Vicentini is a small family winery where Agostino works with his wife Teressa and their children Emanuele and Francesca. The family cellar and home is in San Zeno, an unassuming village at the mouth of the Val d‘Illarsi which has the dubious honour of nestling inside both the Soave and Valpolicella DOCs but is also outside of their respective Classico zones. This has done little to deter the family from making some of the region’s most respected wines.
Vicentini make up to 90,000 bottles a year on their three very distinct terroirs, at vineyards with two very different altitudes. The first terroir is on volcanic rock within the Valle dei Ciliegi (valley of cherries), this land is largely responsible for their Valpolicella and Soave Casale. The second is on limestone in the commune of Terrelunghe, where Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave are grown. Both of these terroirs are at relatively low altitudes, under 100m above sea level. The Valpolicella, Piazzo di Campiano comes from one of the highest vineyards in Valpolicella, at an altitude of over 400m. The rock is limestone with thin topsoil, only local red varieties are planted.
Agostino’s father moved from Campiano to San Zeno in 1930 when starvation threatened the community. It was a time of extreme poverty when subsistence farming was nullified by failing harvests, something that sadly scarred his memories deeply. The move however ensured the future of the family.
Agostino was early to bottle his own wines and was also the first to return to viticulture in Campiano; those very same hills whose fortunes have now changed, thanks to a combination of climate change and a total transformation in the way the world enjoys wine, high altitude red is now treasured.
Agostino remains a modest perfectionist; he is popular, respected and well-known in the best restaurants of the Veneto because he also chooses to be their delivery driver - lunch is important after all.