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Meet the Winemaker: Introducing Leonardo of Dante Wines!

Meet the Winemaker: Introducing Leonardo of Dante Wines!

We’d like to e-introduce you to a few of the winemakers Vegan Wines has partnered. They are so close to the heart of our mission of bringing you exceptional, naturally vegan wines!  This week, we're excited to introduce Leonardo, the winemaker behind Dante, a winery located in Tuscany, Italy that focuses on single-varietal wines. We'll chat with him on Instagram Live Wednesday, September 16th at 10AM EST (4PM Central European Time). Join us (and send us your questions!) to get to know Leonardo and these amazing wines a little better!

Meet more winemakers! Check out our Vegan Wines Events!

Dante Wines

Dante is unique because they only produce wines that are single-variety in purity, in other words, they're made from only one type of grape. They seek out the best soils for production and actively invest in the renovation of abandoned old vineyards in the heart of Tuscany. Dante's winemaking process strives for a balance with the environment – from cultivation without pesticides to zero-emission processes from harvesting to bottling. You can see why this winery is a perfect fit for Vegan Wines! We asked Leonardo a few questions to learn more, so let's hear from him!

Were you born into the wine business? Did you always know this is what you wanted to do? How did you get started?

Through my work experience (born in EVO market, a parallel business of wine). After years in this market, I saw that many Italian wineries were still cultivating too many French grapes – and there was a loss of our native grapes. From this came our idea to promote and do single-varietal wines only from native Tuscany grapes. We started in 2013 when we decided to take a vineyard of Foglia Tonda and one of Ciliegiolo. Since this year, we've cooperated with oenologists and agronomists to better understand how to reach our target: making single-varietal wines only from native grapes.

What is your favorite part of the winemaking process?

The harvest – it's the start of a dream! And when we taste the wine for first time of the harvest, it is a very particular moment, because we finally understand the exact quality and flavour for each wine. 

Your wine is vegan. What sort of techniques or fining agents do you use for the fining and/or clarification process since you don't use animal products? What made you choose to avoid animal products? Is that important to you?

Nothing! In the first year of working, the agronomist suggested that we use the products from cereal and veg, due to characteristics of the soil – now it's an obligation! This is important to us because we want our wines to be drinkable for ALL people, and it’s an honor for us that vegan people can drink our wines!

Try the Dante PugnitelloCiliegioloSangiovese, or Foglia Tonda

How much wine do you produce annually? (Is that considered a large or small production?)

At Dante Wine, around 15,000 to 16,000. (In next three years, we will reach 20- 25,000 units.) At Cantina Fregnan, about 10 to 15,000 total of Metodo Classico.

Which wine is your favorite? You can choose more than one!

It's like choosing a favorite child, it's very difficult. But I really like the Foglia Tonda because it's a very, very difficult grape to work with in purity and not to easy for vinification. 

Can you tell us a little about any environmental and/or sustainability goals of the winery, vineyard, and the property to share with our club members?

By cultivating only native vines, we aim to maintain the viticultural biodiversity in Italy. Italy is the first country in the world in terms of the number of plant species – we have more than 355 different grape species (France has 26!). Unfortunately, however, many of these grapes are disappearing to make way for international vines, which are less expensive and more productive. For this reason, in our small way, we aim to keep the biodiversity of the territory intact, giving the consumer the opportunity to taste these grapes simply and in purity! We grow everything organically and our packaging is completely recyclable. We only use 100% natural cork stoppers. Our joint venture with Cantina Fegnan was also born with the idea that, in our territory, we can make Metodo Classico at a very high-quality standard. (This is a beautiful characteristic of Tuscany!) Now, we also have a new project with the Cantina Fregnan brand to make a Metodo Classico with native grapes.

What makes your winery unique?

DANTE has a selection of red wines made only with native grapes in purity! Il Patriota is the first Metodo Classico in the east of Tuscany with this quality!

Join us on Instagram for our Wine Time with Italy Series to hear more!

Set a reminder for our IG Live with Leonardo of Dante Wines and Alessandro of TanninTime on Wednesday, September 16th at 10AM EST! You can find more details here. Follow Dante Instagram! Read more on their website!

Shop our Italian wines in the shop and join us with a glass! 

  There are many reasons Vegan Wines creates partnerships with winemakers besides their amazing, naturally vegan wines. Veganism is not just what we eat, but who we are and how we care for the earth and other human beings. We hope that our ethics will become part of the greater wine industry's movement toward transparency.