Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


The Quiet Strength of Querciabella

Querciabella’s biodynamic practices wouldn’t be as impressive if their wines weren’t so gorgeous. It’s like finding out that woman you’ve been admiring from afar is not only beautiful, but also funny, loves sports and is smarter than you’ll ever be. You will, of course, fall madly in love.

Founded in the hills of Tuscany’s Greve in Chianti region in 1974, by Giuseppe “Pepito” Castiglioni, a huge wine enthusiast and extraordinary collector of wine, Querciabella has won the acclaim of some of the wine world’s most discriminating critics and consumers for their Camartina, Batàr, Palafreno and Querciabella Chianti Classico. Querciabella began practicing organic viticulture in 1988, at the behest of Pepito’s son, Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni, and has been certified organic and biodynamic for over a decade. With vineyards located throughout Tuscany’s Chianti Classico and Maremma areas, Querciabella’s natural winemaking practices and environmental philosophies give a nod to Italy’s viticultural past while looking clear-eyed toward its future.

Querciabella produces elegant and relatable wines. They care very much about the integrity of land and believe in common sense practices that would build and strengthen any healthy system, whether mind or body, vineyard or home… keep it clean, pay attention to the details, know your living system and act intuitively to develop and maintain the optimum health of that system, thereby making it extremely disease resistant.

Agronomist Dales D’Alessandro has created and maintained balance and vitality in the soil. Reflective of the lifestyle of owner, Sebastiano, a vegetarian and ardent environmentalist, Dales amends the soil and manages the vines without any chemical or animal products in any form or application. Because of this approach, there is incredible biodiversity in the soil. The soil is much richer in necessary micro-organisms, the vines are more resistant against diseases and the presence of natural predators limits damage due to vermin.

Despite the global collapse, bee “families” thrive at Querciabella estates, with local colonies tripling in number in the past year alone. This is evidence, not only of a vital environmental system, but of the overall organic climate at Querciabella that fosters healthy growing vines and fruit.

The harvest is brought in by hand. Oenologist Guido De Santi and a technical team led by Luca Currado, a member of the illustrious Vietti winemaking dynasty of Piedmont, begin “gently coaxing the wines along.”

After spending an afternoon at the Quercibella Vineyards in Greve in Chianti, it is obvious that they operate immaculately clean and pay scrupulous attention to details of their growing and winemaking environment on every level, and there is an ease and confidence that they impart as viticulturists and winemakers.

The vineyard will soon be buzzing with bees and smell of warm earth, rosemary and lavender, but when I visited on a sunny but blustery February day, the dormant vineyard is serene and still and beautiful; painted in a muted, earthy palette in shades of tan, wheat and brown. Despite barely having emerged from winter’s deep freeze, the soil is soft and workable.

I am warmly greeted by the Querciabella family, Guido, Dales, communications director, Stephanie Cuadra, and other members of the self-described, “small team with a big spirit.” I feel a most welcome and special guest and there is a pride in ownership and a passionate approach to their work that is almost effervescent.

It was clear in that Querciabella is not the “hobby” project of a wealthy vegetarian vineyard owner, or a niche producer targeting the new “green” market. Sebastiano is a visionary who has attracted a community of extremely engaging, passionate professionals at the top of their game. They genuinely want to come together here, produce these great wines, make their mark in Greve in Chianti, all without leaving a trace.

The stewardship and ethical practices at all stages of winemaking are so thoughtful that there is clearly a symbiotic and causal relationship between the environment and the wine. Each glass is representative of Querciabella’s winemaking skill, and proof that Bacchus loves us and wants us to be happy.