Avignonesi’s vineyards spread across the picturesque rolling hills of the southeast corner of Tuscany. Avignonesi also owns a vineyard in the neighbouring municipality of Cortona. It is a benefit company and is now a certified B Corporation, part of a global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy.
After a few years as a silent partner, the Belgian Virginie Saverys took over the prestigious winery in 2009. She was a consumer, and overnight she became a producer. This crossing of the mirror motivated Saverys to undertake a radical regeneration of the winery. Safety at work, pollution and climate became Avignonesi’s primary concerns. Out of respect for workers, consumers and the environment, she has banned highly toxic synthetic biocides that poison life, and pollute the soil, the air and the water. Concurrently, she has forbidden the use of commercial yeasts, dyes, enzymes, tannins and other industrial adjuvants in the cellar.
Avignonesi is pursuing an energy transition policy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions drastically. The weight of its bottles has been reduced, and the packaging is now eco-friendly. It pledges to preserve life and a greater transparency. Hence the motto "Life through a glass”. The company endeavours to observe nature to know its laws and to preserve the habitat in safeguarding life. It also aims to serve the human community in assisting its economic development and to respect its consumers who deserve a product that complies with their expectations and values.
Sangiovese, the king grape of Tuscany, accounts for the bulk of the 175 hectares of vineyards. International varieties are also present but mainly in Cortona. Clay is predominant here and the soils are frequently mixed with layers of limestone or sand. This rich diversity is broken down into micro-plots. For example, the 100 hectares of Sangiovese are divided on average into plots of 1.5 hectares . Every single batch is vinified separately before the final selection which determines the blend. Avignonesi claims to be artisans of wine because few winegrowers, even of modest sizes, work on such small lots. The underground fauna and flora help the vines to metabolise the minerals present in the soil. The company strives to restore its native character to better establish the identity of the fruit. Biodynamic viticulture contributes to a large extent in achieving this purpose. Under the guidance of oenologist Matteo Giustiniani, the use of oak is increasingly sparing (especially for Sangiovese). This results in fresher wines, where the fruit aromas are often accompanied by vibrant acidity. The elegant profile and sobriety of the tannins prevail over the power without harming the ageing potential.
“Healthier wines for healthier people, but also a healthier land and a healthier environment to pass on to future generations.”
Born in Ghent, Belgium, Virginie graduated in law from the University of Paris in 1983. Before moving to Tuscany in 2007 and acquiring Avignonesi in 2009, Virginie had a highly successful legal career in Belgium. But her love and passion for fine wines, which has always been in the family, brought her to change career and country and pursue her dreams. In 2009 she bought the whole of Avignonesi with the intention of taking on an established winery recognised for its quality, innovative research and experimentation and take it to a new level of excellence. Her strong belief in organic products and homeopathic medicine meant introducing sustainable farming methods, by way of biodynamic viticulture, which has made Avignonesi today the largest biodynamic winery in Italy. Her aim for Avignonesi is to produce authentic, unique wines, that mirror the distinct identity of Montepulciano which are also healthier for her customers, land and future generations.
I was bitten by the wine bug a long time ago, but it really hit me hard when I arrived in Montepulciano, Tuscany. My mother, Virginie Saverys, had taken over the Avignonesi winery. Observing her and her team walking the vineyards and caring for every single bunch of grapes was so fascinating. The way they managed to bottle the message of each vintage in such a unique manner, giving voice to the land was like a budburst and I wanted to take a step further into this fascinating world.
When I turned 26, I opened my first wine bar in Antwerp, Avini.
I often visited Avignonesi and during one of their blending session I could not resist and I sneaked in. For fun, I tried my own little blend... and I fell in love on the spot. When I was looking for a name for this wine, it came only natural to refer to this intense and wine-fuelled year.
And that is how it all began.
Ventisei - 26 in italian - was born.
CEO / Winemaker
I want my wine to be true and authentic. Harmony in a glass.
Florentine by birth, Matteo’s appreciation for nature’s life cycle and belief in producing a wine that is authentic and respects the ecosystem, is reflected in his choice of wineries throughout his career. He studied oenology and viticulture at the University of Florence and later gained a Master in Oenology from the University of Bordeaux.
COO / Agronomist
The spirit of innovation and curiosity which distinguishes the Avignonesi team has proved a perfect match for me.
Alessio joined Avignonesi in 2014. Born in Pistoia, Alessio has worked and studied in some of the most important wine areas in the world, including Bordeaux, Burgundy and New Zealand, where he has developed a very personal vision of what biodynamic viticulture entails.
He defines himself as a “foot-soldier of the vine”, as in his own words, to practice biodynamics, one must learn to read nature and work in synergy with the environment. At Avignonesi the heavy lifting is done in the vineyard and the relay race between the agronomist and the oenologist is a testament of their capacity to observe and act in the best interest of nature, fruit, staff and final consumer.