Maria Pia Castelli

Maria Pia Castelli
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Our winery was created in 1999 as fruit of our great passion for wine of my father’s experience and knowledge.

Situated in Central Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, the Marche Region is gifted with indigenous grapes, a cuisine with a long tradition, and a wonderful territory with a rich natural and historical heritage. The region can be divided into 4 main wine areas: Pesaro-Urbino, in the north, with 3 DOC labels (Bianchello del Metauro, Colli Pesaresi and Pergola Rossa); Ancona, with Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Rosso Conero and Lacrima di Morro d’Alba; Macerata, in the center, with one DOCG and 3 DOC labels (Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, Verdicchio di Matelica, Colli Maceratesi and Terreni di San Severino); and Ascoli Piceno, in the south, with Falerio dei Colli Ascolani, Offida Pecorino and Passerina, Rosso Piceno.

Our vineyard (8 hectares) is situated on the hills of Monte Urano, a small village 200m above the sea-level.  The vineyard benefits from the summer heat and the solar radiations from the sea. The soil is rich in minerals. The summer season, from June to September, is crucial for the good ripening of the grapes. Grapes are Sangiovese and Montepulciano (for red wines) and a blend of indigenous Trebbiano, Pecorino, Malvasia and Passerina for the white. Our main aim is to produce high quality wines.

We take care of the whole wine-making process, from the vineyard to the bottle. We work our grapes only and we use biological methods to protect vine plants. Indeed, we use “green cover crops” in order to respect the flora and fauna of the vineyard and enhance soil fertility. To control diseases, we use copper-based compounds against downy mildew and sulpher-based preparations against powdery mildew. Soap sprays and natural oils are used to control insects. Botrytis Bunch Rot is reduced by leaves removal. Furthermore, during the winter pruning, we remove the old canes burning them directly in the vineyard.

In the management of the vineyard, everything is done by hand: the winter pruning in January, the spring pruning in March, the leaves thinning for a better ripening in April, the green harvest (that is the cluster thinning) in June, the selection of the best fruit cluster before harvesting, and finally the vintage. The total yield of our vineyard is 25 hectoliters against 75q permitted according to wine legislation. Because we think that a low quantity means a better quality.

Usually we have a discontinuous harvest because there are early maturing varieties. Sangiovese and the white varieties are picked first, usually around mid-September, depending on the weather. The cellar includes the underground ageing cellar, the winery and the tasting room. After harvesting, we weight the crop and we put the grapes into the crusher and the de-stemmer. Then, the must is mixed with the berry skin directly into the fermenting tanks for about 20-25 days, with the exception of the rosé wine, which is the result of a drawing off of Sangiovese and Montepulciano. In this technique for red wine making, macerated juice is drained away before the alcoholic fermentation, in order to increase contact with the grape skins.

During the first fermentation, we make an intense pumping-over and the classical wine-making process known as “DELESTAGE”. In the Delestage, all of the must is taken from the lower part of the fermenting tank and from there is sent to a collection tank using only a simple pump (we don’t use any automated plant). The must is then pumped to the fermentation tanks again and spread over the grapes skin. During fermentation, the skin hat goes down and breaks into small pieces, thus enlarging the contact surface and enhancing the extracted scents and flavors. These operations are highly efficient in extracting all the fragrance and flavor, without using motorized devices.

After the first fermentation, the must is sent into the barrels (that are renewed every time) where it remains from 12 to 24 months, depending on the wine variety. During this long period, we fill up the barrels every week (to avoid oxidation), following its evolution with attention.

Biodynamic viticulture: is the most extreme, ideological, and even spiritual of all alternative approaches to viticulture. It considers the soil as an integral part of the symbiosis between planet, air and cosmos. Its belief is in the influence of the cosmos and constellations on different aspects of the plant’s growth. So the biodynamic farmers follow the rhythms of nature according to the position of the moon and the stars. Fertilizers are absolutely forbidden. The soil is prepared with compost from winery wastes, mixed with animal manures, rich in organic matter and nutrients.