The dream of my own vineyard…
I started my business in 1996 with the dream of owning my very own vineyard with grapes that would produce the highest quality red wines. Full of energy, I drove towards Italy with my caravan to look for a suitable property. This intention very quickly developed into a search for the infamous needle in a haystack. The more places I saw, the more I knew what I didn’t want. Least of all, a vineyard whose origins lie in industry or mass tourism.
I began to significantly expand my search radius. I traded the caravan for a plane, travelled countries, changed continents. Yet, intuitively I was always drawn to the vicinity of Rome. Here, I secretly hoped to find THE PLACE I had been longing for for so long: a historic vineyard overlooking the sea, nestled in peaceful, untouched nature, with grapes that would have the potential to contribute to wine history.
A critical tip from an old Italian professor ultimately led me to my goal. When he poured me a red wine that can only be grown on the Terra Nera “island” because of its high standards concerning suitable geological conditions, I knew from the first drop: I had made it! I had finally reached the taste experience that I had been meticulously searching for over 5 years.
Another happy moment was when I saw Terra Nera for the first time. I was inspired by the way that with each meter these hilly, partly densely-wooded, one million square meters extended further and further before my eyes. I gained a profound respect for the challenge that was awaiting me here.
In 2001, I was able to buy the first 48 hectares of Terra Nera land with an old farmhouse perched on its central hill. Over the years I have acquired all 100 hectares of the Terra Nera “island” with a lot of empathy and understanding for the concerns of the local farmers, but also thanks to sensitive negotiating skills.
I feel that the gift of having found Terra Nera is so precious that, for me, it has become a project that will be close to my heart for the rest of my life.
– Christian Sprenger
There was a lot to do…
Let’s do this!
There were many long and tedious preparatory steps from the initial idea to its implementation. The main hurdles involved obtaining all the necessary permits (e.g. for the required excavations). Even when buying the wine rights for the 28 hectares of new plantations, it really took a lot of entrepreneurial spirit to get them issued – let alone approved.
First of all, the entire infrastructure of the “island” had to be redeveloped and stabilised with the ultimate goal of creating a premium winery on Terra Nera. The main aim was to create more areas suitable for wine-growing. This important step required years of large-scale, costly and energy-consuming construction work.
However, step by step, a unique world of its own was created at Terra Nera thanks to an abundance of loving and painstakingly detailed work.
The island’s uneven surface was straightened over long stretches in order to round off and cultivate eight plots of land. From 2006 to 2011 all the vineyards have been replanted with Sangiovese, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grape varieties.
More than 300 sun-hungry olive trees and cypresses decorate Terra Nera with their nutritious fruits. Two 100 m deep wells guarantee the water supply, which is computer controlled and routed completely underground, ensuring that even the rearmost vineyard is adequately supplied.
The stones obtained from grading the soil were used to build roads and fences in accordance with traditional Tuscan designs using environmentally friendly methods.
The entire energy supply is also managed underground. With no visual disturbing power pylons, every Terra Nera visitor quickly dives into the breathtaking Tuscan nature and enjoys the unspoiled, fantastic view.
More than 25 years have passed since my search for a suitable property to the present day enabling the cultivation of Terra Nera alongside nature and allowing the rooted vines to reach their perfect maturity.
As the spark for the vision of reviving Terra Nera as a wine-growing region reached local authorities the project also received significant local support.
All this, on this scale, would be unthinkable today, not only in Tuscany.