This week Lauren interviews Sophie of Tregole and we learn exactly what it takes (and how much it costs!) to become a producer of Chianti Classico wines.
Watch the Video
Sophie talks to Lauren about her personal journey to become a producer of Chianti Classico, the differences she saw between winemaking abroad (specifically Australia) vs. Italy and the steps you need to follow to get into the Chianti Classico Consortium and get that famous “black rooster” label.
It’s Italy so we should have known it would all be about rules and safeguarding tradition.
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Buy Uncork Italy Wines
Tregole wines will be available next week but for now you can still buy Fietri and/or Solatione wines at exclusive Uncork Italy prices by clicking below! You’ll be buying direct from the wine producers in Italy themselves.
Thanks to those of you who have already bought some wines, we can’t wait to hear what you think about it!
So you want to make Chianti Classico?
As Sophie explains, it’s not easy to become a producer of Chianti Classico and there are a strict set of rules to follow. Here’s the breakdown as discussed in the video:
Rule #1: Land
To be considered Chianti Classico, the vineyard must lie between Florence and Siena, in one of the subregions (such as Castellina in Chianti where Tregole is located). It also has to already be a vineyard to be considered for a Chianti Classico. You can’t just buy a field and decide to start planting wine and call it Chianti Classico. There are about 600 Chianti Classico producers.
Rule #2: Grapes
Chianti Classico has to be 80% Sangiovese grape and the other 20% can be a blend of pre-approved red grape varieties such as Colorino, Canaiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and more.
Rule #3: Ageing
Chianti Classico requires 1 year of ageing in the cellar. Chianti Classico Riserva requires 2 years of ageing, 6 months of which must be in wood barrels. “Gran Selezione” is the new Italian “cru” wines which must be chosen from a specific vineyard or part of a vineyard within the property.
Rule #4: Taste
Then the wine is blind taste tested by the Chianti Classico board and if it checks out, they send you back the labels for the year of Chianti Classico you want to sell. Otherwise, you’ll have to label that wine an “IGT” and try again next year!
Your vineyard costs
Imagine you have 1 hectare of land and you have that coveted Chianti Classico license. (1 hectare = 10,000 square meters = 2.47 acres). Now… what costs are we talking about here.
€30,000 – to trench and plant the grapes
€1,000 per meter of fencing… ! Making the fence is one of the most expensive parts of the vineyard but absolutely necessary in forested areas like Chianti Classico in order to keep out the wild boar that will destroy the vines and eat all the grapes! Maybe that’s why there is so much wild boar on the menu in Tuscany!
€6,000 for the “diraspapigiatrice” – the machine that de-stems the grapes and presses them
€60,000 for the tractor
€4,000 for a cement tank
€1,900 for the medium wooden barrels (500 litres)
€1,200 for the French oak (barrique) barrels
€3,000-€9,000 for the large wooden barrels
Not included: the cost of that license, all the products to keep the plants alive, workers and…
You have to wait 3 years for the plant to start producing grapes.
Chianti Classico has to age a minimum of 1 year before it can be bottled.
And at the end of it, you can buy a bottle of Chianti Classico wine for…. €20….!
Wine Word of the Week
Vignaiolo = winegrower (you could say “winemaker” but it’s specifically the person working the land in the vineyard). Vigna = vine and the suffix “-olo” means the one doing the job.
Ogni giorno è una battaglia tra Vignaiolo e cinghiale!
Every day is a battle between the winegrower and the wild boar!
Book a tasting!
We do virtual and in person wine tastings for those interested in getting to know a little bit more about what’s in your glass! You can do the tasting with the Uncork Italy wine you’ve bought or with your own wine.
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A special thank you to our Patreon Supporters and those who have bought Uncork Italy wine!
A sincere and grateful GRAZIE to those of you who are contributing to our project on Patreon! To thank you for helping keep us going, you’ll have access to additional videos and content as well as discounts on private wine tours and tastings.
This upcoming week’s Patreon-only content? We take you into the cellars of Tregole and learn what makes an artisan wine barrel so unique.
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Next week Lauren, Luca & Luca come back for a tasting of Tregole wine plus food pairing and we’ll give you the chance to buy Tregole wines at our Uncork Italy discount.