This family-run co-operative is based in the Colli Berici (Berici Hills), which are between Verona and Padua in the Veneto region of north-east Italy. It is owned by the Cielo family, and the name 'Cielo e Terra' is doubly clever: it translates literally to 'heaven and earth' and also reflects the family's close ties to the terroir of Veneto.
The estate was founded in 1908 by Giovanni Cielo. He began by planting vines around the family home, but the property grew and grew, and his sons and grandsons built their own winery and began buying grapes from other local growers to meet production demands. By the time it reached the current, fourth generation - Luca and Pierpaolo Cielo - in the early 21st century, the co-op was sourcing fruit from over 2,000 producers in the Colli Berici.
Considering that the Berici hills are a real suntrap, with a warm, Mediterranean climate, it isn't surprising to learn that vines have been grown here for hundreds of years. Co-op members own 4,000 hectares of vines here in total, from well-known favourites like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, trebbiano, merlot and sangiovese to more local varieties like Manzoni bianco, tai rosso and raboso.
The company has three wineries spread across the southern towns of the hills. On arrival, grapes are sorted according to variety, area of origin and sugar levels. Winemaking involves cold fermentation and soft pressing, both of which help to retain the grapes' natural fragrance and complexity.
The co-op produces various ranges of wines - the one wine we buy, Baccolo, is from the estate's premium range, and is a blend of merlot and corvina. The grapes are partially dried to enhance flavour and part of the blend is aged in oak barriques.