Podere Le Ripi is owned and run by Francesco Illy (of Illy coffee) and is situated to the south east of Montalcino underneath Mount Amiata. Francesco bought the estate in 1998 from a shepherd and planted the vineyards soon after. It’s a 54ha estate with olive groves, forests and vineyards. There are 9ha of Sangiovese (1ha certified as Brunello di Montalcino), 2ha of Syrah and 1ha of Pinot Noir. The estate has been certified organic since 2010 and is under conversion to biodynamics. The soil is a mixture of clay, tuff and siliceous sand, limestone and beige sandstone.
The recently completed winery is an underground pantheon designed by Francesco’s son, Ernesto, no cement or iron was used when building it.
Francesco’s Bonsai vineyards are planted in blocks and at 62,500 vines per hectare – the highest density planting in the world. Each vine yields only one bunch of grapes the name Bonsai is inspired by the tiny vines as they look like Bonsai trees.