Ampeleia was founded in 2002 as a collaborative project between Elisabetta Foradori, Giovanni Podini, and Thomas Wildman. The team saw such profound biodiversity in the “Colline Metallifere” (metal bearing hills in Maremma) that they knew it must be farmed with the utmost respect for the land. This land has been mined for minerals since Etruscan times, and the image on Ampeleia’s label is from a piece of ancient Etruscan pottery that was excavated at the estate.
The estate comprises 150 hectares, only 35 of which are under vine, set at three different altitudes. The variety in altitude showcases the diverse microclimates and soil types of the area. Their lowest-lying land, Ampeleia di Sotto, is roughly 200 meters above sea level and houses much of their Alicante (Grenache). Ampeleia di Mezzo vineyards are between 250 and 350 meters above sea level and contain Sangiovese, Carignano, Alicante, and Alicante Bouschet. Higher still, the Ampeleia di Sofra vineyards sit at 450 to 600 meters above sea level, where Cabernet Franc takes up most of the 15 hectares under vine.
The approach to both farming and winemaking at Ampeleia is a constant reminder of how paying homage to the earth’s diversity is fundamental in making wines of great terroir. Among the primary varietals of Ampeleia are co-plantings of Trebbiano and Malvasia. All vessels used at Ampeleia are concrete or large 5,000- to 6,000-liter casks.