The story of Ampeleia is one of individuality. This is a place where thinking outside of the box has had a profound impact on a piece of land. The vineyards that are rooted here, and the winery in which their grapes are transformed into wine, demonstrate that healthy farming and creative thinking can come together to create something utterly unique. This is Tuscany, but not entirely as you know it.
The very notion of individuality also applies to the personal journeys of those who work at Ampeleia. Nothing here is set in stone, rather the opposite; by combining their thinking, all of the employees here contribute to little changes that occur on a daily basis, forming the present and future of this remarkable winery.
LITTLEWINE spoke to Marco Tait (Estate Manager and Winemaker/Viticulturist at Ampeleia) for this article, with the kind help of Lucia Telori (Communications and Italian Market at Ampeleia) for translation.
People: The founders were Elisabetta Foradori, of the iconic Foradori winery in the Dolomites, Thomas Widmann and Giovanni Podini. The estate is managed by Marco Tait
Place: Maremma, Tuscany, Italy
Varieties: Cabernet Franc, Alicante Nero, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Alicante Bouschet, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Malvasia Bianca and Ansonica
Did You Know? All of the vineyards are located within the Colline Metallifere Geopark, recognised by UNESCO for its exceptional geological interest.
They began with more of a traditional approach, but without a set idea in their heads, taking things one day at a time as they explored their vineyards. Then, as Elisabetta converted Foradori to biodynamics, that thinking also transitioned to Ampeleia.
“We’ve always had a very diverse approach. Elisabetta never pushed us on what to do, but she suggested the biodynamic approach, and encouraged us to see agriculture in a different way.”
Their full conversion took place in 2009 — first to organics, and then to biodynamics.
“2009 was a new path for us, and it didn’t happen all in one go. We followed different steps; the first was to work on the biodynamic preparations; trying to be confident in that. We wanted to be able to be completely autonomous at Ampeleia. We were working to bring a new message to the soil, and to take care of the land. The final step — and it won’t be the last one — was the introduction of our animals. In biodynamics, we focus on creating a ‘farm organism’ — and animals are one of the main things for that. So, in 2012, we got three cows. Today we have five cows, one bull, as well as chickens, ducks and geese.”
He explains that the positive results were quick to appear, and it wasn’t just the vineyards that saw the benefit; this way of thinking also translated into the overall wellness of the team. Marco says,