Soon this place went from being the fulfillment of one man’s dream to becoming a dream shared by many others. Year after year the winery grew and so did its people. The ethical and social culture practiced here has spread through our actions. Today we all represent Podere le Ripi and we feel part of something that represents us in return. 24 young people that allowed themselves to be inspired and inspired back. We don’t have consultants, because if wine absorbs its surroundings like a sponge and men are the mediators between wine and nature, then only the people of this place will be able to transfer this energy into the wine.
We could have never imagined bringing to life a project such as this one, especially in the wine business.
Acting as an incubator for youngsters taking their first steps in this field, relying on their enthusiasm and their curiosity. Agriculture, especially when this articulated and rich, is first cooperation between people. Of course, having a nice vineyard or a nice tractor is important, but not as important as getting the right people together and giving them the chance to play at the same tune. This is where our model starts, with people among our first priorities.
We might sound strange, but we believe that wine is one of the few existing products with its own sensitivity, capable of expressing the love that people have put into play, which is why we’ve been investing a lot in our team. We are involved economically and emotionally: we are a team of friends.
Many of us have been working at Podere Le Ripi for years and are really proud of the wines they have cared for. Sebastian and Alessandro were the ones who started but, today, protecting this culture is a task for the whole team. “Be Crazy my Friend” is the motto we were told on the first day of work! After a few decades, we could not dream of better people to enjoy this journey with, but above all, we have shown that there is also an alternative ethical-social model for a successful business in agriculture to strive.
Excellence in food & wine: Who defines the highest levels of quality? Many producers are in the “pursuit of excellence” even if today “becoming the best” is getting harder. The outcome of such competition results in a variety of “interpretations of excellence” that allow us to enjoy the many faces of perfection.
*We accept the notion that our excellence is the product of winemaking practices that we conceive as the best possible. It means that we accept the limits that our sensibility has in defining those practices, and we go through experience and confrontation with any kind of criticism so that we can constantly increase such sensibility.
Meet our main trail blazers
Head Winemaker and CEO, he likes to think of himself as a “ragazzo di bottega” and enjoys life as a Scorpio. Also, he believes to have superpowers.
Alessandro “Baffino” Riccò
He’s our Agronomist, meaning that he basically takes care of the land and makes sure we get grapes to make wine. His nickname refers to his medieval-style beard. In typical Italian tradition, he still lives with his mom.
Giulia “the Samurai” Barcucci
She runs the hospitality team, she organizes lunches, dinners, tastings and everything in between. Do not say no to her, otherwise, heads will roll. Winner of the Podere le Ripi limbo championship.
Felicia “Felix” Carrara
Straight from the Dolomites, Felicia came to teach us how to live on a budget. She deals with numbers, banks, accountants. She doesn’t believe in mistakes.
Martina Di Paola
She takes care of clients’ complains, complains a lot herself. Started working at Podere le Ripi by mistake and doesn’t even like wine that much.
Matteo Mitch Melfi
One of our historical team members, without him we would be lost. He is the real Bonsai vineyard expert. The ultimate yes man, no one has ever heard the word “no” from him.
(Gratzi, Gratzinger we have yet to understand his last name…). Our Sales Manager: 1.90 meters (6 foot 2”) fueled by over twenty coffees a day, Gabriele loves roasted pigeons and despises humanity.
Perpetually overly excited for ANYTHING, Chiara makes sure our guests leave with a smile on their faces. Warning: the pitch of her voice might cause serious ear injuries.
Simone “Chavo” Ignesti
He’s our Cellar Master, he likes food, wine and long walks on the beach. We’ll gift a bottle of Brunello to whoever convinces him to cut his hair.
Matteo “Ozy” Ozzella
Our Storage Manager: holds the world record of hand-labeled bottles and loves junk food. Also, cusses like a sailor.
Our Junior Agronomist, the only basketball player of Podere le Ripi, doesn’t like waking up.
Hafedh and Ahmed
Brothers, they make sure our land is taken care of. They speak funny Italian but they make themselves understood (most of the times).They’re the smiliest people on earth.
Andrea “sacco” Sacconi
He’s our junior junior junior assistant winemaker, he utters an average of 1 word a week, but somehow he is the Podere Le Ripi’s winner of our taboos championships.
She’s a junior winemaker, and physically the strongest person of the team. Once, she lifted a barrel with her bare hands. With wine inside. Gets really competitive when playing Taboo.
Ludovica “Ludo” Stuart
She’s our junior admin officer. An actual direct descendant of the noble Scottish Stuart family, meaning that she’s Podere Le Ripi’s only Princess by blood, dresses like a man and competes in Enduro Championships. Has broken every bone of her body and suffers from a compulsive need to feed and rescue every animal she sees.
Paola is our Chef, she makes sure our clients and the members of the team are fed, fat and happy. Doesn’t understand the concept of “thanks I’m full” and she will keep feeding us with as much wild boar and handmade pici as she can (there are worse ways to live, we know).
Francesco “Nardevil” Nardacci
Francesco joined the team in 2019, he is super-local (he was born and raised just meters from the winery). He drives the tractor like no other and has the super power of brutal honesty.
