Antonio Castagnedi was a winegrower in the Illasi Valley of eastern Valpolicella in the late 20th century who left 50 acres of vineyards to his four sons. The brothers Armando, Tiziano, Paolo, and Massimo worked as consultants for other wine estates in Italy and continued to grow grapes on their inherited land in Colognola ai Colli, but had bigger dreams. In 1989, they took the next step, buying another 75 acres of top-quality vineyard land on the high terrain of Monti Garbi (also in eastern Valpolicella) and making the leap into wine production as a family. The first vintage of Tenuta Sant’Antonio came in 1995.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicellas are made from 100% estate-grown fruit from the Illasi Valley and Monti Garbi. With their considerable combined winegrowing experience, the Castagnedi brothers devote meticulous attention to their high-density, low-yield vineyards to provide grapes of such exceptional quality that they require minimal intervention during winemaking. At harvest time, the grapes for Amarone are harvested on a first pass through the vineyards, and those for the regular Valpolicella are harvested on the second pass. In this way, the basic Valpolicella gets a portion of the best grapes and is an exceptional value for the price. Also, because the Amarone is harvested earlier, the grapes’ sugar level is lower, so the alcohol level of the Amarone is not excessive. This strategy also dictates that Tenuta Sant’Antonio makes Amarone only in years when the overall harvest quality is high enough to support making the full Valpolicella lineup.