Our family story begins in 1934, in the province of Verona, when Augusto Dal Cero purchased, in the commune of Roncà, a very unusual piece of land, dominated by two extinct volcanoes, Crocetta and Calvarina. He knew that this steeply-ascending property would require much hard work, but he was not the man to be scared by hard work.
He had his heart so set on that land that he had had to sell another, in the commune of Montecchia di Corsara, to purchase it.
The two volcanoes had been there for over 40 million years, and the centuries had re-shaped them, but up on their slopes one still treads dark, almost black soil, composed of lava and tuff. This conglomerate is the geologic memory of an endless succession of eruptions and basalt flows that poured into the seas, which in those times surrounded the volcanoes; when the incandescent lava suddenly met the water, that encounter determined the glassy nature of the rocks that still make up the soils.
Augusto knew little about geology, but a lot about grapes. His instinct told him that if he dug into the woods-covered earth at the top of the volcanoes and planted vines in that ground, the vineyard would probably benefit from the mineral-rich soil. But the outbreak of the war, in 1940, stopped his projects, and forced him to become a soldier, leaving behind his vineyard and his family.
He returned after almost five years, almost all spent in the arid sands of the African deserts; he was physically in bad shape, but fortunately alive and alert. He had to start again from scratch and re-launch his farm.
No force on earth can stop a man who has a fixed dream, which in Augusto’s case was to enlarge the area that he would plant, right up to the peaks of the two volcanoes. He stopped only when he reached the very top, and found just clouds above.
Those who are used to observing the ground, working it with their own hands, grow to know it intimately, know what it can give and how it should be treated. Just as a father knows what to teach his young child who walks side by side with him as he works.
When Augusto died, his two sons, Dario and Giuseppe, were still very young. But it was now their job to widen the horizon of their father’s dream: the vineyards in Roncà gradually grew larger, but that was not the whole story.
In the early 1980s, Dario and Giuseppe turned their attention to Cortona, in Tuscany, a winegrowing area with impressive traditions. It was here that they made the decision to dedicate themselves to the production of ambitious red wines.
They purchased the Tenuta Montecchiesi and decided to plant new varieties in addition to the Sangiovese already there. As the years passed, and thanks to their intuitions and abilities, the hectares of vineyard at Tenuta di Montecchiesi grew to five times the original extent.
In more recent times, the Dal Cero family added a third wine estate to their two historical tenute, this time in Valpolicella, a property just 15 kilometres from Soave but with a totally different geologic makeup. This winemaking operation, directed by the third generation of the Dal Ceros–Alberto, Davide, Nico, and Francesca—is the most concrete symbol of the continuity of the family’s commitment to respect for the values of the earth, sustainability, and direct ties to the land and its qualities.