatest part of the company’s holdings, divided into five different estates, to the practice of state-of-the-art viticulture. Having undertaken several careful zoning studies, each estate (Jaddico, Palombara, Uggìo, Punta Aquila and Marmorelle) is now home to those vines that best suit its individual soil and climatic profile, to best enhance the unique potential of each grape.
The company’s chief mission is the recovery of one of Salento’s oldest native vines, Susumaniello, a grape reclaimed from oblivion thanks to an entrepreneurial vision that combines family tradition and modernity. Thus, Tenute Rubino has spearheaded what has been defined as the “new course” for Apulian oenology in recent years, rediscovering one of its forgotten treasures and making it the heart of its productive identity.

Luigi Rubino | Famiglia Rubino | Tenute Rubino | I Vini della Puglia

Luigi Rubino.
Entrepreneurial nous and a modern vision.

From a very young age, winemaking has been a passion and not simply a profession for Luigi. Today he is at the helm of the family company, having learned his craft at his father’s side. Energy, rigour and knowledge combine to make Luigi Rubino a leading voice of Italy’s quality wine. Today, he travels the world promoting what he loves and what he does best: fine wines which are the product of cutting edge viticulture and the noble traditions of his native region.

Romina Leopardi | Famiglia Rubino | Tenute Rubino | I Vini della Puglia

Romina Leopardi.
Communication and Cooperation

Luigi’s partner in life and business. In their everyday life the two share a common path based on the importance of listening and the absolute value of communication.
She too has her core beliefs which shape her approach to everything she does: the value of human capital, of training and business culture, the importance of multiculturalism as a generator of wealth and empowerment for young people and women inside and outside the business sector.

As an Italo-Australian national, she combines a typically Anglo-Saxon love for conciseness and concreteness with a Salentine drive to seek beauty in the world around her, in nature and meaningful relationships.

Piernicola Tondo
Tenute Rubino’s vine man

Piernicola oversees all aspects of the agronomic strategy and sets the production protocols for each estate, grape variety and vineyard parcel. A story of passion and dedication ties him to Tenute Rubino, which has lasted over thirty years, encompassing knowledge of precise viticultural carried out metre by metre, through a constant transferral of information, from planting to vine production maturation, allowing the company to manage the soils, sources of irrigation and agronomic practices sustainably and in the best possible way.

The relationship between Piernicola Tondo – agronomist and technical consultant at Tenute Rubino- and the wine world is deep rooted since his adolescence, among the rows of vines in San Pietro Vernotico, his birthplace south of Brindisi, and in the Surano countryside where, in his family’s small company, he passed hours and hours observing with a child’s curiosity, all the manual production procedures of the grapes. A passion that became a life project after excelling in his agronomy studies which led him to complete a Degree in Agricultural and Forestry Sciences at the University of Bologna in 1983. The call back to his homeland is strong and uncontrollable. Piernicola returns to his Salento and comes into contact with the olive growing and winemaking world, through his first collaborations with wine cooperatives. A few years later, in 1988, he enters the world of Tenute Rubino: a journey which develops in parallel with the evolution of a young and ambitious company that is already looking to the future thanks to the foresightedness of its founder, Tommaso Rubino, with Piernicola they begin to develop a broadly scoped programme with the objective of renewing the company’s viticultural assets.

Intense work meetings which over time will give life to broader ideas, and where a profound friendship will form. Both begin to share the idea that such significant quantities of grapes should be taken advantage of and transformed into a short distribution chain. It is the beginning of a shared journey with Luigi and the oenologist Luca Petrelli and Piernicola will personally contribute to the success of the company and will quickly become not just a trusted team member, but one of the family, in line with the close connection and the story of Tenute Rubino which has become his second home.

Luca Petrelli.
The Susumaniello oenologist

From the quality evaluation of the grapes, to the bottling and commercialisation of the end product, Luca follows every production phase of the Tenute Rubino wines. A man of precision, with over thirty years experience, he is able to recognise a wine’s potential just from observing the grapes, during the first phase of the harvest. Wine runs through his veins, thanks to a family tradition that will quickly transform into a real and concrete life project. He has worked shoulder to shoulder with the Rubino family for more than twenty years, with whom from the very beginning he has shared an ‘oenologic’ vision which, still today, has translated into wines of extraordinary quality, authentic expression of their terroir of origin.

This is another wine story which began among the paternal vines, evolving over time with agricultural studies, succeeded by a specialisation in oenology.

Luca is a mediterranean nose but with a pioneering spirit, who doesn’t settle for remaining within the tradition, and looking towards the future rebirth of Apulian viticulture and oenology. For Luca the vine is family. Since he was a child, in the second half of the 70s, he followed his father Francesco during the harvest in the small family business, taking part in the harvest and the vinification process, from the pressing of the grape bunches to obtain the must – in the small Locorotondo millstone, his home town. His passion for the wine world, deep rooted in agricultural traditions leads him to the Agricultural Technical Institute with a specialisation in Viticulture and Oenology. After a few years professional experience in a winery in the Murgia, on the 7th December 1999, Luca made his entrance into Tommaso Rubino’s office, and during this first meeting he was instantly struck by Tommaso and Luigi’s entrepreneurial vision, who laid before him a project to grow and develop Tenute Rubino which Luca signed up to immediately. It is the beginning of a journey that has lasted more than twenty years and which coincides with the creation of the Susumaniello project, Luca Petrelli’s favourite grape variety, together with Luigi and Piernicola Tondo, have declared it a symbol of the viticulture in the Brindisi area and the Salento. Luca is particularly struck by the sculptural form this vine takes with age, and with its very small bunches, with its blueish grapes. Love at first sight- shared with the entire Tentute Rubino team- that will increase with each harvest. Today he is regarded as one of the ‘historic’ figures in the company, to which many young oenologists look up to as a point of reference.

