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The Winery

Of ancient vines and of modern vignerons

The foundation of the historic cellars

Santa Sofia's story

Three eras, one cellar

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The Winery
Of ancient vines and of modern vignerons
The foundation of the historic cellars
Santa Sofia's story
Three eras, one cellar

The Winery

“It is located in an extremely beautiful site, atop a hill that is not at all steep, which reveals part of the city and lies between two small valleys: all the hills round about are very agreeable and replete with substantial amounts of water; hence this estate is adorned with gardens and marvellous fountains.”

Andrea Palladio

As you read this sentence, imagine that you are in Valpolicella, exploring the wine region, and that you turn at a certain point into a tree-shaded road, following the directions of a sign that says “Villa Santa Sofia”. At the end of the road there is a little clearing where you can park your car, some barrels and a small door under a large wrought-iron sign that reads “Cantine Santa Sofia”.

Of ancient vines and of modern vignerons

Santa Sofia in Valpolicella means two centuries of quality, two centuries of great wines that carry on the local tradition, a Palladian villa for a noble and respected family-run business. 50 years ago the Begnoni family arrived in Santa Sofia, thus beginning a new positioning and a new awareness: the winery experiences a little but significant “eno-cultural” revolution through the production network and the knowledge of the territory.

Giancarlo and Luciano Begnoni created a stronger corporate identity working on high quality labels and aiming at the international marketplace, but most of all working side by side with the experts of their territory, selecting the best together with the people who take care of the vineyards. The Begnoni family thus started a virtuous circle based on regular meetings, seasons that go by while the mutual respect grows as well as the eagerness for making genuine, excellent wines that follow the values of their territory: uniqueness, longevity and elegance.

The foundation of the historic cellars

Santa Sofia winery was born two hundred years ago in Pedemonte, one of the most beautiful areas of Valpolicella. The estate has been involved in wine making since 1811 and is the symbol of the winery. It was designed by Andrea Palladio in 1565, when Marcantonio Serego decided to renovate the estate, which belonged to his family since 1552. The villa is a typical example of Italian architecture, and is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1996, along with other Palladian villas in Veneto.

Ever since the mid-19th century, Santa Sofia was praised for the high quality of its wines, made with carefully selected grapes from the richest and most sun-drenched hills of the surrounding area. The wine-making traditions of this place date to far more remote times: a part of the ancient cellars under the villa, which can still be visited, was used for wine ageing as far back as in the XIV and XV centuries. The oldest part of the cellar was built by the friars of San Bernardino in 1300, when they also erected the chapel devoted to Santa Sofia. Santa Sofia has always been a source of inspiration for those who live here, her presence permeates the lives of those who work this land with respect and devotion.

The story of Santa Sofia

1300

The foundation
There is the small church of Santa Sofia, founded by the friars of San Bernardino who also built the first cellar.

1565

The Villa
Marcantonio Serego commissions Andrea Palladio to build the villa and another part of the cellar below.

1811

The Winery
The Santa Sofia winery was founded and the cellar was expanded.

1956

Giancarlo Begnoni
Giancarlo Begnoni graduated in oenology in Conegliano.

1967

The Winery
The Begnoni family becomes the owner of the Santa Sofia winery. The first Amarone della Valpolicella di Santa Sofia comes out, vintage 1964, from the vineyards of Montegradella, in Valpolicella Classica.

1984

Luciano Begnoni
Luciano Begnoni, Giancarlo's son, joins the company to follow in his father's footsteps.

1996

The Story
The Palladian villa and the cellar are included in the UNESCO heritage.

2015

The vineyards
The Begnoni family acquires the Briago estate, of 45 hectares, in Valpantena, in eastern Valpolicella.

2019

The new wine cellar
A new structure is purchased, which through redevelopment will become the new headquarters of the Santa Sofia winery in 2025, together with 3 hectares of vineyards.

2020

Lugana
Santa Sofia buys 6 hectares of vineyards in Lugana, in the municipality of Pozzolengo.

Three eras, one cellar

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The inheritance of the Begnoni family

Today the managers of Santa Sofia is Luciano, second generation of Santa Sofia. In 1967 Giancarlo bought from Countess Rizzardi the winery, which was already well known for the quality of wines, determined and with a clear vision, he started an innovation process which he himself defines “excellence strategy”. Already in the Seventies Giancarlo was so far-sighted as to aim at making more quality wines with important investments to innovate both in the vineyards and in the cellar.

In 1984 a young Luciano, son of Giancarlo, begins his activity in the family business, eager to learn and to test himself. He courageously took on challenges and investments, working incessantly for a decade on budgets and strategies to conquer new markets, side by side with his father, and artist in the vineyard and in the cellar. The little revolution started by Giancarlo and Luciano is to know deeply the territory that yields their wine, to dialogue with the contributors and to make the best choices.
 


Santa Sofia Today

Santa Sofia's renaissance continues with the renovation of the barrels for the ageing of wines and important investments for the future: besides the 24 hectares of Valpolicella Classica, in 2015 45 more hectares were bought in Valpantena and later in 2019 6 hectares in Pozzolengo, Lugana. A dream that Luciano shared with his sister Patrizia before her premature death.

Furthermore, the historical winery is ready to open a brand new winery.