Gentle hills, centuries-old forests, green fields and even rectangles torn from the bush where rigorous geometries of vineyards gracefully follow one another. Crossing Chianti means diving into pleasant visions but also encountering the stories of the men who have inhabited these lands for centuries. Families and dynasties whose presence is tangible in the historic wine cellars and monumental architecture that dot the landscape and today are the most emblazoned symbols of the Black Rooster. But alongside the great and the well-known, there is also a host of unusual winegrowers. They inhabited Chianti Classico and through their work and cultivation of the land they made a living from it. Men, women, hard-working farming communities whose lives revolved around the Pievi. Early morning prayers when the light begins to dilute the darkness, the call of the bells and then vespers before night swallows everything up again. In between is toil, sacrifice in the fields, daily struggle with the soil that can be as generous as it can be hostile. This army of the humble is also due honour and gratitude for the construction of a peasant culture that is the protagonist of these places.
Pieve di Campoli represents the inheritance and at the same time the evolution of the religious and peasant history that for centuries has cadenced the life of the Tuscan countryside. The company, which is part of the Diocesan Institute for the Support of the Clergy of the Diocese of Florence, was established in 1985 through the union and merging of lands that until then had been owned by the Church and administered in all respects by the parishes. The result was a vast and ramified enterprise, capable of extending over hundreds of hectares, touching no less than seven municipalities.
In the early days, the contribution of particular farmers, the parish priests, was indispensable. Not mere repositories of knowledge but authentic masters. There was Don Gino Malevolti who loved to refine Vin Santo in whisky casks and whose work was also praised by critic Luigi Veronelli. There was Don Ugo Polidori who defended the principle that wine is made from grapes and nothing else. Many still remember a rant he had with a farmer who had the audacity to put enocyanine in wine, almost a blasphemy to be punished ad aeternum. Finally, Don Giotti, perhaps the least experienced and technical but the most legendary.
Men who had learned from other men by following in the footsteps of a centuries-old tradition. Pieve di Campoli has deep and distant roots but is not content to live in the mere memory of them. For a few years now, also under the impetus of Pope Francis' Laudato si', the company has been on a path of growth and development, making use of the know-how accrued to date, but also of the collaboration of great professionals. The desire is to make the Church's presence evident through the development of the farm and its opening to the world through a series of commercial, scientific, and social investments and actions. A challenge that has only just begun but is already yielding its first results. The labels of Pieve di Campoli and Cortine lines, already distributed in the GDO and Ho.Re.Ca circuits, have obtained their first recognitions, while at the research level the company has started a collaboration with Sacro Cuore University of Milan. Lastly, the collaboration with the San Francesco cooperative for the work placement of refugees and disadvantaged persons is important. These are the first steps, the first seeds of a journey whose protagonists are people who work every day with passion and intensity, without ever losing sight of what they are doing. Men with their eyes on Heaven and their hands in the Earth.