A Research Winery: From Dream to Method
San Felice's first vintage dates to 1967, and represented a new path for an estate that had been a part of the lands of the Del Taja family, Sienese nobility. Before then the property had been managed traditionally, with tenant farmers cultivating the land as they always had, despite the changes brought
by the end of the War that were rendering the old ways obsolete.
Innovation came in a rush in 1968; the shift from the old ways to modern agricultural management
was immediate, and it was immediately evident that the new team wanted to combine a strong local identity with carefully reasoned long-term planning. A characteristic combination that has made the
San Felice experience distinctive from the outset.
It is impossible not to mention Enzo Morganti here, and despite the 14 years that have passed since
his death the projects he set in motion continue to be surprisingly current. Mr. Morganti devised the "metodo San Felice," saying that the goal of the search for excellence should not be an extraordinary,
impromptu development, but rather a path based both on a thorough knowledge of one's land -- Land that Mr. Morganti, with his great experience as estate manager in Chianti knew very well -- and on a scientific protocol featuring systematic studies and experimentation, with the support, especially, of the
University of Florence.
With some simplification, one can say that over the years this has meant working in three directions:
To improve Sangiovese, increasing its quality to reflect its status as the primary grape of the region; to identify, among the lesser varietals grown by farmers throughout Tuscany, those with the potential to
become protagonists in the future; to study the international varietals and determine how the terroir reacts to them and how they grow in other areas.
We were speaking of the Metodo San Felice: passion and a strong bond with the land were clearly the departure point for a dream whose goal was to give new dignity to an entire region. However,
production, especially in a real winery, is serious business: not a "romantic moment," but the result of work supported by scientific study and carefully reasoned decisions, not sudden inspirations. A new enlightenment. San Felice does not want to win its clients because it puts its name on its labels with
authority, but rather with the authority born of its devotion to research and quality.