The ancient Santa Tresa estate (est. 1697) near Vittoria in south-east Sicily was purchased by Stefano Girelli and his sister Marina back in 2002 with the aim of restoring the land to its former glory and to convert the estate to being a producer of high quality, authentic, certified organic wines. With the release of the 2009 vintage this latter aim was achieved.
Stefano and Marina continue to work tirelessly on working in complete harmony with the natural environment – this is the cornerstone of all their endeavours here at Santa Tresa. Alongside Massimo Maggio they have built on the foundations of the seventeenth century estate, maintaining its traditions and respecting the indigenous flora and fauna. Growing conditions for grapes are so perfect here that they can cultivate their vines in the most natural, non-interventionist way possible. Stefano believes that by working hand in hand with nature, he will not only leave a long-standing legacy of a fully sustainable wine-growing estate, but the quality and character of the wines benefits greatly as a result. Work at Santa Tresa takes a completely holistic approach at all times in order to ensure that the natural environment is preserved, giving something back where ever possible, and planning for the long-term. Stefano and his team have recently introduced a colony of bees to the estate to aid pollination and to produce organic honey. For centuries olive trees have been grown on the estate as well as orange, lemon and almond trees, giving just the right balance. Five small gardens have been established on the estate in order to experiment with vines and grow a selection of magnificent local herbs and flowers. With these gardens they are creating the perfect environment for the “right” insects to flourish. The team allow weeds to grow in between the rows of vines, creating a unique biodiversity, attracting the right insects, and below ground a unique micro-organism mix is formed.
The maintenance of the ancient wells on the estate and the implementation of an eco-friendly system of moving water from a local reservoir enables Santa Tresa to irrigate their vines in a very controlled manner when necessary. The soil on the estate’s 50 hectares of vineyards has ideal characteristics: a 40-100 centimetre surface layer of light red sandy loam on a well-drained limestone base, which helps to guarantee a constant supply of vital water. All grapes are hand harvested with great care. Vinification follows a similarly meticulous, careful regime in order to ensure that the pure, natural fruit flavours are retained. Winemaking is overseen by renowned consultant Stefano Chioccioli.