In Italy, where the majority of wineries are still family affairs and everyone lends a hand, women have long worked behind the scenes. Traditionally, however, they had little to no decision-making power and received even less credit for their roles. As recent as 20 years ago, it was rare to come across female winemakers or winery bosses. But times are changing.
According to a 2018 survey conducted by Cribis, part of the Crif Business Information group, just over a quarter of Italy’s estimated 73,700 wineries are managed by women.
In Montalcino, Tuscany, their empowered presence is keenly felt. From boutique estates to international powerhouses, these trailblazing women focus on finesse and complexity in their wines, and most embrace organic and environmentally sustainable practices. Not coincidentally, they’re also making some of the best Brunellos out there.
The Il Colle winery, headquartered just south of the town center, is one of Montalcino’s small gems. Once part of the historic Conte Costanti’s Colle al Matrichese estate, family inheritances and divisions split the original property during the 18th century.
In 1972, Alberto Carli, a notary from Siena, and his wife, Ernesta Giannelli, purchased the 49-acre property and began planting their first vineyards. Situated around 1,148 feet above sea level, this area tends to produce Brunellos that are elegant and, at times, almost ethereal.
In 1998, the Carlis purchased land in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, a warmer part of the denomination. Their idea was to blend Sangiovese from the two areas to achieve more body, as well as split the risk of having grapes from a single subzone that could suffer more than other areas in certain vintages.
“I’m convinced this is the best and most enjoyable job in the world.”—Caterina Carli, proprietor, Il Colle
At an elevation of 720 feet, grapes from Castelnuovo dell’Abate’s more southern vineyards are harvested around 10 days earlier than those at Il Colle. They lend structure and ripe fruit flavors to the exquisite aromas and finesse of wines that hail from the family’s original holdings.
After Alberto passed away in 2001, his daughter, Caterina, took over.
“When my father passed away, I was 29 and was working at an accounting firm, but I didn’t have any doubts about leaving my job to work at the winery fulltime,” says Caterina, who holds degrees in economics and banking. “I’m convinced this is the best and most enjoyable job in the world.”
To make Brunellos that boast structure and finesse, Caterina uses the ultratraditional winemaking methods she and her father learned from one of Italy’s most famed tasters and maestro of Sangiovese, the late Giulio Gambelli. Like her father, she ferments with wild yeasts and without temperature control, followed by long skin maceration of 30–40 days. Lengthy aging, up to four years for Brunello, takes place exclusively in Slavonian casks.Fonte: Kerin O’Keefe - WineMag