In the 1990s Alfonso Arpino, a physician in Tramonti, began his involvement with his family’s vineyards. His wines soon became his passion which lead him to acquire even more vineyards: Casina and Vignarella. In these ancient vinyards many vines are past the century mark in age and therefore an indisputable rarity. Thanks to these vines Monte di Grazia is able to produce an extraordinary wine of limited production. This wine is truly a secret to discover, simply because the original varieties of grapes are practically unknown: the red Tintore and Piedirosso and the white Pepella, Ginestra and Biancatenera are cared for by Alfonso on the terraces of the mountains of Tramonti, the mountains of the Amalfi Coast. The cultivation is purely organic, fully respecting nature: stable manure being used as fertilizer, verdigris and sulphur are used to fight against the grapevine downy mildew and the powdery mildew. These are the ancient ways to care for the vines and assure the survival of these antique grapevines.
Monte di Grazia produces its wine solely from vines on its own property cultivated with organic methods. Some vines are over 100 years old and cared for in an ancient way.
All the grapevines are situated in Tramonti which lies above the Amalfi Coast (in a distance of approx. 10 km). Their growth is influenced by the wind coming from the South-West and from the breeze which softens the climate in Summer, and a mountainous climate and wind from the North in Winter. The lower part of Tramonti lies at 200 m above sea level and rises up to 676 m above sea level at the “Valico di Chiunzi” (the pass of the mountains which connects to the hinterland). Strong thermal excursions create a very unique micro climate.
1. Monte di Grazia – 500 m AMSL
2. Casina – 444 m AMSL
3. Vignarella – 431 m AMSL
4. Madonna del Carmine – 400 m AMSL
5. Casa di mario – 270 m AMSL
The way the vineyards of Madonna del Carmine, and vignarella present their grapevines follows the most ancient rules:
1. training: atypical raggiera,
2. pales from chestnut trees sustain the tendrils, some of which are very thick, long and heavy. The pales are manually decorticated at the very first days of Spring, stocked for at least one year, and burnt at top for approximately half a metre,
3. the tutor pale maintains several grapevines, being tied with a branch of a willow tree.
Many grapevines have huge trunks and are many centuries old.
Before reading further you might want to have a look at our slideshow with photos taken between 28th June 2008 and 12th February 2010. They show you our vines through the various seasons: in the Summer sun, with Autumn leaves and under snow:
The decision to cultivate the vineyards following the rules of organic agriculture derives from a respect for the environment and wanting to prolong the live of these plants as much as possible.
The grapevines are autoctone (Tintore, Piedirosso, Bianca Tenera, Ginestra and Pepella) and typical of Tramonti. Their character comes from the strong thermic excursions above the Amalfi Coast located in midst of the Monti Lattari park.
1. Tintore: this variety fully expresses the popular tradition which compares this kind of grapevine with an “artist of colour” (tintore).
2. Piedirosso: the name of this variety comes from the way it grows. The base of the plant looks like a pigeon’s claw.
1. Pepella: this variety gives only a very few big grapes, but many small ones like pepper corns.
2. Ginestra: the name of this variety comes from the green-yellow colour shades which are similar to the colour of the gorse flower.
3. Bianca Tenera: the very delicate peel.
Some information about the production:
1. Complete surface: 5.20 hectares
2. Surface with grapevines: 2.70 hectares
3. Harvest per hectar: 25-40 quintals
4. Yearly production: 4000 bottles of red wine, 1000-2000 bottles of white wine, 700 bottles of rosé wine. The low amount which is being harvested depends on the low growth of the Tintore (red grapes) and the Pepella (white grapes), the grapes of which are very small when being ripe. The terrain is composed of terraces with “ciglioni” (borders of the terraces) overgrown with herbage, which were formed by numerous eruptions of the nearby mount Vesuvius.
1. Turece: sand and lapilli
2. Terra vulpegna: argillageous ground (its colour is similar to the colour of foxes fur)