It takes love to make wine

Author: Sara Defrancesco

The wines of Filanda de Boron, a Mountain winery, come from robust vines and the skillfull hands of Nicola in an entirely natural, never artificial process

LA FILANDA DE BORONDEDIT, from the Latin, past tense of the verb “to give”, or “to donate”. As in Terra dedit fructum suum: The earth has yielded its fruits. In the mountains, wine is literally a gift from the earth. The result is a wine with great character, with notes that evoke other climes and which range from nuts to ripe tropical fruit. Spontaneous fermentation in steel barrels make this wine soft to the palate. Given the name Dedit by Nicola Del Monte, a winemaker from the Giudicarie, it is the very first wine to be produced by the vineyard Filanda de Boron in Tione di Trento.

We met with Nicola Del Monte one autumn morning at his vineyard to hear stories of his family, his passion for wine, and his search for identity, which he has found rooted in his love of the land, because when his first Solaris vines bore fruit, his life was changed in profound ways. 

From business consultant to full-time winemaker. How has this change been for you?

I would never go back. I live in Trento part-time, and my family lives there too, also part-time. My wife and my mother have always supported me. And my wife, a former engineer, is now the undisputed master chef of our restaurant. 

It all started 12 years ago when, on one of my trips to Alto Adige, I discovered a highly robust grapevine, resistant to cold and to disease entirely by nature. Solaris and Souvignier gris are the two vines I use for my wines. It was a bold move to go with entirely natural processes without treating the grapes artificially in any way. 

It all started 12 years ago

At first, when I would go into town and tell people I was growing grapes in the mountains, my grandfather, embarrassed, would say, “They’ll think you’re crazy!” In the past, the cold of the mountains, here beneath the summits of the Dolomites, would certainly not have allowed for the growing of grapes for wine.

That was how my winemaking adventure began. Almost by chance and with a pinch of madness. Now I sell wines to Eataly in major Italian cities and provide wine to shops and to Michelin-starred restaurants. Winemaking has been like love at first sight. Coincidences that came together and enabled me to achieve what I had always wanted to do, to promote this community and the traditions of these towns and of my people. I’m stubborn and determined, and no one was going to stop me.

Tell us about your wines.

“My motto is this: Wine is made out in the fields, not in a cellar. All of my wines are produced naturally, with no artificial processes. The grapes need to be perfect and are fermented spontaneously”.

2011 Detit

From the Latin, literally: given, gift of the land.
From Solaris grapes, this natural mountain wine features a straw-yellow color and fruity aroma, with the optimal acidity to the palate that is typical of high-altitude wines. Nine months of spontaneous fermentation in steel barrels. Preferred by the best Italian chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants in Madonna di Campiglio.

2015 Lauro

A name of great importance to Nicola, the name of his father. But Lauro is also laurel, the symbol of honor and of triumph. A sparkling wine to toast the great milestones of life. A single-vintage sparkling wine from Solaris grapes.  Fermented with select yeasts then refermented in pressure tanks for thirty days. Extra dry and aromatic, featuring persistent aromas typical of the mountains and with an intriguing contrast between sweetness and acidity.

2017 Tre

Souvignier gris vines. The name encapsulates the winemaker’s three guiding values of history, passion and innovation.
An orange wine, fermented for eleven months in terracotta amphorae in the oldest winemaking tradition dating back to ancient Georgia. The Georgians were the first in history to use terracotta jars to ferment grapes. This trendy orange wine features marked notes of resin and spice. Fermentation on the skins for 11 months and not filtered prior to bottling. 

Tell us about this place, Filanda de Boron.

In the 1700s, these walls housed one of the two spinning mills [filanda in Italian] in Tione di Trento. The judge of that time decided to construct spinning mills to meet the demand for high-quality silk. The valley was covered in mulberry, the leaves of which were used to feed the silkworms that produced the silk that was spun in the mills. “De Boron” is a reference to my family nickname. The identity of my story, of past generations, still lives here. Then, in the early 1900s, my ancestors bought the old spinning mill, which had since been abandoned as demand for silk fell.

I’ve traveled to find myself—my history, my traditions, and my identity. And here we are.

Land is life, wouldn’t you say?

The land will never go out of fashion. Definitely. It’s a cliché as old as life itself, but it’s true. There can be no life without the land, nor land without life. We are born here, and our roots are planted in this land. It is our duty now to preserve it and to care for it. Going green is trendy now; even being a farmer is becoming trendy, and there’s talk now about Agriculture 5.0. We’ve come a long way, and we’ve realized that we’ve gone too far, too far from nature and from authenticity. We can still do great things, especially here, in these wondrous mountains where the land is vibrant and healthy. 

Today, it’s progress and innovation, and I’m convinced of this. I’ve made it a part of my daily life.

“This is the story of this wine: the story of an ancient technique from 8,000 years ago; my passion for winemaking and for the land; the innovation of this resistant, entirely natural grape. Hence the name “Tre” [Italian for “three”].

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