Contents of the box: 1 box contains 4.5l of organic fresh wine Chardonnay Sangiovese PGI Toscana
Variety: Chardonnay and Sangiovese
Vines are cultivated under the Organic Farming regulations of the European Union since 2009
2 x Rose di Montemaggio PGI (75 cl glass bottle): It’s base is 100% Sangiovese grape variety, it is a fruity, fresh, mineral, dry rose with a hint of strawberry, which is perfect for summer as an aperitif or as an alternative to the white wine - perfect for your fresh summer salads with avocado or seafood, any fish or shellfish
2 x Chardonnay di Montemaggio PGI (75 cl glass bottle): dry white wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, very light, mineral, and elegant with a straw-like yellow colour, notes of honey, cream, and butter - ideal with fish and seafood, any poultry dishes, especially creamy ones
2 x Cielo di Montemaggio PGI (75 cl glass bottle): sparkling wine made with the Charmant method and based on the Chardonnay, very light and subtle, the bubbles are small - perfect as an aperitif accompanying cheese or olives
The only advice is to keep it in a dark and humid place and consume it within 1 year
Product with history
I was born in the Soviet Union in 1983 far east of it, in a city called Vladivostok and the biggest memory I have of my childhood (a very happy one I have to say) is my work with my grandparents in their vegetable garden, which was a 600 sqm piece of land. Honestly, when I was a kid I didn't know we needed to survive, as it was difficult to buy food in shops as there was no fresh food, and then having so much we could have exchanged it for something else we didn't cultivate ourselves - like eggs, milk and sugar and so on. But I didn't know all that - for me it was a time to spend with my grandparents who worked there every weekend and all their holidays, as they had normal jobs during the week.
I just remember the constant cycle of nature - winter: when my uncle and grandfather went to hunt into the forest for weeks and we didn’t work at the vegetable garden, it was cold and boring and very windy, as it's a coastal town on the Sea of Japanese where it is always windy. Then when the spring came we were starting to prepare the soil, growing plants from the seeds on the balcony of my grandmother's flat. And that's how the excitement started and the year for me began. :) My grandparents passed away in 2011, but I still remember my childhood with them so vividly and with a full heart. I keep and cherish these memories and so when my parents decided to buy a wine farm, I did not mind changing my city life (I was studying to become a lawyer in London) for the countryside in Chianti. A lot of people ask me whether it was difficult to make this decision, but I honestly didn't think much about it - I was going back to nature, back to roots, and I have never regretted it ever since. I cultivate my small vegetable garden at Montemaggio as well - teaching my daughters about plants, life cycles, and nature in general. When you care about plants so much - they will always return the favour.
Fattoria di Montemaggio has been purchased by my family in 2008, from an English owner, and we have been passionately working there ever since. I personally came to manage the farm fully in September 2009, when I graduated my Law Masters in London when I was 24 years old. Wine has always been a passion of my family, but when I was younger I never could have thought of managing a vineyard. It came quite naturally when I did, since I love nature, plants, gardening and everything to do with it.
I'm the owner of the farm, but I do the entire marketing side of the business and I manage a lot of sales and connections with our customers. After a couple of years at Montemaggio, I realised that with my law background it is very difficult to run a business since I literally do not know how to do even excel sheets. So I have done another Master (I had a law one already) in Bordeaux at Inseec, it's called International Wine University and my course was called Marketing and Management in the Wine and Spirits sector.
I did a year there and since then I had a better idea of where I wanted to take my business. Social media, digital marketing became my focus, and I have never really diverted ever since. We are a small farm and I knew that in order for people to know about us and fall in love with us, we will have to be so present and so visible everywhere - and it was my mission ever since. Social media and the online world gave us this visibility which we would never have been able to obtain using usual marketing traditional channels of importers and distributors. That's why CrowdFarming resonated so well with me since I found the project on Facebook. I loved the idea of a direct connection between the final consumer and the farmer. I liked the idea of natural/clean products grown with love and passion taking care of our environment, our planet, and ourselves at the same time. I think humans are supposed to live close to nature, to be connected with it and this will help us understand how we should live our lives. I think people forget about it living in the concrete jungle of our huge cities and get distant from the roots and forget how it is to be close to nature - hence projects like this will help them connect and understand how the food is actually made and what it means to make it with passion, by hand in a real artisanal way instead of commercial/industrial production full of pesticides, chemical and damaging to our immune system and those of the plants as well.
Fattoria di Montemaggio has existed as a winery since 1975 and was founded by an Italian publicist. In fact, early labels of the winery (in the 80s) were all depicting Florence soccer team flags in support of Italian soccer. It was later sold to German owners in the 90s, and then to an English owner in early 2000.
On old maps we were able to find in the city hall of Radda in Chianti we found that Montemaggio exists since the 15th century, as its main villa was used to serve as a lookout tower. As you probably have heard, during those times there was no Italy, but the city of Florence (Kingdom of Florence ) and the city of Siena (Kingdom of Siena) and they were always in battle. So Montemaggio served as a lookout tower, as it is situated on the border between both cities.
Everything we have around us matters, because we are a part of it as well. The idea to do as little damage as possible and pass on to future generations as much heritage as possible always resonated with us and therefore resonates with everything we do here in Montemaggio.
