Skip to content

Vine to Bottle – A Closer Look at the Art of Wine Production with Salicutti, Montalcino

by Straits Wine Company 27 Jun 2023

Photo credit: Salicutti

Wine has been celebrated for centuries, renowned for its ability to capture the essence of a region while delighting the senses. As a wine enthusiast, have you ever wondered about the journey that wine takes from the vine to bottle? Behind every sip is a meticulous process that transforms simple grapes into rich, flavourful wine, a process that encompasses nature, science and craftsmanship.

Today, we’ll be looking at Montalcino wines, specifically by our Italian flagship winery, Salicutti. Nestled in the southeastern corner of Montalcino, a town within Tuscany, wines from Salicutti are typically 100% Sangiovese with a minimum of 12.5% ABV. An estate of unrivalled allure, Salicutti is owned by legendary Munich restaurateurs Felix and Sabine Eichbauer, renowned for their iconic establishment, Tantris. The three Brunellos on offer today are striking in their mineral, red-fruited intensity, and their push and pull between power and grace. The winery produces about 10,000 bottles, depending on the vintage. Here is how they go from vine to bottle, bringing three single-vineyard Brunello di Montalcino wines to us in Singapore. 

For more wine-ideas and to get the lowdown on beautiful wineries across the globe – follow us on @straitswinecompany on Instagram and Facebook


1: Cultivating the Vineyard

To produce a bottle of wine, the journey begins years before in the vineyard. Wine grapes, or cultivars, are selected based on the type of wine the winemaker wants to produce. It can take three to four years for newly planted vines to produce fruit. A healthy vine can have a lifespan of over fifty years.

The difference in soils and vines are what makes every wine different, and Salicutti is the first organically certified estate in Montalcino. Their own vines, first planted in 1994, have reached the perfect age to transport the true character of the different terroirs found at the Cosmo di Salicutti, along with soils unsullied by conventional pesticides, wines from Salicutti are cultivated as they have been since time immemorial: by heeding nature’s voice and following the guidance the land provides. 

Each of the vineyards at Salicutti is oriented somewhere between south-by-southeast and south-by-southwest and sits at 420 to 500 meters of elevation. The vineyards have a hilly character, with gradients ranging from 14 to 20° and optimal sunshine. This shields the grapes from the cool northern “Tramontana” and “Maestrale” winds, yet still affords good aeration, allowing ripening to continue long and slowly, with no fear of disease. 

The soils of the various sites are typical for the hillsides of the Monte Amiata. They were created primarily as a byproduct of the soil formation for the underlying rock, the primary formation, comprising sedimentary rock made of clay, sandstone and calcareous sand, is known as “marne.” Ranging for moderate to high proportions of active limestone, these calcareous soils offer an ideal foundation for the challenges posed by Sangiovese.


2: Harvesting and Sorting the Grapes 

Photo credit: Andrea Cairone on Unsplash


Once at peak ripeness, the grapes are ready for harvest. Harvesting is a critical moment that requires careful timing and precision. Many vineyards, including Salicutti, opt for hand-picking the grapes to ensure gentle handling and selective sorting. Hand-picking also allows workers to remove any damaged or unripe grapes, ensuring that only the finest fruit makes its way to the winery. 

After the grapes are harvested, they undergo a rigorous sorting process. Wineries can choose to employ either human or mechanical methods (or both) to ensure that only the best grapes are selected. Salicutti’s Brunello tends toward the elegant, with an almost Burgundian touch. Each grape is hand harvested and then subjected to an additional pass on the sorting table before moving immediately to a gentle pressing.


3: Crushing and Pressing the Grapes

Once the grapes have been sorted, they are ready for the next crucial step: crushing and pressing. In this stage, the grapes’ skin is broken to release the juice, which will ultimately be fermented into wine. Traditionally, grapes were crushed by foot in large vats, but modern wineries now utilise mechanical crushers to process larger quantities efficiently.

After crushing, the grapes are gently pressed to extract the juice. Different winemakers employ varying pressing techniques, which can range from using traditional basket presses to employing more modern pneumatic presses. The level of pressure applied during pressing determines the type of juice obtained: free-run juice, which is the highest quality and often used for premium wines, and press juice, which is slightly lower in quality and may be used for different wine styles.


4: Fermentation and Ageing

Photo credit: Omwines


Fermentation is the transformative stage in winemaking where the grape juice turns into wine. The juice, along with its natural yeasts or selected strains, is placed in fermentation vessels, typically stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. The yeast consumes the sugars in the juice, converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Following fermentation, many wines undergo an ageing process to develop complexity and enhance their flavours. In the cool cellars of the cantina at Salicutti — free from intervention or refinement — the wine is gently aged in wooden barrels from the Mittelberger and Taransaud cooperages, stored and reserved in the bottle until ideal maturity has been reached. This stage allows the wine to harmonise its flavours, and develop desirable characteristics such as smoothness, richness, or subtle oak nuances. 

The aging of the Brunello di Montalcino wines takes 33 months in the wooden barrel. Young wine is aged in 130 gallons tonneaux barrels, then progressively transferred to barrels of 260, 520, 780 and finally 1,040 gallons. Before going on sale, it ages another 15 months in the bottle. Our tonneaux and small barrels are made of French oak, our 1,040 gallons barrels of Slavonian oak.


5: Blending and Bottling

For Salicutti wines, no blending is required as they are made out of 100% Sangiovese, typical of the wines from the Montalcino region. In other regions though. winemakers carefully select and blend wines from different grape varieties or vineyard sites to achieve a desired flavour profile. This stage requires a keen understanding of each wine’s unique characteristics and the ability to balance and enhance their individual qualities. 


6: Enjoying the Fruits of Labor

Photo credit: Herburg Weiland

The journey from vine to bottle has come to an end, and the final product is ready to be enjoyed. Uncorking a bottle of wine is an experience that encapsulates the culmination of countless hours of work, dedication, and craftsmanship. Each sip reveals the flavours and aromas meticulously shaped by nature and the winemaker’s skill.

Whether you’re savouring a bottle of Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino Piaggione DOCG 2018 on a lazy afternoon or indulging in a complex red like Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino Teatro DOCG 2017 with a hearty meal, take a moment to appreciate the journey that wine has undertaken. From the vineyard to your glass, wine production is a testament to the artistry, passion, and Salicutti’s dedication to create a truly exceptional bottle. 

Prev Post
Next Post

Latest Posts

Straits Wine: Great valued wines, friendly on your wallet and taste buds!

Straits Wine: Great valued wines, friendly on your wallet and taste buds!

Looking for wines of great value without compromising on taste? Look no further! At The Straits Wine Company, we understand how much...
View Details

A wrap-up on your favourite wines for the best season of the year with Straits Wine

Tis’ the season to indulge - be it cherishing old memories or making new ones, there is always a reason to celebrate...

Helena Lageder: Redefining Wine at Alois Lageder with Freedom and Creativity

What do you get when you put innovation and the thirst for knowledge together? A great story to tell about the art...

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items