History of the farm

The Massa Vecchia farm was founded in 1985 by Fabrizio Niccolaini on the basis of the already existing Querciola vineyard which had been planted by his father Alberto in 1972 with the varieties Sangiovese and Trebbiano. In 1985 the current varieties were regrafted, while the planting of the vineyards Beruzzo 1 and 2 took place in 1992 and 1996 respectively.

The individual varieties were vinified separately at first in order to understand the characteristics of each of them, with the current blends being developed subsequently.  This is a gradual process, still happening today, which often leads to producing different wines from one year to the next, reflecting the distinctive characteristics of each year.

In the 1980s the approach to wine was dominated by chemicals with the result that an organic wine was either inconceivable or said to be defective. But the driving force of the farm was always concern for the land, with the resulting rejection of everything that damages it. This was reinforced even more following Fabrizio’s marriage to Patrizia Bartolini: the two of them together not only insisted from the first that one could live in harmony with the land but that the way of natural wine was the only true and possible one.

In 2003 Fabrizio, together with wine producers Maule, Bea and Radikon, founded the Vini Veri (real wines) group, with the objective of creating a reference point for Italian wineries, which produce natural wines. Fabrizio’s and Patrizia’s practical know-how was essentially self-taught. This personal knowledge, gained above all directly from experience, was indispensable in defining a personal and recognisable imprint. There is a never ending process of acquiring knowledge which draws on a very close connection with the vineyards.

This same type of knowledge and passion was and still is today passed down to the daughter, Francesca Sfondrini, who has worked for years on the farm alongside its two founders.  With a course of study behind her in a subject far from the world of wine, the call of the land and her need to live in close contact with it quickly reasserted itself and indeed has become a total way of life.

The true change of generations took place in 2009 with the birth of the Società Agricola Massa Vecchia, which saw, alongside Francesca, the arrival of Daniel and Ines Wattenhofer, Thomas Frischknecht and Rocco Delli Colli. These young people, of differing backgrounds, are bound together by a passion for natural wines and by friendship. They have brought energy and ideas to consolidate further the fundamental principles of the farm.