Latest addition to the team. Giorgia is a winemaker with a huge passion for food, she would fry anything and anyone in at least 10 cm of oil, any less than that counts as diet food. 100% from Calabria, in her blood runs hot chili pepper.
What we do for our People and our Planet
Let’s take a closer look at Podere le Ripi employees:
Young team – With an average age of 28 years, the Podere le Ripi team is a mixed group of people coming from different parts of Italy and very different backgrounds. This mix of energy, professionalism, experience, and knowledge allows a continuous stream of new ideas and projects aimed toward the growth of our biodynamic winery.
Training – Training sessions are often organized to reinforce a constant exchange of information between seniors and interns. We go through a wide range of topics going from wine to marketing. We want to connect minds to keep improving our soft skills. And not to forget, a great team cannot evolve as such without having crazy team buildings!
Wine Trips – Ready, set, go! Once a year, the team is ready to leave for wine regions around the world in order to expand knowledge and strengthen teamwork.
Wine Masterclasses – Podere le Ripi is providing now Wine Classes hosted by special guests and wine professionals from all over the world – a unique opportunity to learn about different wine regions and taste special wines (and not just Brunello !!)
…The green face of Podere le Ripi
Years go by and now more than ever our planet needs help. So here some small things where we hope we are making a difference
Biodynamic agriculture is for us the best tool to contain our impact on the earth while practicing agriculture, hoping to give back cultivable land to those who will inherit it.
Wine processes happen in a 100% ecological wine cellar, built to have zero impact on the environment;
We are committed to a better final recycling result, also avoiding food waste by feeding any leftovers to our farm animals;
Also trying to develop our farm as a closed-loop agricultural system capable of integrating different types of crops and animals;
We only purchase electricity from renewable sources;
From 2020 all wine shipments have been 100% plastic-free;
In 2010 Francesco began his brave tree-planting project in the Sarah Dessert.
You may have heard of it, and in case you haven’t… get ready for next summer! It all started with a party for a small group of friends and family … now the Summer Party and the summer event in Val d’Orcia.
On a magical July night, Podere le Ripi opens the doors of its cellar and shows its hidden side to many. We don’t want to tell you too much!
So, dream big and remember… be crazy my friends!
Podere le Ripi has been certified Organic and Biodynamic since 2011. Demeter is the certifying body that certifies and protects the integrity of Podere Ripi’ biodynamic agriculture and products.
Furthermore, in 2018 we happily joined Triple A portfolio.
Triple A is a world-renowned natural wine distributor. It stands for Artisans, Artists, Farmers. Their mission is to spread the word of organic, biodynamic and natural wine, one bottle at a time; they are a true institution in the world of natural wine producers. They are motivated to carry on what they call their Movement, a Movement against the standardization of wine production and in favor of the true meaning of the word “wine”.
Vineyards and Winemaking
Our vineyards are divided between two different sides of Montalcino: East and West. Each side of the hill holds completely different soil characteristics. That’s why we believed from the start in a research path that aimed to offer wines that are pure, both in terms of vintage and geological area.
On the Westside…
Rooted in a natural oasis called “Il Galampio”, right in the center of an oak forest, our vineyards have successfully grown at an altitude of 150 meters above sea level. This side of the hill receives mainly the evening sun, and in the mornings is protected by the surrounding hills of Montalcino. On average, the age of these vineyards is around 30 years old, planted accordingly to the Montalcino tradition: 4,500 plants per hectare and spurred cordon as their chosen training method. The soil’s main composition is clay and lime, enriched by various stone pebbles and metamorphic rocks (galestro) belonging to a more recent geological era. The outcome of such soil combination creates abundant grapes with crunchy tannins, and wines with more diluted fruit, delicate and classic. That is where the Sogni e Follia and Cielo D’Ulisse originate from.
On the East Side…
Lying on the eastern edge of Castelnuovo Dell’Abate, about 250 meters above sea level, our historic vineyards are warmed up by tepid morning sun.
Castelnuovo is renowned for wines with a well-structured body, a perfect depiction of one of the most ancient terroirs of Montalcino. These terroirs distinguished themselves by a makeup of oceanic clay dating back 5 million years ago, which is very often mixed with sodium, turning this clay quite rich in salt. Moreover, tuff and silica sand, compressed by geological pressures, are quite compact. Soil is very rich in limestone – which originated from marine fossils – this makes our soil pure marl, influenced by several kinds of minerals. Furthermore, Monte Amiata, the ancient volcano, is only 11km from us, therefore the presence of volcanic debris shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Over here the density of the vineyards ranges from 5000 plants per hectare to 11.1oo plants per hectare, and again all the way to 62.000 plants per hectare for the Bonsai vineyard. These vineyards are trained with either guyot or goblet. These vineyards enjoy a daily breeze coming from the Orcia river and are well protected by the Monte Amiata (1.738 meters above sea level) which means that Castelnuovo is one of the driest subzones of Montalcino.
Here we are able to express all of the intensity of the best Sangiovese there is, with a perfect mineral balance which undoubtedly is the main distinction of these areas.
The wines Bonsai, Lupi e Sirene and Amore e Magia represent this corner of Montalcino.