The estate is situated on land that, centuries ago, was once a farm belonging to a Benedictine monastery. Vines were already being cultivated as far back as the second half of the 1200s, and proof of this can be found in the “rent contracts” of that period. In 1803 Angelo Domenico Mazza bought the first areas of land which later, in 1848, gave rise to the Montelio estate. The idea of bottling and selling the wine was the inspiration of Domenico Mazza. It is still possible to see some of the original labels and the distinctly shaped bottles which are kept in the “Infernot”, the most characteristic corner of the cellar.
Similar bottles have been reproduced to commemorate the estate’s one-hundred and fiftieth anniversary and filled with those wines which best represent Montelio. There are also copies of the “Journal Vinicole” which Domenico Mazza had specially sent from France so that he was able to follow current trends in his favourite interest. Following Domenico, the estate was run by his son Gaspare, granddaughter Anna Maria and her husband Roberto Sesia, the grandparents of the present owners, and their daughter Mirosa till 1999.
They have all maintained the estate’s secrets without neglecting to embrace new ideas. Certain pieces of equipment in the cellar are evidence of this, along with the Muller Thurgau and Merlot vines, both of which were new to this region. After celebrating one hundred and fifty years of vine cultivation the estate’s objective is to continue producing quality wines with ever greater care and effort.
The estate buildings are situated next to the vineyards. It is possible to view the main courtyard with its old XIXth century winepress and the underground cellar which dates back to the second half of the 1700s. The estate’s name, “Montelio”, means “the hill of the sun” (from the Greek Helios), and serves to accentuate the attractive position of the vineyard and pleasantness of the surrounding hills. Montelio covers a total of approximately 78 hectares, of which 27 hectares, in one complete block, are dedicated to specialized vines. The planting system requires 4,800 vinestocks per hectare and these are grown in the traditional espalier style with simple Guyot pruning. Every aspect of cultivation, from pruning to mulching etc. aims to produce quality grapes and average annual yield is approximately 85 quintals of grapes per hectare. The sloping hills and overall position are ideal for both vine cultivation and grape quality. The vineyards start at an altitude of 180 meters above sea level rising to 280 meters. Some of the vines are planted running from the top to the bottom of the hills, while others circle the hills’ circumference. Vines cultivated include: - white varieties: Cortese, Riesling Italico, Riesling Renano, Muller Thurgau, Chardonnay. - black varieties: Barbera, Croatina, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Freisa, Uva Rara, Dolcetto. Average annual grape yield is between 2,200-2,400 quintals of which 55% is made into white wine and the remainder into red wine.
Since 1990 Montelio estate follows the rules of integrated pest management : this implies grassing, a limited number of sprayings, using only product of low environmental impact. The planting of hedges and trees around the vineyards and the arrangement of 230 artificial nests in the vineyards support this entrepreneurial choice.