You can find this winery in Castelrotto, a small hamlet on the hill of San Pietro in Cariano, one of the 5 towns that constitute Valpolicella Classica, the historical Amarone producing area. It is a family run winery specialized in the production of organic and biodynamic vine growing and wine making.
Around the nicely restored farm house where the young and enthusiastic couple who owns the estate live with their small children there are 12 acres of vineyards. From the gentle slopes of Castelrotto hill you can admire a stunning view over Valpolicella valley. Short walls made of coarsly cut stones, called marogna in local dialect, help sustaining the terraced vineyards.
Castelrotto is one of the most fascinating villages of Valpolicella, an unicum in its territory. It is almost an isolated hill on the southern side of the valley bottom, opposite to where main growing areas are. The soil around Castelrotto is also different from those of other Valpolicella areas. Few centemeter below the soil there’s a thick plateau of sandstone rich in fossils. In the rest of Valpolicella is quite common the red limestone of the mountains on the northern side of the valley. Here in Castelrotto, the roots of vines have to find their way through the thick stone rich of minerals, in search of moisture.
Vineyards are characterized by the use of the pergola growing system in which the vine is grown to a beautiful canopy. Many wineries in Valpolicella too are now turning to the guyot method. Even if it is generally believed that the guyot method helps increasing the quality of the grapes it is mainly done for practical pourposes. With the guyot, the short vine makes easier and faster the pruning and harvesting operations. In fact, with the traditional pergola method too it’s possible to obtain very high quality grapes.
Under the canopy formed by the pergola, grass is allowed to grow freely. This helps preserving biodiversity and keeping the soil cool and moistured in Summer.
No pesticides are used. Special herbal infusions are sprayed on vines to prevent pests and deseases.The young owners are both members of families who have long vine growing and wine making experience but decided to start their own winery using biodynamic methods in order to give their children a better environment to grow in while producing excellent Amarone and Valpolicella wines.
In the vineyards only the three traditional grape varietals are grown: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.
Harvest is carefully made by hand. After harvest grapes are dried for four months in wood crates piled in the drying loft built on a side wing of the main farm house building .
In January grapes are crushed and then ferments in wood fermentation vets. These containers have been designed and order made by local coopers. The particular shape of these oak vets helps concentrating and spreading evenly the energies that develop in the must during the fermentation.
Valpolicella Superiore and Amarone are aged both in French oak barriques and in big Slavonian oak barrels lined up in a very nice and clean cellar that has been specifically designed following biodynamic theories. The orientation of barrels, the un-covered floor, the mood of people working inside the cellar, everything is done considering the energetic balance of the place were wine ages.
The complete tour includes a stroll in the vineyards, a visit in the cellar and is followed by a tasting of a selection of the produced wines.
There is no external staff working at this winery and everything is done in house so they are always quite busy. Especially during harvest it is better to book a wine tasting tour with some advance.
The tour in this winery is suitable for individual tourists, small and medium sized groups. In the beautiful tasting room can find a seat up to 15-20 participants.
There are more then 400 wineries in Valpolicella Classica. Organic and biodynamic wineries are still very few. This winery can be part of a tour focused on organic Valpolicella wineris or together with an historical winery and a big, industrial cella can become part of a tour that will give you a comprehensive idea of different wine making styles and method of Valpolicella and Amarone wines.