Our Story


The first 5 acres of the current 35 acres Estate of the Santarelli family at Castel de Paolis were acquired in 1974 by Giulio Santarelli, just to follow his passion for the countryside and grape growing. Until 1985 the grapes of Castel de Paolis were sold to the local cooperative wineries in order to produce the typical local wines like the Frascati Superiore DOC.

In 1977 Mr Santarelli started acquiring other small pieces of land neighboring the existing vineyards and little by little the Estate arrived at the current size of 25 acres.
In 1985 from the friendship between Giulio Santarelli, at the time Italian Agriculture Undersecretary of State and Professor Attilio Scienza, Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Milan, started the project of research, development and recovery of both ancient local native grape varieties and international grape varieties.

The goal was the redevelopment of the Roman Castles enology (a chain of towns just a few miles south of the city of Rome in which Castel de Paolis is located) turning from the canopy vineyards to the row vineyards with a higher density of plants for each acre. By having a higher density of plants, we can achieve a lower grape production, resulting in a higher quality wine, furthermore with a better solar irradiation of the bunches and above all thanks to the extraordinary natural volcanic soil composition of the area that is rich of mineral salt, fundamental for the strength and richness of the wines.
Many grape varieties were experimented and planted from 1985 till 1993 like the following varieties: Malvasia Lazio, Bonvino, Grechetto, Cacchione, Bellone, Pecorino, Romanesca, Passerina, Cesanese, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Moscato Giallo, Moscato Rosa.

Among the international varieties the following were planted: Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon. Alicante Bouchet, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Rousanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon. Castel de Paolis was the first estate of the area to introduce the green harvest for the red grapes, cutting away two months before the harvest, roughly 25% of the bunches so that the remaining bunches can reach a much higher level of ripening and fragrant aromas. No more than 1.5 kilos of grapes are produced for each single plant.
With in hand the results of the eight years period of experimentation of all the above mentioned grapes varieties, all the 25 acres of the Estate were replanted between 1988 and 1993 with the new and high quality grape varieties. In 1992 the new winery was built , with all the modern technologies for the vinification process, like the soft press to squeeze the grapes gently once they are brought at the winery in order to obtain an higher quality grape juice, to the refrigerated steel tanks for the controlled temperature fermentation.