Passion, enthusiasm, business skills and experience. Four qualities for four brothers: Armando, Tiziano, Massimo and Paolo Castagnedi. A passion originated in the family vineyards when, as children, they lived in San Zeno di Colognola ai Colli countryside, an area of the extended Valpolicella region which produces the most famous Verona wines from Amarone, Valpolicella to Soave.
The grapes produced by their father Antonio in those days were sent to the Colognola ai Colli Cantina sociale (cooperative wine-grower's association), founded by Castegnedi himself. Armando, Tiziano, Massimo and Paolo, the Tenuta Sant'Antonio estate actual owners dedicate themselves with enormous enthusiasm to rural life by working "in the field" with sacrifice and love. Working together they soon began to experience all the various stages and roles of their father's affairs.
Their keen business sense soon led them to take a new and alternative path that, over time, proved to be useful to wide the foundations of a company that now boasts significant national and international recognition. Forerunners of their time, the Castagnedi brothers actually worked for years as technical consultants for the cooperative nurseries of Rauscedo, creating new "key in hand" systems throughout Italy and gaining such experience as to urge them to make the fundamental decision. In 1989 they decided to buy thirty hectares of land around Mezzane, which, added to the twenty original ones belonging to their father, increased the Tenuta Sant'Antonio vineyards to a total fifty hectares. And this was the turning point.
The Castagnedi brothers decided to produce their own wine by becoming vinedressers, true advocates of quality and extreme professionalism.
"These days speaking of quality, of taking care of the vine branch by branch, of accurate and manual selection of the bunches, of low yield per plant, of careful attention when washing the grapes from their being picked to their arrival in the cellar and being bottled, of patiently waiting for the wine to mature in new wooden barrels, of its refinement in bottles all goes without saying....but these were rules we embraced over fifteen years ago. In those days this vine culture did not exist and people thought we were crazy! Obviously the painstaking work we put on requires time and professionalism and it involves high labor costs.
Nevertheless, from the very beginning our business philosophy has exclusively been aimed to quality, not just in words but in deeds, and therefore we sacrifice the figures in its honor.
And so, if as the French saying goes, good wine is obtained in proportion to one vine to one bottle, at the Tenuta Sant'Antonio we do even better with two vines to one bottle!". Our clients deserve the best so, for example, we sacrificed the 2001 Amarone because of its weakness. It was a very difficult decision with big loss but it went along with our mission. One company, one story about men.
From a family of four brothers we have a brand that is a sure bet for quality and prestige because Tenuta Sant'Antonio, with loving dedication and sophisticated technology, takes care of the manual work involved throughout the entire life of the grape, from the seed to the bottle, in order to create that little, fantastic alchemic wine miracle which is pure nectar for the gods.
Valpolicella and Soave: two of the most famous Italian DOC everywhere in the world. They are very close to our city limit. North-east of Verona inthe Val d'Illasi ,on the hills between Illasi and Mezzane valleys the 50 hectares of the Sant'Antonio estate belonging to the Castagnedi Brothers are located. The expanse of vineyards starts at 120 mt. above sea level to then climb the hills reaching 320 meters in height.
The land is very calcareous and the soil is very thin. The most important vines are Corvinone, Corvina, Rondinella and Cabernet Sauvignon far red grapes and Garganega. Chardonnay and Trebbiano di Soave for the white.
At the end of the 1980s, the company doubled its property by purchasing new lands. The vineyards were planted according to new criteria, opting for greater density and less yield, preferring Quality to Quantity. The growing technique was also changed. going from the Veronese arbor to the qualitatively more suitable one using spurred cords and guyots.
This radical change marked the beginning of a project that was worked out five years later with the decision to stop selling their grapes, produce their own quality wine and sell it.
When the original head office at San Zeno became too small, a new cellar was built next to the ruins or an old courtyard on the top or a hill near San Briccio, among their own vineyards, The steep road that, winding among the hills, leads to the new cellar bears the name or the surrounding heights, the Monti Garbi, which is also the name or one or the company's Valpolicella Superiore wines.
The new cellar was inserted with charm and measure in this area taking into consideration the relevant value of the landscape, after several years of research and only after having identified the indispensable technical necessities like water, found at a depth of 400 meters, to ensure independence and the possibility to work. The largest and most rational spaces make it possible to work with all sanctions and to lengthen the wine refining times. In other words, the new cellar is yet another tool to produce qua1ity which is the basis of the Sant'Antonio Estate's productive philosophy throughout all the production phases.
THE WINES DEVELOPMENT
Tenuta Sant'Antonio brand name, on the market since 1995, is well-known in the wine sector.
