MONTENIDOLI - ELISABETTA FAGIOULI
“You get joy when you give, pleasure when you receive.” - Elisabetta
If you’ve spent any time with the Cru, you may have heard us talk about our extraordinary love for a humble producer coming out of San Gimignano in Tuscany. Elisabetta Fagiouli, owner of Montenidoli Estate, is a producer we continue to be in awe of as the years go by.
The estate, located just outside of the famed tower city of San Gimignano, on the western border of the Chianti zone in Tuscany, was originally settled by the Etruscans and dates back to Roman times. As stories go, the Knights Templar made use of the property as well - hosting meetings and ceremonies on the very land now lauded for its grape growing capacity.
Traveling a great deal in her young adulthood, Elisabetta first encountered the estate in a state of total disrepair. As the war had left many farmers landless and jobless, a majority of the region's young able-bodied workers fled to the urban centers looking for work, leaving Tuscany’s vineyards untended. With the help of some money left to her by her grandmother, Elisabetta and her husband Sergio purchased the estate in 1965 and decided to settle there full time. Luckily, some of the old vines remained and were able to be brought back to health. She has been working to restore the estate to its former glory ever since, and celebrated her 50th vintage in 2020!
With a profound respect for the earth it sits on, Montenidoli, under Elisabetta’s careful hand, has emphasized the importance of farming sustainably since the very beginning. Situated in a relatively high altitude environment, the vineyards at Montenidoli are suitable for both red and white grapes- a fortuitous circumstance but not one always appreciated in this Sangiovese dominant region. With her holistic approach to farming and the land, Elisabetta harvests not only the big ticket varietals, but also produces wines made from lesser-known regional grapes, paying homage to the rich Tuscan winemaking tradition.
Elisabetta’s soul is caring and driven. She is a hard worker, and her mission is to leave this small place on earth better than the way she found it. Never quite abandoning her love of experiencing other cultures and places, still she travels the world pouring her wines and telling stories. She is also known to work the grape harvest every year, even as she nears 90.
Elisabetta's dedication to producing high quality wines goes hand in hand not only with her respect for the land but also with her approach to community. Her husband, Sergio, spent years teaching and providing guidance to those who had fallen on hard times. This eventually led to the establishment of the Sergio the Patriarch Foundation, which to this day is dedicated to offering housing and guidance to those who need a little extra support.
Montenidoli estate acts as the host. There are two houses, with one reserved for the elderly and one for the young. The farm operates as a nature facility where one can come to stay for up to one month. For those with minds that seek new beginnings and hearts open to new friendships, the road to healing is endless. The wine and olive oil produced on the farm act as natural remedies for those in need of it. The older generation will help the young. The youth will support the older. It is an organic system of resources to restore humanity, further improving the world and those who live in it.
Elisabetta has found that she doesn’t want the property to end up in the hands of a single person when her physical being is no longer here. Whomever that may be will have to join the estate to support, not buy it.
“We look for people that will help and share and that is totally different. We are not looking for people who want to grab.” - Elisabetta Fagiuoli
As Montenidoli literally translates to “the nest of small birds,” it is no wonder that Elisabetta and Sergio made use of its name to help those in need.