Calabria is the toe of the Italian boot and though less well known to many wine drinkers than some Italian regions has no less a heritage of wine production than its southern counterparts Puglia and Campania. It is now is catching up fast in terms of a reputation for well-made, delicious wines.
Santa Venere is traditionally Calabrian in the sense that their vines are part of a polyculture estate, growing alongside olives, while Charolais cattle are bred for cheese production nearby. Their 150 hectares, 25 of which are under vine, are close to Cìro and only half a kilometre from the Ionian Sea, where the Scala family have farmed since the 17th century.
In 1960 Federico Scala took over the running of the business and began an overhaul, building up the complex, eventually including a winery so that the grapes that until then had been sold could be made into wine on the estate.
These days the winery is very modern and the estate is farmed sustainably, without chemical intervention, and Federico has been joined by his son Giuseppe and renowned consultant winemaker Riccardo Cotarella. Local Calabrian varieties such as gaglioppo, marsigliana nera and guardavalle are grown alongside nerello cappuccio and greco, both from neighbouring regions of Italy.