The vineyards are planted to a series of four essentially local white grape varieties: Malvasia, Verdicchio, Grechetto and Trebbiano.
|The Coenobium: is the basic wine of the Monastery with an approximate annual production of 12000 bottles, about 80% of which is shipped through us to satisfy the US market. Its intrigue comes from the volcanic soils that underlay the vineyards and the longer than usual contact that the fermenting juice has with the skins … this being a vinification technique encouraged by Bea.|
|The Ruscum: is a blend of the same four grapes (Trebbiano, Malvasia, Verdicchio and Grechetto) but, in this instance, the juice is left to ferment on the lees for a period of two weeks or more, extracting all of the flavors, colors and textures of its fruit. The result is a wine of often deep golden color and penetrating minerality with hints of herbs, particularly anise, and wild flowers. There are approximately 4000 bottles produced annually of this cuvée, the overwhelming majority of which comes to the USA.|
|2016 “Benedic” Rosso: The sisters produce a scant amount of red wine: a charming blend of equal parts Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo called “Benedic.” Despite a two-week maceration, “Benedic” is typically a beautifully pale, translucent wine. Registering just 11% alcohol, its color is calm, soft, and almost coppery—one can sense its gentle nature just from looking at it. A pure, honest nose of red licorice, dried leaves, and fresh pipe tobacco introduces an ethereal caress of a palate with almost no detectable tannins. “Benedic” is a pretty, tasty, plain-speaking wine with no makeup and no pretension, and its softly floral edge puts one in the mind of springtime. Those expecting power may be disappointed, but a wine this guileless is nearly impossible to dislike.|
|Domaine Name||Vitorchiano Trappist Convent|
|How many years has the family owned the domaine?||The first vines were planted in 1963 and the nuns have always owned them.|
|How many hectares of vines are leased?||3|
|Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified?||To till the soil, we use the methods of organic agriculture that have been certified by the " Associazione Suolo and Salute" ("Soil and Health Association") since 1993. We don't have an organic certification for our wines, as they are natural wines produced only from the vinification of the grapes, without adding any other products, not even those deriving from bio material. We only use a small percentage of sulphites when we harvest the grapes.|
|Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).||Our vines are grown with a spur-training system with small arches. Extensive pruning. The soil is tilled with organic methods and we allow grass to grow. We use no chemical treatments, except for copper and sulphur in small doses. Pruning (just like harvesting) is done by hand by us, the nuns, without using air shears. Each vine is individually examined before pruning.|
|Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse? Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning? How do you fertilize?||Hand harvesting done by us, the nuns. Green pruning is done in the Spring. We use organic compost as a fertilizer. Other nutrients are from periodic grass mowing, as cut grass is left to macerate on the field|
|Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac/allo sfuso?||We sell a small quantity of our wine|
|Cepage/Uvaggio||Trebbiano, Malvasia, Verdicchio|
|% Alcohol by volume||12.3|
|# of bottles produced||17800|
It’s difficult to believe that we are preparing to receive our fourteenth vintage from the sisters of Monastero Suore Cistercensi. Led by Adriana and Fabiola (pictured left), this convent of 70 Cistercian nuns has been organically farming their five hectares of vines in Vitorchiano, Lazio, since the early nineties, but it wasn’t until the legendary Giampiero Bea began advising them in the early 2000s that their wines gained a larger audience.
‘Producing Wine With Each Other and the Creator’: A Group of Nuns on Operating Their Italian Vineyard
Religious women at a monastery outside Rome produce serious wines.
Passing by the vineyards at Monastero Suore Cistercensi, you may see figures pruning the vineyards or checking out clusters of grapes. What’s unique about these figures, though, is they are each wearing a nun’s habit.
We’ve all heard of beers made by Trappist monks—Chimay—and liqueurs by Carthusians—Chartreuse—but there is wine made by religious women too. At this monastery in Vitorchiano, Italy, the Sisters of the Cistercian Order tend five hectares of vineyards to make two white wine blends, Coenobium and Ruscom, as well as a red wine blend called Benedic.
Wineaux By Susana Leonardi My high school biology teacher, Sister Mary Justine (or maybe it was Sister Mary Martine — I confuse them) made the class spell aloud, in unison, the name of our current unit: S-E-X. I have no idea why shouting the letters was somehow more acceptable than her just saying the […]