Get To Know Winemakers - La Stoppa
La Stoppa is a historic winery located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, renowned for its production of exceptional natural wines. It was founded in the late 19th century by Gian Marco Ageno, a wealthy lawyer who discovered the land to be apt for winemaking.
The winery earned a loyal following through its commitment to organic and biodynamic farming practices, following a transformation helmed by Elena Pantaleoni, whose family purchased the estate in 1973.
“Being a custodian to the land and preserving the environment rather than imposing myself on nature… From here, the decision to farm organically was born; for a type of agriculture that contains the value of respect for ‘the living’”.
La Stoppa’s vineyards span over 58 hectares (approximately 143 acres) across the Trebbiola valley, in an area of rolling hills and limestone soils that provide a unique terroir for local grapes to grow in.
The winery is known for producing natural wines using organic and biodynamic farming practices, and has been certified organic since 2008. Biodynamic farming practices are a holistic approach that helps to improve soil fertility and plant health, treating the farm as a self-contained, living organism that is connected to a larger environment.
La Stoppa Estate is committed to sustainable agriculture and ecological preservation. They have implemented many environmentally friendly initiatives, such as using solar power and reducing water usage. A portion of the land is also dedicated to the production of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as honey from their own beehives.
Since 1996, Elena Pantaleoni and head vignaiolo (“wine-grower”) Giulio Armani, have cultivated mainly local varieties of grapes. Barbera and Bonarda for red grapes, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Ortrugo, and Trebbiano for white grapes.
Plants across the vineyard are left to grow autonomously, without fertilization or pesticides. Cultivation is done by hand to ensure utmost attention can be given to the quality of grape selection. The intrinsic quality of the grapes, average age of the vines, and poor soil make it possible to obtain unique, characterized wines, born and transformed within the estate.
Fermentation and Aging
La Stoppa uses native yeasts present on the grape skins to ferment their wines, rather than adding commercial yeasts. Fermented in concrete or stainless steel tanks, and sometimes in oak barrels, the wine is left to infuse with the skins, giving the red wines colour and tannins, and white wines their texture and complexity.
The wines are commercialized when deemed optimal to drink, with the length of aging ranging from a few months to several years. Once the wine has aged, it is bottled without filtration, which helps to preserve the natural flavours and aromas of the wine.
La Stoppa gives us a fine example of high quality, natural wines meticulously produced using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. Their attention to detail, alongside their focus on preserving the natural environment is a challenging and costly endeavour few are willing to take on. But their patience and diligence are all reflected in the consistent quality of their magnificent wines.
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All of La Stoppa’s wines are made from grapes grown on their estate, including red, white, and orange wines. Each wine’s unique, complex flavour profile is a testament to their natural winemaking philosophy. A true artist in the world of wine-making.