In Montalcino in the heart of Tuscany, between
the Orcia Valley and dormant Amiata volcano,
sits Podere Le Ripi winery. Specialising in the
Sangiovese grapes used for the famous Brunello
and Rosso di Montalcino wines, a visit to Podere
Le Ripi reveals how traditional techniques paired
with modern knowledge work together to produce
Situated less than two miles from the 12thcentury
Sant’Antimo Abbey, Podere Le Ripi
occupies 33 acres from a hilltop vantage point.
Owner Francesco Illy bought the land from a
Sardinian shepherd in 1997; back then, there
wasn’t a single vine, just fields of flowers and
herbs, which still flourish today.
Not a single chemical has ever been sprayed,
and in 2010, Podere Le Ripi committed to
biodynamic farming by enriching the soil with
micorrizas, a mix of insects, worms and roots. This
has promoted a highly complex structure and
aroma spectrum of the wine, resulting in the
winery being the third in Montalcino to achieve
organic and biodynamic certification.
The Podere Le Ripi’s Bonsai vineyard is
renowned. Legend has it that Illy was once told by
an old Burgundy winemaker that a vineyard
makes a good wine only after 35-40 years. He had
no intention of waiting until he was 90 to sip his
great wine, so he asked himself what would
happen if he planted more vines to force
competition between their roots?
Bravely, he planted 62,000 vines just 40cm
apart. The sturdy plants were compelled to find
soil, water and nutrition at greater depths, and
after only four years, their roots had grown to the
astonishing depth of 10ft. This strategy is the key
to the winery’s best wine. First, the grapes are
fermented in oak vats, then refined in big oak
barrels for up to five years, before being bottled
and aged. The wine is never exported.
The vineyard offers various tours and tastings
that can be booked online, including a guided
cellar visit. An exclusive lunch or dinner — typical
Tuscan cuisine of salami, ham, cheeses and pastas
— is served, paired with Podere Le Ripi’s finest
wines on a sunny terrace with stunning views.
• Wine cellar
• Wine tours and tastings
• Helicopter landing pad
GET IN TOUCH
T: 0039 0577835641
E (information): email@example.com
E (bookings): firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t miss // Taste the Bonsai wine, a one-of-a-kind viticultural speciality coming from the highest density vineyard in the world.