Sanfelice 1893 Banca Popolare, the first credit institution with a wine vault

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Sanfelice 1893 Banca Popolare will be the first credit institution in Italy to have a “wine bank”, with a dedicated underground vault where customers’ most prized bottles can be kept, at controlled temperature and humidity, starting with Lambrusco, the nectar of Emily. «There is the Pollenzo Wine Bank, but it is not banking, instead we launch ourselves into this initiative with the same spirit with which we were born 130 years ago: to be close to our fellow citizens and protect their assets, be it money or a precious asset, while enhancing the architectural riches of the institution”, explains Vittorio Belloi, general director of the “small but strong bank”, as stated in the claim of Sanfelice 1893, born and rooted among the communities along the Panaro, in the Modena area , but reached with its branches as far as Mantua and Bologna, a territory of great agri-food excellence. As confirmed by the 5.3% of loans (1.1 billion euros in 2022) to agriculture and another 5.6% to the food industry. And as evidenced by the other vault created eight years ago among the magnificent foundations of the Palazzo dell’ex Monte di Pieta, adjacent to the bank’s headquarters and owned by it since the Seventies: that of the San Felice salami.

A niche sausage, produced exclusively in the nine municipalities of Lower Modena, with pork meat raised on site, peppered, salted, soaked in Lambrusco and aged for 30 to 120 days, according to a strict specification established by the Modena Chamber of Commerce, guarded right in the basement of the bank of the same name. The wine vault is nearing completion next to the salami vault, where there is a safety deposit box which symbolically safeguards the specifications, but where cured meats are not stored except for special occasions, given that the underground spaces – with the vaulted ceilings created in the foundations of the Palazzo del Monte di Pieta from 1774 – are a suggestive and evocative place to host events. «The cellar is not finished yet, there are already security cells in a controlled environment with double keys, but the wrought iron gate that separates the room is missing – says the general director -. We aim to inaugurate it by December, to close the celebrations for our 130th birthday in style.”

Here customers will be able to store their collections of the most expensive bottles, those that kept at home do not make them sleep peacefully. «We have called together all the Lambruscai in the area, we want to make the wine bank the flag of our three Lambruschi Dop, Sorbara, Grasparossa and Salamino di Santa Croce and transform this second vault into a showcase of excellence of our territory. We will start with a dozen collectors and think about some direct investments in wines also from the bank”, anticipates Belloi, who promoted the recovery of the basement during the renovation works following the 2012 earthquake. An earthquake which did not actually cause serious damage to the palace, apart from a few cracks at the junction with the oratory, but it was an opportunity to clean and rediscover the cellars under the portico and the splendid bases of the columns.

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