ABOUT THE WINERY
That is not to say that Badia a Coltibuono was designed specifically as a winery all those years ago. It was established as an abbey (badia) in 1051 by St. Giovanni Gualberto, the founder of the Vallumbrosan Order of Benedictine monks. Of course, wine production was an important element of monastical life, and the Vallumbrosans may have been the first to cultivate Sangiovese in Tuscany. The abbey’s name, Coltibuono, can be translated as “Good Cultivation” or “Good Harvest,” perhaps indicating the importance of viticulture there.
The abbey remained in operation and expanded in size for several centuries, presumably making wine year after year, until the secularization of Church property by Napoleon. It was dissolved in 1810 and then went through two owners before it was purchased in 1846 by Guido Giuntini, a Florentine banker and progenitor of the Stucchi Prinetti family, its current owners. The transition from farm estate to internationally renowned wine producer began after World War II under the leadership of Piero Stucchi Prinetti, who began to sell wine on both the domestic and export markets. Production facilities were increased and modernized, and his wife Lorenza de’ Medici opened the first cooking school in a winery.
Today, the Badia a Coltibuono estate in the Chianti Classico commune of Gaiole in Chianti is led by the fifth generation of family members: Emanuela, Paolo, and Roberto Stucchi Prinetti. There are 150 acres of vineyards on the property, along with another 50 acres of olive trees. This being Chianti Classico, Sangiovese is naturally the most important grape variety planted. However, the family honors Chianti’s heritage by also keeping significant numbers of vines of other traditional varieties that are allowed but often omitted in Chianti Classico: Canaiolo Nero, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Foglia Tonda, Malvasia Nera, Mammolo, Pugnitello, and Sanforte (as well as Trebbiano and Malvasia for Vin Santo). From these building blocks, Badia a Coltibuono makes a robust range of wines from the traditional to the innovative.