Established by the Castagnedi brothers in the mid-1990s, Tenuta Sant’Antonio had right from the beginning the clear intention of producing only the highest quality wines. Today, the vineyard surface has considerably expanded, and so did the range of wines that embraces several tastes, without compromising its mantra of quality. The hill of San Briccio on marl still represents with its whiteness the winery’s heartbeat. The Castagnedi brothers have a pure winegrowing history behind them, as Armando recounts ‘Our father, who has always been a winegrower, was one of the founders of the local cooperative winery, and since our childhood we have always been helping with vineyard work, when not playing among the vines. And continues: ‘When it came time for us to decide what to do when we grow up, we realised that our 30 hectares of vineyard were not enough for four brothers, so we started working for third parties’. This experience gave Armando, Tiziano, Paolo and Massimo the opportunity to deal with different realities and experiences in prestigious wineries, ‘where the main goal was not the mere grape production, but the production itself became the first step of the final project, the wine’. The turning point in 1989, when the family was offered a farm in Monti Garbi (where the winery is now located): about 50 hectares with woods, olive groves and about 10 hectares of vineyard. ‘It had been for sale for three years and no one wanted to buy it; we went to visit it with our father, who told us that the terrain was poor and harsh, more suitable for goat farming. On the contrary, the four of us were struck by this idea: we had everything we needed to kick-start a successful quality project. That was the spark! We bought the land without hesitation, and for 4-5 years we have been working with small quantities, to find out whether we were on the right track. In 1995, we decided to set up the new winery’.
Today the company can rely on a 100-hectare vineyard, 70% in the Valpolicella area, the remaining 30% on a hill called Monte Ceriani, in the Soave area; 20% of the production is destined for the domestic market, while 80% is exported, mainly to European countries (Germany and Scandinavian countries above all), the United States and Canada. But to what extent did the pandemic affect you? ‘We are convinced that it has radically changed the rules of the marketing game. Now the consumer is willing to buy a particular wine, either in a wine shop or in a supermarket (where lately high-quality wine selections are available on the shelves), but the real revolution is the online sale. On the other hand, we also believe that some wines, especially the ones in the medium-high bracket, will still be destined for catering as well. We adopted a more flexible approach across channels, by trying to differentiate the labels among the various sectors. In this way, we were able to cope with the situation and we are already looking forward to the next reopening!’.
Amarone Campo dei Gigli
Tenuta Sant’Antonio’s most iconic wine is undoubtedly the Amarone Campo dei Gigli, that earned the winery the Tre Bicchieri with the 2016 vintage in the guide Vini d’Italia 2021: intense ruby red in colour, this wine anticipates primary fruit scents, along with mild spicy and floral notes, released after the aging process. Rich and fleshy mouthfeel, its acidity drags the sip into a long and lingering finish.
The Telos selection not to be underestimated – four sulphite free wines: a white based on Garganega, a Pinot Grigio, a Valpolicella Superiore and an Amarone della Valpolicella – ‘We had been proposed by a research laboratory to produce sulphite free wine and, since my brother Paolo was very sensitive to the issue, we decided to embark on a new experience. It was the year 2010 and now we are reaping very satisfactory results; thanks to research that made available new plant-derived products, a couple of years ago our wine selection became vegan. Since 2020 we have been switching to organic, the path has been paved’.