Antonio Fattori

Antonio Fattori

The Fattori family have been producing wine in the Soave region in Veneto, north-east Italy, since the turn of the 20th century. It began with grandfather Antonio Fattori, who planted 17 acres of vines in the hills around the village of Terrossa, so called because of the often reddish basalt soils in the area. Antonio was a wonderful character with a passion for the land around him, and is remembered fondly by his son and grandson (both also named Antonio) for going everywhere barefoot, and insisting on always washing outdoors.

Although the area was not a particularly affluent one, grandfather Antonio sold the sweet wines he made to local bars and restaurants, delivering the bottles by horse and cart. It wasn't an easy enterprise: when Antonio returned from fighting in the First World War, he found all his vines had been destroyed by phylloxera. Still he persevered, and in 1970 his son took over operations.

The second generation was equally restricted by funds, and yet it was this Antonio who built the winery, which has been in use since his first year in charge. He is remembered as a generous and charitable man, low on funds but always big on kindness.

It was his son - the current generation, which has been in charge since 1979 - who was the first of the family to study wine academically, although the youngest Antonio admits it felt as though his destiny to do so was set from birth. He studied both at the University of Conegliano and the University of Dijon, and has been fortunate enough to travel widely and experiment with various techniques and machinery to expand his winemaking knowledge. Still, he insists that no amount of experience is enough, and he views every vintage as a new challenge waiting to be explored.

The vineyards and winery are almost all still based around Terrossa, on the basalt soils of the Alpone valley at between 150-450m altitude. As climate change has taken effect, the family has planted higher and higher, giving the wines an extra minerality and freshness. Garganega - the backbone of the region, and the grape that takes pride of place in the Fattori vineyards - is grown at 250m altitude.

In recent years, the Fattori family has abandoned the use of insecticides and pesticides, opting instead for natural alternatives. One such is a substance that restricts reproduction amongst pests, and they also use copper and vegetable oils. They now use almost entirely organic manure, and are looking at new methods of sustainability.

The winery has developed over the years, but Antonio still experiments with various techniques. The range of wines they produce are aged in a mixture of stainless-steel, cement, and wooden tanks, and the family's minimal-intervention policy means they are working on eliminating the use of chemicals, and only use the bare minimum levels of sulphur.

Grower profile: updated 22/10/2013

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