Home»Italy»Discovering the Winemakers of Abruzzo

Discovering the Winemakers of Abruzzo

Emidio Pepe (b. 1932) and his granddaughter, Chiara DeIulis Pepe, who along with her sister Elisa, mother, and aunt produce elegant wines with a unique “sense of place” and with “respect for the land” at their certified organic and biodiverse vineyard.

By Julie Maris/Semel

Snow-capped mountains and multiple rainbows sparkled during the two- hour winding drive from Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport to Abruzzo’s vineyards. The prisms of light illuminated the beautiful and oft-neglected region for drink and nature secreted in the valleys and hills.

In 2015 the Marquis De Sterlich Castle in Castilenti, Abruzzo, originally built on the site of a medieval fortress, became a wine cellar with its
constant temperature and humidity for aging San Lorenzo’s wines.


Cypress trees provide a wind break for San Lorenzo’s vineyard located between the Gran Sasso and the Adriatic. San Lorenzo supports
agritourism with its historic farmhouses, biking, and wine-tasting tours.

Young vintners, as well as the oldest and well-known Emidio Pepe, produce wines which use traditional and contemporary methods. Biodynamic and organic wines and respect for the terroir result in distinctive and individual vintages.

Emidio Pepe’s vineyards and the distant Gran Sasso mountains where cold night winds contrast with those of the warm Adriatic Sea. The pergola ancient system allows Montepulciano grapes to ripen under a shade umbrella.


Pepe’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo unblended red wines mature in bottles with sediment and are decanted after twenty years. Indigenous white Trebbiano grapes are foot-trodden in a wooden tub and the must
transferred for fermentation to concrete tanks, which are a part of Pepe’s unique production philosophy.

Abruzzo offers everything from its notable Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to hiking in national parks, agritourism including winery tours, and cultural sights such as the Museo Archeologico Nazionale’s 14th c. porticoed façade.

Francesco Cirelli’s 1600 liter terracotta amphora for slow and consistent micro-oxygenation of wine in a minimal and neutral container. The biodynamic, certified organic farmland rotates crops, and pigs and sheep control weeds. Glamping lodges overlook the vineyards.

Of the twenty-four national parks in Italy, three are in Abruzzo. Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise known for its conservation and rewilding of the Mariscan brown bear, also hosts the Apennines chamois, wolf, and golden eagle. More than 460 miles of hiking trails through beech trees include rifugios or shelters with options to stay in Pescasseroli, the main town within the park.

A family business since 1890, San Lorenzo’s organic and biosustainable vineyards produce Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC and DOCG Colline
Teramane. Calcareous clay soil and a microclimate give a unique identity to their wines.


Elena and Alessandro Nicodemi’s organic vineyard, in a temperate  microclimate six miles from the Adriatic, produces wines with an
“expression of the land, vine, and culture.” Nicodemi ages Trebbiano d’Abruzzo in cocciopesto, a combination of clay, sand, and gravel.

Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga, with centuries-old chestnut trees and glaciers, is in the L’Aquila, Pescara, and Teramo provinces. Corno Grande, the highest point in the Apennine mountain range is part of the Gran Sasso massif. Its glacial night winds contribute to the microclimate of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo vineyards.

05 Julie Maris Semel 5314
Church of San Francisco’s 14th c. carved arches in Campli, Abruzzo. The Borghi Più Belli Association’s goal is to preserve endangered towns and designated Campli as one of Italy’s beautiful villages.

In the midst of the park, Campli, one of Abruzzo’s numerous historic villages, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale and the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Platea’s 12th c. frescoed crypt highlight the region’s architecture and art.

Salumi, prosciutto, and Pecorino d’Abruzzo, the iconic sheep cheese with grassy notes, served at Chiusa Grande’s wine tasting. Traditional
regional dishes include pasta alla chitarra (guitar), anelli pasta (rings) alla pecorara, fried olives, and arrosticini, skewered charcoal-grilled mutton kebabs.

Located in the Chieti, Pescara, and L’ Aquila provinces, Parco Nazionale della Majella’s soluble karst typography resulted in caves, sinkholes, and rock hermitages to visit on guided tours. The park’s logo is its Apennine wolf.

Tenuta Tre Gemme’s organic sparkling Rosé Brut from black berried grapes represents “the full expression of the vineyard within each glass”. In Catignano, Carla and Anna Perrucci’s cellar holds white wines fermented in oak and aged in amphorae. Tastings and tours include the cellar and vineyards.

Julie Maris/Semel was a guest of the Consortium for the Protection of Wines of Abruzzo. The Consortium’s controlled designations of origin: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo DOC, and Villamagna DOC.

Previous post

5 New Adventures For 2024

Next post

Netflix Billionaire Buys North America’s Largest Ski Resort

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *