Our guardians (our people)
A Team of Friends
We might sound strange but we believe that products express the love people have been investing in them. That’s why we invest a lot in our people. We are involved both economically and emotionally with our one: we are a team of friends. Most of them have been working at Podere le Ripi for years, and they are very proud of the wines they make here. Particularly Sebastian (our chief-oenologist AND CEO) and Alessandro (our Chief-Agronomist): we love to have lunches and dinners together discussing our wines and comparing them with others. Lead by our mantra “Be Crazy my Friend” and by a good amount of curiosity, we have one of the best teams in Montalcino, proving that happy people are able to do magic!
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.
David The Faun Holzberger
He’s the guardian of our beautiful garden, and he probably lives there too. Speaks to plants and animals (and they reply back).
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).
Carlotta is our Social Media manager and part of her days are spent trying to explain to us the use of Social Media (hardest job of all). She loves cooking and posting food pictures, and has a troubled relationship with knives, but once we agreed that she wasn’t a psychopath, we realized she was indispensable.
Francesco “Pelle” Pellegrini
One of our latest additions, he’s a junior winemaker as well. He makes the best cheesecakes in the universe, has the back of a 80 year old and always wears the most unpredictable hats (like the one in the picture).
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.
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 27 years, 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 towards 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 the 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 to be saved. So here some small things that Podere le Ripi believes could make the difference!
The biodynamic agriculture itself is one of the most respectful and natural ways to treat the soil and work with the land. Taking care of our compost, we think of the final product as perfectly in agreement with nature; such as removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Wine processes happen in a 100% ecological wine cellar, built to have zero impact on the environment;
Reducing CO2 by optimizing transports and cars, walking or biking to work as much as possible;
Separate collection for a better final recycling result, and avoiding waste of food by feeding our farm pigs;
Life in plastic is NOT fantastic! Our team has decided to use eco-friendly water bottles instead of the single-use plastic ones;
From 2020 all wine shipments will be 100% plastic free;
Francesco and his brave project of planting trees in the Sarah Desert started in 2010.
#SummerParty… Not just a simple event
You may have heard of it, and if have not… stay tuned for next summer! Started as party with a small group of loyal friends and families, the Summer Party is now the biggest event of the Val d’Orcia, calling people from any corner of the world and fields of work. In one magical night of July, Podere le Ripi opens the doors of the wine cellar and shows a side of itself unknown to many. With local food and some OF OUR Brunello, our guests are greatly surprised every year with special entertainment, interacting on the notes of international DJs. The Summer Party for us is more than a party, is a demonstration that with patience and a lot of elbow grease, you get far.
So, dream big and remember… be crazy my friends!
Podere le Ripi is certified Organic and Biodynamic, having obtained Demeter certification. Demeter is the body that certifies and protects the integrity of Biodynamic agriculture and the products that result, both for consumers and for farmers.
Furthermore, in 2018 we joined the Triple A portfolio as they became our Italian distributor. Triple A stands for Artigiani (Artisans), Artisti (Artists), Agricoltori (Farmers). Their mission is to spread the word of organic, biodynamic and natural wine, one bottle at the time, they are a real institution in the world of natural wine producers. They are motivated to carry out what they call their Movement, a Movement against the standardization of wine production. Such “standardized” wine is caused by farming and winemaking techniques that truly mortify the product. Most of the wines produced nowadays are standardized, deprived from their natural tastes and characteristics, incapable of surviving for longer periods of time.
These are a few rules from their Handbook:
Triple A Wines can only come from:
a manual selection of future vines, for a true mass selection.
agricultural producers, who cultivate the vineyards without using synthetic chemicals, respecting the vine and its natural cycles.
grapes harvested at physiological maturity and perfectly healthy.
You can click on their website for more information.
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 aims 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”, in the middle of a native oak forest, our vineyards have managed to grow at an altitude of 150 meters above sea level. This side mainly receives evening sun and in the morning is sheltered by the surrounding hills of Montalcino. The average age of those vines is around 30 years old, planted following the real Montalcino tradition (4.500 plants per hectare) trained using spurred cordon. The soil is mainly composed of clay and limestone, rich in minerals with river pebbles and metamorphic rocks (galestro) belonging to a more recent geological age. Such components create feminine and classic wines, which also give generous grapes with crunchy tannins. That’s where we produce the Sogni e Follia and the Cielo D’Ulisse.
On the East Side…
Leaning on the eastern edge of Castelnuovo Dell’Abate, around 250 meters above sea level, over there our historical single vineyards are warmed up by a tepid morning sun.
Castelnuovo is renowned for wines with a well-structured body that show off some of Montalcino’s oldest terroir, characterized by 5mln years old oceanic clay, which is very often mixed with sodium so that the clay is quite salty. The tuff and the siliceous sand are compressed by geological pressures, resulting very compacted. Also very rich in limestone – coming from marine fossil – this makes our soil a very pure marn, influenced by all kinds of possible minerals. Furthermore, if we consider that the Monte Amiata – our ancient volcano – is only 7 nautical miles away, then is not surprising that sediments of volcanic debris can be found in the soil too.
Here the density of the vineyards varies between 5000 plants per hectare to 11100 vines per hectare, all the way to 62000 vines for the Bonsai vineyard. Mostly planted following ancient training methods such as goblet and guyot. The vineyards are constantly subjected to a natural breeze coming from the Orcia river and they are fairly well protected by the Amiata Mountain (1.738 masl) which allows Castelnuovo to be the driest subzone of Montalcino. Here we are able to express all the intensity of the best sangiovese with perfect mineral balance, which is the unmistakable character of these areas. The wines Bonsai, Lupi e Sirene and Amore e Magia are the main protagonists of this land.