Cantina di Venosa


The Winery

Located in the heart of the southern Italian peninsula - equidistant from Salerno to the west and Bari to the east - the town of Venosa is beginning to experience a bit of a renaissance. For years, young people moved away in favor of bigger cities and opportunities, leaving an aging population and fields that often went neglected. Fortunately, that trend has started to reverse itself as more and more people seek the peace and safety of the countryside, and as those same young folks return to the nest. Among them is 35-year-old enologist Donato Gentile, who worked in Abruzzo for a number of years, then decided to come back home and assume the helm of the Cantina di Venosa. Founded by 27 growers in 1957, today the co-operative boasts some 350 small growers who average just 2 or 3 hectares apiece. Don't be fooled by the word co-op, however, as this group is ultra-dedicated both to the environment and to producing wines of true quality. The monovarietal wines in the "Terre di Orazio" line, for example, have 0 residual sugar, demonstrate great typicity, and average just 1.2 - 1.5 bottles per plant, rivalling some of the best estate wines on the market. Nearly all farmers use the Guyot system of vine training, limiting the number of clusters per vine, and Donato keeps tabs on everyone's ripeness levels, personally deciding when and where to begin the harvest.

With an altitude averaging 500 meters, Venosa lies some 20 km due east of the extinct volcano Vulture, from which the Aglianico DOC derives its name. The "Terre di Orazio" line of wines, in turn, was named after the town's most famous son, the poet Orazio Flacco (aka Horace) credited with coining the phrase, "Seize the day". (In fact, the frame of his house still stands and can be visited today.) Beyond this, Venosa is a food and wine town, surrounded by vineyards and fields of strawberries, peppers, and rapini greens, all woven into the local cuisine. Decidedly, Aglianico is the primary variety grown in this sub-region (accounting for 95% of the co-operative's vines), and is known here for its bold structure, earthy tannins, and volcanic spice. When asked to compare the results to those of Taurasi, locals confirm that the climate is much hotter in Vulture, with higher humidity also contributing to somewhat softer, more integrated tannins and wines that are a touch more fruit-driven and ready to drink sooner... Any way you slice it, Aglianico del Vulture is its own destination and one of southern Italy's ancient rock stars!

Donato Gentile
Grapes Grown by Winery
Aglianico, Malvasia, Muscat Basilicata
Vineyard Size
800.0 ha
Donato Gentile
Winemaker Biography
No ordinary co-operative, the Cantina del Vulture sits in the shadow of Basilicata's most famous (extinct) volcano and focuses on sustainable, low-yield Aglianico. Case in point, the "Terre di Orazio" DOC, which serves as a mirror for the area's prehistoric terroir and hits on all cylinders with its deep concentration and typicity.
Winemaker Generation
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