Women winemakers in Verona

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Two different women with the same philosophy: an excellent production while respecting the environment.

Corte Sant’Alda

Corte Sant’Alda is a relatively young Veneto wine estate, which, however, has already achieved to climb the upper ranks of Valpolicella producers. The agricultural estate, which Marinella Camerani bought in 1985, is located in Mezzane di Sotto village, north-east of Verona. Marinella took over the agriculture, otherwise the cottage served as her residence. Even though the property included a small vineyard, Marinella first did not seriously think of cultivating it.

But during the renovation of the estate, supported by her family, Marinella decided to re-establish the vineyard and had new vines planted. From then on she tried to vinify the wine herself but became aware that the wines did not get good enough without experience. Her wines’ being inconsistent and her pursue for perfection made Marinella travel to other Italian wine regions and as well to other European wine countries so as to observe winemaking in different wineries and to have herself consulted by experienced vintners.

Returned with a large package of experience, Marinella started from scratch again. She turned to the Guyot System of Vine Nursing in order to bring the grapes to full ripeness by a better sun exposure and at the same time to prevent possible diseases. Marinella also experimented with different fermentation containers and vinification methods to improve the quality of her wines step by step. She allowed the soils in her vineyards to be examined for a better understanding of the soils’ complexity. All this required an effort which for so small a wine estate is rather unusual.

Marinella, an advocate for the principles of organic agriculture, had planned from the beginning to cultivate her vineyards ecologically. Corte Sant’Alda has been certified as organic dynamical long since, and it is one of the few wine estates in this region which can document a Demeter certification on their bottles. Moreover, one of Marinella’s basic ideas is to intervene as little as possible in vinification – the terroir, thus, the wines are to speak for themselves.

Today, Marinella’s Valpolicella and Amarone are being praised by wine critics and are conquering the upper ranks during wine tastings. The Corte Sant’Alda wine estate has meanwhile become adult. The three hectares of land Marinella started with have been increased to 40 hectares, 12.5 hectares of which are planted with vine. With a production of just under 84,000 bottles per year, Corte Sant’Alda is still rather a boutique wine state, but one with the highest standards in the Valpolicella growing area.

For more information, visit www.cortesantalda.com


Valentina Cubi, an artisan of wine

The story of Valentina Cubi winery starts in 1969, in Valpolicella, where she grew up and met her husband Giancarlo. He comes from a family of winemakers since the nineteenth century. They decided to invest their savings in Fumane, buying 7 of the 10 actual hectares available, located in important Crus such as Monte Tenda, Monte Crosetta and Rasso.

The vineyards are the most important heritage of her company, where  only organic agronomic techniques are applied. The Bio certification is not only her choice, but also her true philosophy. Her goal is to get in tune with nature and leave future generations with a healthier environment, still able to give great satisfaction.

The harvest, carried out entirely by hand, takes place between September and October. Harvesting begins with the selection of the grapes for Amarone, which are dried out in boxes. The harvesting of the grapes for the other Valpolicella wines come afterwards: Valpolicella Classico, Superiore and Ripasso.

In the cellar only the perfect bunches are processed and only these become wine.

A stirring aroma of wine, fresh fruit and flowers is everywhere during fermentation. This is for Valentina the most exciting moment of the year. Only Iperico, her Valpolicella Classico, is bottled right after the racking, the pouring and the fining in stainless steel. The other wines rest in wooden barrels, in the barrique cellar situated on the lower floor of the winery.

Their wines have their own names, their precise identity and character: Morar, the Amarone, Arusnatico, the Ripasso, Iltabarro, the Valpolicella Superiore, Iperico, the Valpolicella and Melioto, the Recioto. In the best vintages they also produce Sin Cero, which is obtained from locally-grown  grapes, with spontaneous fermentation and without the addition of yeasts and sulphite. A wine that embraces the territory and represents its most authentic expression. The first vintage of Sin Cero was 2011. Year by year this special wine becomes more and more popular and is now sold on reservation.

Valentina also produces organic extra virgin olive oil, the wonderful “gold farm product” of Mediterran countries.  It is called Verbasco, as a yellow flower that grows in Valpolicella. It comes from their olive tree varieties Favarol, Leccino, Frantoio and Grignano.

Valentina and her team follow a qualitative and never commercial protocol, analyzing and tasting wines in order to decide when to place them on the market. A meticulous work for the pleasure of the palate of their consumers.

When Valentina talks about her, she considers  herself as “an artisan of wine”. She is always used to say: “I produce wine only with my grapes, I carefully control every moment of my Valpolicella and Amarone's life, from the vineyard to the consumer table. I am proud of my land and I am dedicating it all my life, because I believe that only true commitment leads to excellence”.

For more information, visit www.valentinacubi.it