The estate history is full of awards. The first ones arrived in the 2000 year with Wine Books like Gambero Rosso "Guida Vini d'Italia", Slow food, and "tre bicchieri" to 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Capitello. It was a double satisfaction for the Tenuta Sant'Antonio estate because the Cabernet Sauvignon was just born with great results. The Castagnedi brothers felt they did the right choice with their Valpolicella priority along with other internationally well-known vineyards. Different wine interpretations are made: for example the Cabernet Sauvignon Capitel del Monte grapes rest a while to dry out. Famous is also the Chardonnay Colori d'Autunno with a high evaluation of 93/100 in Wine Spectator during 1996.
Castagnedi brothers will continue with Valpolicella and Soave productions. The three most important Valpolicella and Soave wines (Amarone, Valpolicella, Recioto): Amarone Campo dei Gigli, for example, is made with only one vine grapes, it has won several awards and it is the most representative wine in this area such as "tre bicchieri" for the 1997 from "Guida Vini d'Italia in 2003, Gambero Rosso-Slow Food editors, one of the most famous Italian wine book. It follows in 2004 the 1998 and others awards from "Duemilavini" the Italian sommelier association in the 2001, 2003 and 2004 with "cinque grappoli". The same goes with "tre stelle" from the Espresso wine book and an article written by Luca Maroni in his book "Guida dei vini italiani" which describes the Tenuta Sant'Antonio company and giving to the Amarone Campo dei Gigli wine (2003-2004 years) 90/100 points.
From October 2003, Campo dei Gigli is not alone anymore: another Amarone, "Selezione Antonio Castagnedi" is born from Corvina, Rondinella,Croatina ndOseleta grapes. It has a well balanced bouquet with fresh nuances tanks to the high acidity and the previous drying process.
The results are extraordinary with unusual food marriages for a wine like Amarone.
The DOC (regulated place-name) has two labels: the Monte Garbi and the Bandina: the Monti Garbi is the famous Tenuta Sant'Antonio Superior Valpolicella Ripasso which comes from grapes pressed immediately after the vintage and a rifermentation on Amarone skins during January. It is then placed in French oak barrels for a 12 months aging period. Monti Garbi wine is pleasant and easy-going. To remember also the publication of its label in the "Guida al bere quotidiano 2004", Slow Food editor with a good quality-price rate.
Castagnedi brothers decided to introduce a new label: the Bandina to celebrate a new Superior Valpolicella DOC concept coming from a 2-3 weeks drying process first and a long fermentation with a 24 months refining in 500 liters new French oak tonneaux. Other two labels maintain an important role inside the Tenuta Sant'Antonio catalogue: the Argille Bianche, the Valpolicella Recioto, and the Superior Soave, Monte Ceriani. In the last decade they become the way Tenuta Sant'Antonio works with the incredible Garganega performances which give the right strength to the company looking up towards future successes.
Tenuta Sant'Antonio Monti Garbi vineyards are located among Mezzane, Lavagno, and San Martino Buon Albergo villages . It is an ancient, green inclination lived day by day with a great love to balance nature and the men work.
Castagnedi family listen to time and the change of the seasons watching out when spring arrives and then summer with its bright light, welcoming the trees color changing during fall time, ending with a sleepy winter. In this process, the vineyards with their grapes grow in a perfect union with the man labor. With this vision on mind, the Tenuta Sant'Antonio experts changed all the previous vineyard system from the simple arbor to the guyot with a density of 7-8000 per hectare.
On the Illasi valleys the vineyards varieties is very good: Garganega(80%), Soave Trebbiano (20%) and others. In the Mezzane area prevail Corvinone (40%), Corvina (10%), Rondinella (15%) and Croatina and Oseleta too.
The Castagnedi family is very proud of this vineyard and it is followed with all the love and the attention due to their professionalism and they try very hard to balance between the man work and nature.
After the winter period, in February and march, Castagnedi estate starts pruning: only 8-10 gems remain on the vine. In this way the grapes have more sun exposition. The techniques used such as pruning and shower irrigation (only if needed) and turfing are highly innovative and they are done several times in the whole period. From the first decade of September to the second half of October, depending on the season, the grapes are handpicked and put to rest in small crates. It is an accurate and long process able to respect the nature and to privilege the product quality along with the company philosophy. The pressing and the refining period follow meanwhile the grapes chosen for the Amarone and the Recioto rest in well ventilated rooms for a 3 months period.
Tenuta Sant'Antonio offers a large quality wine varieties from the traditional Valpolicella and Soave , the classic Amarone, the Recioto, all Verona area expression, along with the Cabernet Sauvignon and a Passito. The company labels are eleven to satisfy all kind of tastes also maintaining the vineyard terroir vocation which gave them important national and international awards .