The history of Villa farm is closely related to the medieval hamlet of the same name, situated in the council of Monticelli Brusati in the heart of the Franciacorta area.
Monticelli Brusati has been famous for centuries for its production of wines which have been extolled by historians, poets and men of letters. The government land registry of 1610, a year of abundant grape production in Franciacorta, mentions the "sweet wines" of Monticelli Brusati; while in 1852, Gabriele Rosa, an expert on Franciacorta vine growing, considered some of the best wines to be those of "Monticello, Erbusco, Capriolo, but the wine of Monticello is the best of them all for its worth and its goodness".
The importance that vine growing had on the life of the community of the village of Villa is well represented by numerous maps (to be found on the farm), that describe the territory from 1600 to the end of 1700, when Napoleon added Franciacorta to his conquests.
In 1900 the history of wine production in the village of Villa, underwent the same crisis as in other areas of Franciacorta, as a result of the drawing out of the métayage contract, which did not favour the improvement of production.
The situation dragged on until 1960, the year in which the Bianchi family bought the village with the hundreds of hectares belonging to it.
The fundamental change started by the family of entrepreneurs was the trasformation from the métayage system to that of direct management, followed by the reconstruction and preparation of new farming terrain dedicated exclusively to growing quality vines.
At the will of Sandro Bianchi, the owner of Villa Farm, in the following years the buildings were also restored and the first extension of the wine vault was begun, which until then had remained unchanged since the XVIth century.
It was towards the end of the 70s, after a journey to the Champagne area together with other Franciacorta wine producers, that Villa farm's vocation to producing sparkling wines emerged. The first results were encouraging, especially thanks to numerous deserved prizes at the Douja d'Or, where Villa was awarded the first gold medal to be granted to a sparkling wine of Franciacorta.
Villa farm covers 35 hectares, 30 of which in a single area, around the hamlet of the same name. The land today is the result of a lot of hard work which began in 1962 with the reclaiming of the land, slowly followed by their agglomeration, while vines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero were planted for white wines, and Cabarnet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Nebbiolo, Merlot and Barbera for red wines.
At the same time the Gradoni vineyard at the foot of the Madonna della Rosa hill was salvaged. Villa farm considers the recovery of this vineyard to have been a work of prime importance; it was very hard work rebuilding the dry stone walls, but it has allowed for the restoration of the magnificent vineyard behind the Gradoni wine vault; the composition of the soil is particularly suitable for vine growing with a gradient of more than 45% in some places, its arrangement of terraces and exposure making it look rather like the "heroically" built vineyards seen in the mountains.
The entire slope of the hill behind the village, facing south and south-east, is perfectly positioned and favoured by a special micro-climate due to the oak woods, heather and junipers which cover the Madonna della Rosa Hill from the top down the edges of the vineyard terraces. These are supported by dry stone walls as far as the bottom of the slope where the cellars are situated.
At the beginning of the eighties a further leap in quality was required and this could only happen if the vineyards were once again renewed. Therefore new plantations were created which increased the vine-planted surface from the 12 hectares of 1982 to 20 hectares in 1991, 26 hectares in 2000 untill reaching the present area of 35 hectares.
The current philosophy in the vineyard consists of detailed attention to the vineyard, entrusted to qualified members of the team led by Ermes Vianelli, an attention that might even seem extreme, with short pruning and a limited quantity of grapes per plant.
The wine vault at Villa today is made up of 4 communicating rooms built in different periods. The central body is a basement measuring about 170 square metres which dates back to the XVI century. It is presently reserved for red wines. Next to this is a small vault of approximately 100 square metres, created in 1978 dedicated to the refining in barrique of the Terre di Franciacorta Gradoni red wine.
The reconstruction of the wine vaults, like the rebuilding of the village, has been long and has required considerable investments.
The first enlargement in 1978 was followed by a second much more important extension in 1989, with the building of a new wine vault of about 900 square metres built completely underground , equipped to make sparkling wines, with arches and vaults under which the Franciacorta wines ferment on the yeasts for a long time before dégorgement.
Finally in 2003 a new underground cellar of approximately 1.000 square metres was built, equipped for pressing and making wine at controlled temperatures, with a computerised control panel and a modern bottling and labelling line.