Owners & winemakers: Rudi, Laura, and Giovanni Roncari
Vineyards: 8.5ha (half of which are estate-owned, half of which are rented)
Vineyard management: Certified organic, in progress towards biodynamic certification
Soils: Calcareous clay
Grapes grown: Corvina, Rondinella, Garganega, Sangiovese, Merlot, Croatina
Annual production: 30,000 bottles
- Husband and wife Rudi and Laura are the first generation of their family to make wine, and now their son Giovanni has joined them.
- “We are trying to make styles of wine different from those already in the market. We’re always getting new ideas, but the style remains so-called ‘natural wine,’ which for us means honest and simple.”
The story of Montenigo is not the story of generations of winemakers. It’s the story of a family who owned a farm with olive trees, grapevines, and woodland, and never expected to do anything more than sell grapes to the local co-op. It’s a story that began one evening in 2015, after a long day of harvest, when a husband turned to his wife and said, “Our grapes are really good this year, it seems a shame to see them mixed with other people’s. Next year, I want to make our own wine.” And so, Rudi and Laura became unexpected vignerons.
“Truly, my husband and I were not wine experts,” Laura admits. “To be honest, we don’t have centuries of history behind us, or ancestors who passed on their knowledge or passion. In any case, it’s better to begin without being influenced–what’s passed on is not always something positive, or something you’d agree with. We wanted to produce a natural wine without knowing what natural wine was–for us, it meant simply to create something different, a wine that is clean, genuine, sincere, and above all else, good!”
In 2016, they were able to quickly finish construction on a wine cellar that had been abandoned incomplete on the property years earlier, and they produced their first vintage that year. Within a few years, their son Giovanni joined them, and he is now responsible for the farming and winemaking.
The passion the family feels for their terroir comes through clearly: Laura describes it as “a place where we find a sense of peace and serenity, listening to the rustling of the leaves, the creaking of the branches, the insects, the animals… smelling the fragrances, feeling the warm breezes… I call our vineyards my Paradise.”
The main difficulty of making wine here is the steep slope of the vineyards, which make harvest (as well as other vineyard tasks) a time-consuming manual labor. It requires hard work and sacrifices, but results in a great deal of satisfaction.
With their philosophy of creativity, simplicity, and sincerity, you could say Rudi, Laura, and Giovanni are writing their own story.