“Our Adriano has left us,” wrote his daughter Mariangela late last week on Instagram (image via the Aceto Balsamico del Duca dal 1891 Instagram). “He was a great father and a tender grandfather. His example of love for his family, passion for his work, and admiration and respect for his co-workers will always be with us.”
Not only was Adriano Grosoli, 93, a beloved family man. He was also one of the pioneers of aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena — traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena. And it’s thanks to him that food lovers in the U.S. first began to pay attention to this pillar of Italian gastronomy.
Grosoli began managing his family’s acetaio, Aceto Balsamic del Duca dal 1891, in the 1940s. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that he and a handful of other now iconic producers decided to refashion the balsamic vinegar trade that the products would travel to the U.S. among many other influential markets. Before that time, balsamic vinegars were known and consumed almost exclusively in Emilia where they are produced. Today, in no small part thanks to Grosoli and his family’s company, the vinegars are found all over the world and are served in top restaurants.
In its obituary, the Italian national daily La Repubblica called him “the father and legacy” of traditional balsamic vinegar, a “pioneer” whose vinegar “was the first to be tasted in the U.S.”
The popular Emilia regional daily Il Resto del Carlino called him the “king of balsamic vinegar.”