The wine cellar of Castello di Montegiove
Wine production has been documented in the County of Montegiove as early as 1292, and wine has been produced in the cellars of Castello di Montegiove for centuries as evidenced by the historical archives of the castle. Even today, the vinification, barrel ageing and bottling takes place in the cellar which was, in part, constructed prior to the 15th century. The cellars were modified in the mid-1960s to accommodate the increased grape production following an extensive planting of vineyards. At that time, it had a total capacity exceeding 2500 hl for ageing wine in large traditional Italian oak casks, the so-called “botti” of varying dimensions spanning from 560 to 5000 litres. The cantina also had large concrete fermentation and storage vats used for “macération carbonique”. For production, the cellar boasted one of the earliest models available of a horizontal destemmer, and (at the time) state-of-the-art, horizontal Vaslin press as well as a traditional vertical double basket hydraulic press.
Today, the production takes place in a cellar that was restructured in 2008. It is equipped with full temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation vats and refurbished concrete vats of various capacities. This allows for vinification to take place in small lots, ensuring full control over the fermentation and complete separation of varieties and vineyards. In the cellar state-of-the-art peristaltic pumps are used for transfer of the destemmed and gently crushed grapes. During fermentation the wine is gently pumped over and manually distributed by hose over the cap in the fermenters.
The layout of the cellar very often allows the use of gravity alone for the transfer of the wine. When this is not possible the wine is gently transferred using a progressive cavity pump. On some occasions filtering of wine is performed prior to bottling and this is done by using a classical plate and frame filter system.
Wine ageing takes place in small Italian casks, locally known as “botticelle”, constructed in the north-eastern Italian region of Veneto, using Slavonian oak. The cellar also has a “barricaia” (barrel room) holding both barriques and tonneaux. These high quality barrels are made of oak from French state-owned forests managed by ONF (Tronçais, Bercé, Fontainebleau, Haguenau, Compiègne and Bitche) generally from Sessile oak trees. This fine-grained oak is carefully sorted and seasoned, and is custom made by two barrel makers from Bordeaux and Burgundy, respectively. Our wines are “Mis en bouteille au château”, as all bottling is done in the cellar using a modern bottling line. During this process, all air is evacuated prior to introducing the wine and the bottles are sealed with supreme quality natural cork. This guarantees the intrinsic quality of the wine and ensures that it will remain so for decades to come.