Famiglia Rubino | Tenute Rubino Brindisi | I Vini della Puglia


Today, the mere mention of the word “Apulia” is enough to evoke in many of us a gallery of images, aromas and flavours. Above all, the sea – or should we say, the seas: the waters of Adriatic and the Ionian envelope this narrow stretch of land, the heel of the Italian peninsula, a treasure chest of ancient cultures and traditions. A western protrusion pointed towards the Balkans, towards Greece and south-eastern Europe, where the sea unites rather than divide. A frontier region where everything ends and everything can, at the same time, begin again.

It is the land of the Taranta where magic ritual, folklore and music come together in the warm summer nights, seemingly never-ending – especially in the memory of those who have experienced them. A landscape scattered with ancient farmhouses and Trulli, as in an ancient and precious fairy-tale, but also home to some of Europe’s most exquisite Baroque architecture, as symbolised by the visual poetry of a city such as Lecce. The beauty of a region which has been able to create a modern and successful vision to integrate tourism and hospitality, as attested by the ever increasing popularity of Apulia has an international holiday destination.

A land where the flavours are those of the ‘good old days’, and every dish is like a small voyage through time. Traditional orecchiette, olive oil, seafood, fresh vegetables and “her majesty’ the Burrata: Apulia’s food always tastes exactly how it should, and this is also true of its wines.

la storia della famiglia Rubino | Tenute Rubino | I Vini della Puglia


Salento is in our collective imagination the heel of Italy. A treasure chest of history and tradition, this area divided among the municipalities of Lecce, Brindisi and Taranto, was once known by the ancient name Messapia, which means ‘land between two seas’, crossed by countless peoples and cultures.

Up until the 7th century the area was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire and later became a frontier between the Byzantines and the Langobards – later yet, in the IX and the X century, the Saracens. The land war ruled by the Normans, the Anjevin, the Aragonese, the Turks who erected countless watchtowers along the Salentine coastline, finally, the long dominations of the Spaniards and the Bourbons. A small yet extraordinary sliver of land, the beating heart of the Apulian region and the soul of a unique viticultural centre such as the area of Brindisi. Here, the vine has found its ideal habitat, a history that Tenute Rubino wishes to keep alive by producing wines which have renewed the identity of Apulian oenology.



Brindisi entrepreneur, Tommaso Rubino, purchases the first two estates in inland Brindisi: Uggìo and Punta Aquila. The Rubino family gives the go ahead for a re-evaluation of the ancient cultivars typical of the Brindisi area.


Purchasing of the Marmorelle and Jaddico estates north of Brindisi. A unique area, dedicated to viticulture for over 2000 years. The collaboration with the brilliant agronomist Piernicola Tondo begins.


Luigi Rubino finishes his university degree and assists his father Tommaso in the management and development of a company which aims to create a standard of excellence, with nichè products.


Luigi Rubino decides to start a process of grape transformation: the winery for vinification and maturation is created in Brindisi, a strategic position for the family’s 4 estates.


The collaboration with the promising oenologist Luca Petrelli begins with the consultation of Riccardo Cotarella. Visellio is launched, an intense Primitivo with important levels of extraction. The micro experiments with Susumaniello begin, a black skinned, almost extinct native grape variety, a symbol of traditional viticulture in the Brindisi area.


Torre Testa is launched, heading up the Susumaniello Project. An adventure that will become an icon for traditional Apulian oenology. The first vintage is a record breaker: 90 points in Wine Spectator, the first Tre Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso and the first 5 Grappoli from Duemilavini.

2002 - to date

Saturnino, Jaddico, Punta Aquila, Giancola, Miraglio, Oltremé and Torre Testa Rosè make their debut, the result of a long and continuous study of the native grape varieties Susumaniello, Privitivo and Negroamaro by the production team.

2008 - to date

Not just wine. Romina Leopardi sets the foundations for an extensive promotional project to add value to the area through a series of annual events, the creation of custom-made tourist and cultural experiences and international educational projects.


Luigi Rubino is elected President of “Puglia Best Wine”, a consortium for the promotion and export of quality wines grouping together five prestigious Apulian wine brands, including Tenute Rubino.


‘Apulia Wine Identity’ is launched, the first international event dedicated to native Apulian grape varieties, created by the Consortium Apulia Best Wine in collaboration with Gambero Rosso and dedicated to specialised wine critics.


Tenute Rubino begins its sparkling wine project: Sumaré 30 months is created, the first traditional method Susumaniello in the world. Proving that even in the South the art of sparkling wine can produce excellent results.


The agronomic management of the Ostuni vineyard begins, used for a rare but extremely typical Salento variety: Ottavianello. The first vintage of Lamo, 100% Ottavianello, is launched.


Tenute Palombara is purchased, near Lizzano, completely dedicated to Primitivo. The estate is the heart of the Primitivo di Manduria DOC, one of the most well known among the Apulian appellations.


The building project for the new ageing cellar gets underway, designed according to the most recent guidelines for eco-sustainability, modernity and environmentally friendly. A multi-functional structure to promote wine culture, immersed in the Jaddico estate vineyards. The opening is expected for 2023.


In March 2022 the company has obtained the Equalitas, Sustainable Organization Module Certification, the standard that promotes the sustainability culture in the agricultural and viticultural industry on an international basis.