Monday February 26 , 2018
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SAGRANTINO: How It All Began

Excitement grows at Nello Olivo Vineyards around a special and very rare variety of wine grape called Sagrantino, which will be ready for first harvest in Fall of 2010. As far as can be currently determined, the Olivo's is the only vineyard to grow this grape outside its original home in Italy.

Nello discovered Sagrantino in 2007 while on a trip to his ancestral Italian home in Todi, Umbria. Some cousins, now living in the small village of Massa Martana, took Nello to a famous wine festival in the nearby town of Montefalco where Sagrantino is a local favorite. He immediately fell in love with the big bold deep red flavor of this unusual ancient varietal. He learned that only about 280 acres are planted with Sagrantino in Italy and that it is grown nowhere else in the world. Nello determined immediately to bring some back to the US, but to do that would require a process of application and testing that would take years because of strict importation laws and testing procedures.

Upon returning to Rancho Olivo and beginning research into the importation process, Nello had a lucky break. He learned that UC Davis laboratories had a couple of vines of unknown variety which one year earlier they had tested to be virus free. Subsequent genetic processing resulted in identifying the vines as Sagrantino de Montefalco!

Nello was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a few cuttings from the vines at the UC Davis nursery. These cuttings lived in the Olivo's guest house refrigerator until planting season arrived. Then a grafting expert was called in to cut back some of the Merlot vines and to graft on the Sagrantino cuttings. Nello now has about 100 plants and will be able to make wine from the 2010 Sagrantino harvest.

Nello's lifetime dream has been to have a vineyard and to make his own wine, just as his Italian grandfather did when he came from the old country. Sagrantino will be a rare, very special wine, and one that will bring Nello's native winemaking heritage full circle.


Nello Olivo Online Store

Nello Olivo wine tasting room in Placerville

643 Bee Street, Placerville

Monday: closed
Tuesday: 11-5
Wednesday: 11-5
Thursday: 11-5
Friday: 11-7
Saturday: 11-7
Sunday: 11-7

We're the closest winery to Hwy 50, at the "corner of" Hwys 50 and 49. Start your wine tour here. We have winery maps!

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