The first and most important piece of luck was finding such a wonderful site – no easy thing in Montalcino where virtually every square metre of land with wine-growing potential has long been snapped up by local producers.
Podere Le Ripi is a sloping 55 hectare site formerly owned by a shepherd, of which just 12.5% has since been converted to vines, the rest is forest and olive trees, but with wonderful clay and sandstone soil that is perfect for wine-making.
In 1998, Francesco Illy found himself by chance exploring the gentle hills of Montalcino, precisely in the Castelnuovo dell’Abate area. Here, inspiration struck and became the spot where Podere Le Ripi was born. Illy himself had a varied past with experience in a range of different areas: artist, marketing professional, and throughout it all, drinking and selling a lot of coffee (as part of the Italian Illy coffee dynastic family).
With his diverse background, Illy became an example of a rare enlightened winery owner, finding constant sources of inspiration along the road and pouring his enthusiasm into perfecting his vision of viticultural exploits.
Illy’s voracious interest in the world of wine-making allows him to see the soil as a living, dynamic environment. Illy firmly believes in the fundamental role of local microorganisms as the go-between the world of minerals and living flora and fauna.
Illy’s continued education and progress in understanding the native territory have given him a special ingress into the world of appreciating and further developing local agriculture.
Image from: https://www.winespectator.com/