San Pietro Vernotico, Puglia
How grapes get into, and wines get out of, this small cooperative is a miracle! The village of San Pietro Vernotico has overrun the winery and where there were once fields, there is now a maze of housing. The number of members has shrunk from a high of 200 to the present 50: a total 190 hectares cover the neighbouring appellations of Brindisi, Squinzano and Salice Salentino.
The focus is completely on quality rather than quantity, a shift that has been made with great consideration for the history of the Cantina. The listed original typeface (and slogans) of fascist Italy still adorn the walls, the concrete fermentation tanks have been refurbished and are kept in use; there is little steel and few barriques. For Puglia, the output is tiny, just 400,000 bottles each year, though the potential remains to double this.