The Sant'Agnese Estate has now been run by three generations of the Fanetti family, beginning with Adamo, followed by Giuseppe, and now Elisabetta, who picked up her father's secrets over the years, accompanying him through the vineyards as a young girl. The first renaissance of the Vino Nobile took place in the 1920s, thanks to Adamo Fanetti, Adele Andreucci's husband. Adele was the daughter of a Montepulciano landowner, the proprietor of the Sant'Agnese farm. Adamo set out to improve the wine his father-in-law was already producing, and made the decision to bottle this higher quality wine on the estate. Having put his plan into practice, he brought his wine to the first traditional wine fairs that took place in Siena in the 1930s, and from that moment the wine's fame was assured. Awards came thick and fast, including international recognition, such as the gold medals won at the Grands Prix of Paris, Ljubljana and Milan. Fanetti was the Vino Nobile, and the two would become synonymous. This association was confirmed following a rigorous study of the "genuine" Italian wines carried out by specialists and published in the weekly "OGGi" magazine. The study definitively recognised Grand Officer Adamo Fanetti, grandfather of the current owner of the Sant'Agnese Estate, as the "legitimate patron of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano". Following Adamo's death, his son Giuseppe, having learnt the arts of wine-making from his father, carried on the running of the estate with the same passion and tenacity that has always distinguished the development of the farm. His fortuitous intuition was to invest all his energy and savings in the farm, in the midst of the full economic boom of the 1960s and 1970s, which was luring many farmers away from the countryside, seduced by the appeal of the industrial miracle. Today, the continuity of the estate has been entrusted to his daughter, Elisabetta.
The history of Montepulciano has been intertwined with the cultivation of vineyards and the production of quality wines for centuries. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was much appreciated by the poet and wine enthusiast Enrico Redi, who declared: "of all the wines it is the king". The wine was well known in medieval times. Pope Paul III, a noted wine connoisseur, held it in higher esteem than any other wine, and had it brought directly from Montepulciano to stock his wine cellars. Over the years the wine, while by no means forgotten by all, became harder and harder to obtain outside Montepulciano, as production was all but abandoned for centuries. It was only at the beginning of the last century that local farmers recommenced production. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano had originally been produced only in very small quantities, and only by the wealthier agricultural Montepulciano families. It was reserved for special occasions and made only for private use, not for commercial consumption.
The estate encompasses 112 hectares of land on the slopes below the old town centre of Montepulciano. 18 hectares are given over to vineyards, 12 to olive groves, and the rest to arable land and woodland. The vines are meticulously taken care of by the owner and her colleagues, who together administer the summer pruning, the thinning of the grapes, and the scrupulous selection of the grapes at harvest time. Vine density is 3,000 plants per hectare, and the land is of Pliocene origin, comprised primarily of sandy clay. The Sant'Agnese Estate sells its wines throughout Italy and abroad. The winery has an excellent international reputation, exporting principally to the United States, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. The wine cellars are open to the public all year round, but visitors are kindly requested to call in advance.