Seeing the potential of people and places is inspiring. We usually meet producers at their estates, at a wine fair, or at a dinner with one of our current producers who has a friend making wine elsewhere. Most of them are multi-generational winemakers/vignerons born into the wine life. This is pretty much the norm in Europe. Someone almost always takes over from their father, who took over from their mother, and on it goes. Our newest Abruzzo estate, Tenuta Terraviva, isn’t a typical multigenerational scenario. Here two friends, out of love and respect for their region (and incredible vineyards), decided to make honest and pure wines from the region’s traditional and indigenous varieties: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Pecorino and Passerina. I have been following this winery for a couple of years, and it has become an estate I believe in, so it pleases me to finally introduce Tenuta Terraviva as the newest member of the Oz portfolio.
The story starts in the early 1970s when Gabriele Marano, a successful construction company owner, purchased 1.5 hectares of vines in the Tortoreto hills of northern Abruzzo. He named the estate Collebello and then gradually continued to purchase the neighboring vineyards. Today, the estate is a total of 18 hectares. In addition to the vines, there are also olive trees producing oil, and various vegetables brought to sale at the local market. Mr. Marano sold the Collebello grapes to the local wine cooperative for years, and he also had them make some mediocre wine for him which he labeled Cantine Marano.
In 2000 when Mr. Marano decided to retire, his son-in-law Pietro Topi took interest in continuing the family’s legacy at Collebello. Seeing the potential of this magnificent vineyard, Pietro and his childhood friend Martino Taraschi (a local fine wine distributor), decided to stop selling their grapes and began making their own wines from the Collebello vineyards. They knew they had the raw materials since the estate had always been organically farmed, and possessed some of the oldest and healthiest vines in the region, but they needed some help to make wine they would be proud to sell. So, in 2006 they built a new but modest winery amongst the vines, and named their winery Tenuta Terraviva, meaning “living earth,” and hired Claudia Galterio to make their wines. Claudia had been making a name for herself as being one of Piedmont’s top new “young winemakers,” and Martino and Pietro respected the non-manipulative way she crafted her wines. It was a learning process for all, but after a few vintages they are finally making the wines they envisioned from the start.
Tentuta Terraviva is one of the most spectacular estates I have ever seen. The estate lies at 500 meters just above the Adriatic Sea, which is only 1-2 km away. A majority of the Trebbiano and Montepulciano vines are 40+ years old and are trained in the traditional pergola trellis system. The wines are made naturally using only indigenous yeasts and very little sulphur. The end result is a great line-up of fresh, fruity, and earthy wines that deliver a lot of charm and personality.