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The Cellar

In the easternmost valley of the province of Verona, Italy, there is an estate determined to invest in the Metodo Classico, the area of Lessinia, and organic farming. This is our story. Fongaro Winery was founded in 1975 by Guerrino Fongaro in the town of Roncà, in the province of Verona, within the Lessinia Regional Natural Park. The history of our company revolves around three major decisions, wagers designed to ensure success: first, the variety of vines grown; second, the style of winemaking; and third, on the type of agriculture practiced.

 

The first gamble we undertook was to dedicate ourselves to the cultivation of the indigenous Lessinia grape variety, Durella. Before this vine of ancient origin was “rediscovered” in the late 1960s it was considered mountainous, rustic and wild. The juice from its grapes was vinified through maceration with skins producing “hard wine for hard people.” It was often watered down or used for blending to increase the acidity of other wines. Beyond the logic of the market, we at Cantina Fongaro decided from the very beginning that it was important to focus on this product, one that originated in our own territory. Meanwhile, we introduced innovations that were considered visionary at the time, such as newly designed vineyards, drip irrigation systems (previously only known in Israel), and anti-hail nets to protect crops.

 

About ten years after the founding of the winery we implemented the second element that represented a turning point for the company and helped to define our identity: we dedicated ourselves exclusively to the production of traditional Metodo Classico spumante wine. This is a vinification method that, more than any other, elevates and highlights the distinct quality of Durella grapes. Simultaneously, around 1985, we at Cantina Fongaro implemented our third and equally important venture. By embracing the principles of organic farming and transforming our operation into the first organic winery in the region, we once again pioneered new practices in the Veneto winemaking and wine-growing scene.

 

We produce certified organic wines, verified at every stage of their creation by competent bodies that attest to their high standard and compliance with legal obligations. We do not use synthetic chemical agents in the vineyard or in the winery. We respect our local ecology and do everything in our power to protect our ecosystem while minimizing environmental impacts. Why? Because we are always willing to take on a challenge, but we never take a chance on the high quality of our products or on the future of our wonderful territory.

 

In the easternmost valley of the province of Verona, Italy, there is an estate determined to invest in the Metodo Classico, the area of Lessinia, and organic farming. This is our story. Fongaro Winery was founded in 1975 by Guerrino Fongaro in the town of Roncà, in the province of Verona, within the Lessinia Regional Natural Park. The history of our company revolves around three major decisions, wagers designed to ensure success: first, the variety of vines grown; second, the style of winemaking; and third, on the type of agriculture practiced.

 

The first gamble we undertook was to dedicate ourselves to the cultivation of the indigenous Lessinia grape variety, Durella. Before this vine of ancient origin was “rediscovered” in the late 1960s it was considered mountainous, rustic and wild. The juice from its grapes was vinified through maceration with skins producing “hard wine for hard people.” It was often watered down or used for blending to increase the acidity of other wines. Beyond the logic of the market, we at Cantina Fongaro decided from the very beginning that it was important to focus on this product, one that originated in our own territory. Meanwhile, we introduced innovations that were considered visionary at the time, such as newly designed vineyards, drip irrigation systems (previously only known in Israel), and anti-hail nets to protect crops.

 

About ten years after the founding of the winery we implemented the second element that represented a turning point for the company and helped to define our identity: we dedicated ourselves exclusively to the production of traditional Metodo Classico spumante wine. This is a vinification method that, more than any other, elevates and highlights the distinct quality of Durella grapes. Simultaneously, around 1985, we at Cantina Fongaro implemented our third and equally important venture. By embracing the principles of organic farming and transforming our operation into the first organic winery in the region, we once again pioneered new practices in the Veneto winemaking and wine-growing scene.

 

We produce certified organic wines, verified at every stage of their creation by competent bodies that attest to their high standard and compliance with legal obligations. We do not use synthetic chemical agents in the vineyard or in the winery. We respect our local ecology and do everything in our power to protect our ecosystem while minimizing environmental impacts. Why? Because we are always willing to take on a challenge, but we never take a chance on the high quality of our products or on the future of our wonderful territory.

 

Cantina Fongaro’s history was created

in the territory and refined in the cellar.

To become a classic, it takes a method

The Fongaro Cellar only produces Metodo Classico spumante wines which undergo a second fermentation in-bottle. There are multiple theories on how this spumante wine method was born. Some believe it was discovered by accident by the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon, in the French region of Champagne-Ardenne, in the late seventeenth century. Others say the discovery came out of Italy, where the consumption of “spicy” wine re-fermented in-bottle was described in a text from 1622. Whether it was born in France, Italy or elsewhere, we’re committed to the rather elaborate technique used to create Metodo Classico wine. Regardless of the laborious process, all our efforts are rewarded by the high-quality spumante wines we produce.

 

The production of Metodo Classico spumante is more than a simple process. For the Fongaro vineyard it is an art in which every step requires attention and care, from vine to glass. One of the most important phases is the medium to late harvest. We pick the grape bunches entirely by hand, placing them in small boxes to avoid crushing. Upon arrival in the cellar, we wait for the grapes to cool until they reach their ideal temperature for pressing, a phase that is carried out very gently and only on whole grapes. The first stage of fermentation takes place in steel tanks. Subsequently, we bottle the wine together with a liqueur de tirage -a composition of sugars and yeast- and put a temporary crown cork on each bottle.

 

At this point, we stack the closed bottles in a horizontal position and patiently wait for the yeast to refine the wine. Then, we place the bottles on the pupitres, a special form of shelving that keeps the bottles in an almost vertical position. From this position we personally rotate the bottles every day–a process called remuage– so that fermentation residues contained in the wine slowly settle near the cork. This debris is eliminated during disgorgement – freezing the neck of the bottle and removing the crown cork to allow the pressurized wine to expel the frozen sediment. Following labelling, packaging, and a little rest, the wine is ready to leave Cantina Fongaro!

Our metodo classico

The Fongaro Cellar only produces Metodo Classico spumante wines which undergo a second fermentation in-bottle. There are multiple theories on how this spumante wine method was born. Some believe it was discovered by accident by the Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon, in the French region of Champagne-Ardenne, in the late seventeenth century. Others say the discovery came out of Italy, where the consumption of “spicy” wine re-fermented in-bottle was described in a text from 1622. Whether it was born in France, Italy or elsewhere, we’re committed to the rather elaborate technique used to create Metodo Classico wine. Regardless of the laborious process, all our efforts are rewarded by the high-quality spumante wines we produce.

 

The production of Metodo Classico spumante is more than a simple process. For the Fongaro vineyard it is an art in which every step requires attention and care, from vine to glass. One of the most important phases is the medium to late harvest. We pick the grape bunches entirely by hand, placing them in small boxes to avoid crushing. Upon arrival in the cellar, we wait for the grapes to cool until they reach their ideal temperature for pressing, a phase that is carried out very gently and only on whole grapes. The first stage of fermentation takes place in steel tanks. Subsequently, we bottle the wine together with a liqueur de tirage -a composition of sugars and yeast- and put a temporary crown cork on each bottle.

 

At this point, we stack the closed bottles in a horizontal position and patiently wait for the yeast to refine the wine. Then, we place the bottles on the pupitres, a special form of shelving that keeps the bottles in an almost vertical position. From this position we personally rotate the bottles every day–a process called remuage– so that fermentation residues contained in the wine slowly settle near the cork. This debris is eliminated during disgorgement – freezing the neck of the bottle and removing the crown cork to allow the pressurized wine to expel the frozen sediment. Following labelling, packaging, and a little rest, the wine is ready to leave Cantina Fongaro!

Fongaro = craftsmanship, between tradition and innovation