Marcel Zanolari met us in front of the Hotel Campelli in Moia, which overlooks Sondrio at the center of Valtellina. This is the Northern part of Lombardia, Italy, a valley between the Alps and just across the border from Switzerland.
Michael and I, along with fellow wine writer Gwendolyn Alley jumped into his little hatchback Audi and sped off to the east end of Valtellina.
We would spend part of our day with Marcel and part with Marco Triacca.
Marcel’s vineyards are past Valgella, in the Valtellina Superiore region near Tirano on the far east end of the Valley. He has vineyards in Bianzone, Villa di Tirano, Tirano, Vangione, and some in Teglio that are at almost 900 meters above sea level. 7 of the 12 hectares that he has planted with grapes are rented. Five of those hectares are cultivated with PiWI, resistant grape varieties.
They also have contracted property near one of their vineyards to manage olive trees and clean to forest to promote biodiversity near their vineyard.
Many of the vineyards in Valtellina are small parcels owned by families. As the younger generation moves on to careers other than agriculture, which often takes them out of the Valley, the older generation struggles to maintain these small plots. Marcel has taken on many of these small plots.