THE VINEYARD

Santa Tresa

is situated in the municipality of Vittoria, south west Sicily, at 240 metres above sea level.

The estate consists of 50 hectares, of which 39 are cultivated with vines and it is located on a plain surrounded by the Dirillio River to the north, the Ilei Mountains to the east, and open to the sea to the south
and west.
The landscape is gently undulating and is characterised by a layer of “terra rossa” or “red soil” resting on a base of clay.
The top layer is therefore cool, loose, rich in minerals, whereas the next layer down is rich in organic matter and is excellent at retaining water.
There is an underground irrigation system which we use only when absolutely necessary – when the survival of the plant is at risk.
This system avoids water waste through surface run off and evaporation.
Careful water supply is in the DNA of the Santa Tresa estate, which was named after Saint Therese in the late seventeenth century. It is told that a monk (others say the landowner of the time) while searching for water during a severe drought, found a small statue of the Saint so he decided to dig in that point and found a water source, which from then on served all the neighbouring areas.
Legend or not, there is still a well in this very spot, on the northern boundary of the Santa Tresa estate.
Perhaps that’s the reason why people visiting us often say we live on a blessed land!

Terra Rossa

The soil on the estate has ideal characteristics: a 40-100 centimetre surface layer of light red sandy loam on a well-drained limestone base, which helps to guarantee a constant supply of vital water. Today, the Feudo di Santa Tresa estate has around 50 hectares of vineyards. The minute selection of the clones and rootstocks and the vine density (ca. 5000/5500 vines per hectare) means cultivation techniques can be simple, while at the same time strictly controlled. The natural quality of the vines and grapes is so exceptional that it would be foolhardy to intervene more than absolutely necessary.

ACQUA

Water management is key in the harsh Sicilian summer.
We have invested in the maintenance of the ancient wells on the estate and have implemented an eco-friendly system of getting water from a local reservoir, which enables us to irrigate our vines in a very controlled manner when needed. This also means that we don’t over-use the wells on the estate, as to do so would be to risk impoverishing the water table. The vast majority of our irrigation system is under ground, saving around 70% of water if compared to the usual over-ground drip irrigation.

It is vital to get the balance right in terms of the water management for vines – they need just the right amount of water, but not too much, and this is something we watch very carefully.

Inerbimento

weeds are encouraged!
We actually allow weeds to grow in between the rows of vines, creating a unique biodiversity, attracting the right insects, and below ground a unique micro-organism mix is formed. In addition, vines like competition, and benefit from competing with the weeds by the roots going deeper and deeper into the soil.

Favino

a natural fertiliser
For fertilizer, we grow beans – “favino”, which we have found to be the best natural fertilizer for the vines. We find that the beans provide all the extra nutrients that we need for the vines to flourish and this is a method as close to nature as possible.

Grapes can get sunburn!

“Canopy management” is an important part of our vineyard management.
The canopy of vine leaves offers vital protection to the grapes from the harsh sun rays – grapes can suffer a kind of sun burn! The amount of foliage left on the vine is carefully managed in order to give the perfect balance between providing shade and allowing the grapes to ripen.

The Harvest

by Hand
The grape picking is all done by hand, each worker taking a row of vines each to worth their way through.

Grapes are put into small plastic containers, which have a lot of aeration holes. It is vital that the containers are not too big, or the grapes will be crushed by their own weight. It is also very important that they do not get too hot, or the skins will start to split and the wine will start to ferment naturally in the vineyard!

Each picker has two containers to fill with grapes. The containers are set on a trolley, which is then pulled into the shade once the containers are full. Lids are put on the containers to keep the grapes in the shade.

Every Single Bunch of Grapes is Important

Every bunch of grapes is inspected to ensure that the grapes are perfect condition before being picked.
This is a long and meticulous job and often the vineyards are picked several times over, the pickers returning to vines after a few days once the grapes have reached the perfect ripeness.

Since all grapes are picked by hand, with no mechanical harvesting, the picking team has to be large and each individual works really hard throughout the harvest period. They tend to work a split shift – very early in the morning, a break in the middle of the day, returning in the early evening.

The Grapes are Transported

to the Winery with Great Care
The containers of grapes are brought back to the cool stone buildings of the winery on a regular basis – it is important that they spend as little time as possible out in the vineyard once they have been picked. Each container of grapes is brought in one by one – there are no machines for this!

The grapes are stored in the cool stone building of the winery. The winery is built using local stone, with walls half a meter thick in order to keep the sun out and the cool air in.

The grapes are stacked in large, airy trays which allow the movement of air, keeping them as cool as possible.

Since all grapes are picked by hand, with no mechanical harvesting, the picking team has to be large and each individual works really hard throughout the harvest period. They tend to work a split shift – very early in the morning, a break in the middle of the day, returning in the early evening.

At The Winery

The grapes are very gently de-stemmed in order to keep each individual grape as intact as possible.
The grapes are carefully inspected to make sure no foliage goes into the wine.

Stainless steel tanks are vital for temperature control in climates like Sicily’s.

The grapes are stored in the cool stone building of the winery. The winery is built using local stone, with walls half a meter thick in order to keep the sun out and the cool air in.

The grapes are stacked in large, airy trays which allow the movement of air, keeping them as cool as possible.

Since all grapes are picked by hand, with no mechanical harvesting, the picking team has to be large and each individual works really hard throughout the harvest period. They tend to work a split shift – very early in the morning, a break in the middle of the day, returning in the early evening.