In 1996 Nicola and Emanuele Altieri resurrected Fontefico, an old estate of 15 hectares of vines, located on the beautiful Gulf of Vasto, on the coast in Abruzzo. Immediately the two brothers began to experiment on different vineyards of the estate, using micro-vinifications, with the aim of developing wines that express pure fruit flavours.
After ten years of research and trials, they finally released their first wines to the market, for the first few years they produced tiny quantities, from only 3 of the 15 hectares they farmed. Each of their wines is vineyard specific, this is the basis to their production philosophy. Their Aglianico came next, after they had identified the steeply sloping Le Coste vineyard as the place to plant.
All their vineyards benefit from being just a few hundred metres from the Adriatic Sea; fresh winds from the sea keep the grapes dry, maintaining their health, without the requirement for invasive agronomic interventions. The grapes are harvested by hand, placed in small carts or in boxes and are in the winery within a few minutes of being harvested. This speed from vineyard to winery allows fermentation to be carefully supervised right from the first moments: the brothers desire to produce wines of high quality, runs through every aspect of production.
A facet of their innovative and qualitative approach is demonstrated on their wine’s bottle labels. Each features a sweeping profile of a differently shaped glass, these are the brothers recommended glass shapes to use, to gain the most enjoyment from each of their wines.
The production of grapes in an environmentally sustainable fashion has always been important to Fontefico; from the very beginning they signed up to the EEC Integrated Pest Management regulation, which promotes sustainable agricultural practices with low environmental impact. They farm organically and do not use synthetic products in their vineyards; they only use organic fertilisers, if required. By using grass cover between the vines they find that reduced yields, which increase grape quality, act to reduce the growth of pest numbers and promote healthy soils and vines throughout the year.