The name Montemaggio derives from “Monte Maggiore” (Big Mountain), which indicates its elevated position - 600m above sea level, which is a borderline for the production of Sangiovese grapes. Altitude has been a very important part of the quality of our wines - because we always have this distinct drop in temperature between day and night which has an outstanding effect on the aromas of the future wines and allows the wines to be persistent and astonishingly fresh. Especially now when global warming is a real threat to winemaking all around the world, being in an elevated position offers enormous benefits to the quality of the wine, the quantity of alcohol in each wine, and the expression of the terroir.
The wines Sangiovese and Chardonnay have been planted with a very high density per hectare (6,250 plants/hectare in some vineyards). We then produce a lower quantity of grapes per hectare (35-40 Ql/hectare, depending on the wine- which is a very low yield ), by regulating it through pruning and selection techniques. Montemaggio follows the concept of a very high-quality “Terroir” wine. We have the chance to supervise the quality of wine in every bottle and make sure that our customers get a very special product. To do a quality wine, we have to limit grape production and what each vine produces every year, this way we are able to make sure that everything will be concentrated in only 4-5 bunches per plant and not 10 or 20. These characteristics, in addition to the exposure, the slopes, the micro-climate, the soil, and the hard and accurate and passionate work, guarantee the production of excellent and authentic Tuscan wines.
We are very much in the middle of the forest, isolated from the busy city life. You will not believe how many animals we have in the forests, often jumping over and digging under the fence of the farm - we see wild birds, deer, porcupines, sometimes we hear wolves howling far away in the forests.
The vineyards take up an area of 8,5-9 Ha in total and are fenced. Otherwise, it would be a feast for all the animals and birds from the forest to enjoy the grapes whenever we are about to harvest. The vineyards have a central position in the farm with exposure to the southwest of remarkable importance. The soil here is rich on galestro, sandstone, and alberese. What we call in italy “Gallestro” is truly incredible for cultivation of grapes because it allows them to grow very long roots in search of water and minerals, making them “suffer”, as we like to say in agriculture. The more they “suffer” the stronger they become, and the better they produce high-quality wines.
In Chianti we are not allowed to irrigate vines, therefore rainfall is all we rely on. When we have vineyards we have to make sure that we do good drainage in order to make sure that water passes very well during the heavy rains and we either collect it in a small natural lake we have in Montemaggio or we divert it to the forest, outside of the vineyards. Our slopes are very inclined, and we have to make sure that water passes through the ground, part of it gets absorbed but then the rest passes through to avoid avalanches and soil erosion.
We are avid supporters of organic and biodynamic agriculture. We are fully organic certified, which actually requires 2 certifications: organic grapes and organic wine. One can produce organic grapes but not produce organic wines for example. So it is important to have both to be able to really do a great job.
Organic agriculture in winemaking? What does it mean? It means we do not use any chemicals that damages the immune system of the vine (or any plant for that matter), that enters and alters their composition. We are allowed to use sulfur and copper. These 2 elements do not enter into the system of the vines but treat the disease on the surface (usually the disease is rot due to too much humidity). Further, we use sulfur as a conservative to the wine, we use a very small amount in order to give a wine a chance to last since we age our wines for such a long time, and also to be able to transport it and ship all around the world for our customers.
Organic agriculture also means that we do not alter nature in order to fight one bug or the other, by spraying poisonous chemicals on it. Instead we create mini wars guiding them away from our grapes and into nature.
We also plant cover crops throughout the entire farm - this is a very common practice in organic and biodynamic agriculture. It involves planting different plants - like mustard, and trefoil, barley, beans, etc to carry out different functions and either enrich the soil with various minerals (nitrogen, phosphorus and others) or on the other hand take away something - for example water from the lower parts of the rows, where it tends to concentrate. Flowers from such plants attract an incredible amount of pollinators like bees, bumblebees, beneficial butterflies, and various other insects that are so important to preserve our ecosystem, flora and fauna. Even though grapes are mostly pollinated by wind, there is a small part that pollinators also are involved in, and it would have been impossible to imagine our world without them. They form a crucial part in our planet’s ecosystem and survival of an astonishing amount of crops.
Chianti Classico territory is very unique also because even though it is a small region, it is very diverse. There are many producers of Chianti Classico, and I'm proud to say that Tuscany is the region with the most organic farms throughout Italy. Our territory is very diverse, hence the wines are also very different from one another.
Montemaggio is a team effort, but mainly it's myself and my agronomist Ilaria. We are very different but I think this is what probably allows Montemaggio to work and function so well. She is more grounded and I'm more digitally present, but we share a passion for wine, nature and genuine good products.
Apart from Ilaria, we have a great team in Montemaggio. Montemaggio is small so a lot of responsibilities of different people overlap greatly, specifically when we are facing some hardship like sudden drought or maybe when vegetation grows greatly and we need an extra pair of hands in the vineyards. And everyone is very happy to help with whatever needed. It took us a long time to form the team, but now I can finally say that everyone works together with great passion, responsibility, and care:
My father, Edoardo, Said, Haseeba (Said’s wife), Luciano, Edzgon, Susanna, Francesco and myself. Myself, Ilaria, Edoardo, and Francesco - carry out tours and tastings. I often do it in Russian and English, Ilaria usually take care of them in Italian, English, and French, and Edoardo in English and Italian.
All workers and everyone who is working in Montemaggio get paid by Montemaggio. We have “indefinite” contracts with Edoardo, Susanna, and Ilaria (that's how it is called in Italy - contratto a tempo indeterminato). The other employees have renewable contracts every year.
In Montemaggio we do composting and it has been my focus in the last couple of years and it perfectly resonates with a zero-waste strategy we are aiming at.
Montemaggio, Siena, IT
4 women and 5 men
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