Cantina Tollo’s wines are deeply rooted in the rolling Abruzzo hills, which slope down from the Apennines toward the Adriatic Sea. In Abruzzo, quality is a distinct reflection of the land, and Cantina Tollo certainly symbolizes an outstanding authenticity to the wines while being anchored to a sound spirit of cooperation. Founded over 55 years ago, Cantina Tollo is a cooperative that grew out of the passion of a handful of members, and today is symbolic of the Abruzzese approach to modern winemaking.
History In central Italy there is fossil evidence of grapevines dating back two million years, but the first traces of agricultural activities oriented to grape cultivation itself date back to the end of the Bronze Age. In Abruzzo, the first evidence of wine production stretches back in pre-Roman times, with funerary pottery unearthed in the monumental cemeteries around L’Aquila. There are then the numerous Roman remains which attest to the spread – and the popularity – of wine, cited in the works of historians and in the verses of poets as well. “Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion”, wrote Ovid, the famous elegiac poet from Sulmona in Abruzzo. Wine from this region is praised in On Agriculture by Marcus Porcius Cato, and even Hannibal, lingering in the Vibrata Valley (Teramo), was seduced by the local wine according to the Greek historian Polybius. In the contrade (i.e. districts) of Tollo, a town in the province of Chieti, dolia (terracotta containers used for transporting wine) have been found, both intact and in fragments, now preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Chieti. These wine stores were located at the residence (rural villa), but also buried among the vines in order to retain the characteristics of the location during the transformation of must into wine. Even today it isn’t unusual to find dolia fragments in the hills around Tollo during the earthworks for planting new vineyards. Pergola vineyards, just like a garden, stretching for more than 3,000 hectares across an area which has always been suited to wine production.
Our vineyards extend over an area of more than 3,000 hectares, from the coastal hills to the slopes of the Maiella, in a typically Mediterranean climate, which is temperate with notable temperature fluctuations (both throughout the year due to the presence of the Maiella massif, as well as during the day) which give optimal conditions for the buildup of aromatic compounds, producing high quality grapes. Our production exclusively focuses on typical and indigenous grape varieties of the region, cultivated in the traditional method on pergolas, with a pursuit of experimentation both in the field and in the cellar. Cantina Tollo was founded in 1960, when the Abruzzo countryside had depopulated once again and many Italians had left the country in search of a better future. Our fathers on the other hand, winemakers for generations, decided to stay in the vineyards, creating Cantina Tollo. Playing a leading role in the sixties and seventies in an exciting period for winemaking which brought the Abruzzo region to life, Cantina Tollo played an active part in helping to bring about a radical change in the local wine-growing landscape. While there was a fall in production around Teramo and L’Aquila, the areas occupied by vineyards in the Chieti province grew little by little, especially in Tollo, which became a real “City of Wine”. Cantina Tollo has also had an important part to play in the process of regulation, initiatives for the protection of regional wines and quality improvement programs for grapes and winemaking techniques. Today, it is one of the most important and established businesses in the Italian winemaking industry. With a presence in all countries of the European Union, in North America and in the Far East, it exports 35% of its production, with particular attention to the emerging markets of Russia, India and China. The ageing facilities located in Tollo comprise large Slavonian oak casks and barrels alongside vitrified cement tanks, nowadays considered the best for ageing. Passion, commitment and shared values have guided Cantina Tollo at every turn in its history and continue to accompany it in its successes. The winemaking team Riccardo Brighigna leads the Cantina Tollo wine production team, made up of oenologists Daniele Ferrante and Enrico Mucci, and agronomist Antonio Sitti.