The Monte Bernardi winery, owned by Michael Schmelzer, is located in Panzano in Chianti, in the heart of the oldest wine region in Italy - Chianti Classico. Michael Schmelzer actually studied oenology and viticulture in Australia. But as he himself says, he actually learned there how not to make wine.
Here at Monte Bernardi - halfway between Florence and Siena - Michael Schmelzer is deeply convinced in biodynamic viticulture and practices the principles of Rudolf Steiner. The aim is to produce red wines of highest quality paired with the most original expression of the wine region. In addition, Michael attaches great importance to harmonizing winegrowing and environmental protection. And he succeeds in connecting all these components in a perfect manner!
Monte Bernardi covers an area of 53 hectares. 15 hectares are planted with vineyards of different ages - the oldest ones are over 40 years old. The vines grow on stony soil consisting of either slate (Galestro), sandstone (Arenaria-Calcare-Pietraforte) or limestone (Alberese). The perfect south-facing slope at an altitude of 300 to 400 meters above sea level, the surrounding forests and the immediate proximity to the Pesa River are factors which contribute to the unique microclimate at Monte Bernardi. It is not for nothing that these vineyards in the hills south of Panzano are counted among the "Grand Crus" of Chianti Classico, producing wines that can compete with the best in the world.
Monte Bernardi Wines
The Schmelzer family took over the estate of Monte Bernardi in 2004. The assortment today includes a strong rosé and a fruity Chianti Classico with the name "Retromarcia", which means reverse gear. Two red wines belong to the classification Chianti Classico Riserva. The Sa'etta comes from a single vineyard with almost 50 years old vines. On the other hand, Michael Schmelzer proves that the special terroir is also expressed with international grape varieties with the Tzingana - a super tuscan - and Tzingarella. And last but not least Michael produces a spicy olive oil.
In love with Sangiovese
For Michael Schmelzer the most important prerequisites for wine production are the best quality of the grapes and the right time to harvest them by hand. The careful handling of the grapes during vinification and the targeted use of large or small, new or used wooden barrels also contribute significantly to the quality.
Top wines from Panzano
The result of the interplay of respect for nature and careful treatment of the grapes, combined with know-how and passion, are natural red wines that perfectly express the full potential of Sangiovese and the terroir of Panzano. And that's what Michael cares about: he wants to show the true, authentic Sangiovese character.