Empson USA Bellafonte

Fact Sheet

[BELL-la-fon-TAY]

Location: Bevagna, Province of Perugia, Umbria, Italy

Tenute Bellafonte was founded in 2007 by Peter Heilbron. It is located in Bevagna, Umbria with 17 acres under vine. Peter Heilbron and Beppe Caviola act as the winemakers for the winery. The estate was built to have complete energy balance and minimal environmental impact.

Point of Differentiation

  • The estate-owned vineyards are farmed using environmentally conscious and biodynamic farming practices
  • Estate Grown, Estate Bottled
  • They do not use chemical herbicides, and fertilization is entirely natural using manure
  • All work in the vineyards, pruning, canopy management, green harvest and proper harvest, is done by hand
  • Exclusively produces Montefalco Sagrantino and Trebbiano Spoletino, both unique to Umbria

The History

Peter Heilbron, a Milanese-born executive from the food & beverage sector, fell in love with Umbria’s calm setting while he was working for Nestlé. After a few years as CEO of Martini & Rossi, then Heineken Italy, Peter decided to act on his passion for the unique terroir of Montefalco and Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, a powerful new star in Italian wine.

For Peter, Bellafonte is a dream come true; the desire to interpret a territory and wine with ancient roots in a new way. He purchased 74 acres (30 hectares) close to Bevagna, in one of the region’s most untouched, pristine landscapes.

The Estate was built in order to have complete energy balance and minimal environmental impact, with photovoltaic panels and a biomass heater which also utilizes the crop residues.

The entire property aims at blending into the landscape, with an underground winery and cellars and minimal impact on the environment. The estate is energy independent and uses solar panels and a biomass boiler: no damage, no waste; even the residues of pruning are employed to produce energy. The winery itself rests on a stainless steel and stone structure in direct contact with the rocky soil, and enjoys ideal ventilation thanks to underground conduits that circulate outside air and ensure naturally cool temperatures. Hot air exits the winery through two massive chimneys.

In Peter’s words “We wish to create a great wine, which respects both nature and tradition, by interpreting the natural exuberance of Sagrantino grapes in an elegant and refined way.”

The Terroir

Of the 74 acres Peter purchased, 17 acres grow Sagrantino which is easily recognizable in autumn thanks to the fiery color of the leaves. The vines grow at an altitude of 853-1,050 feet above sea level and are grow on dense stony soil that alternates the area’s typical clay with marly and arenaceous formations.

The remaining 57 acres include woodland, a small orchard, and 2,500 olive trees of the classic local varieties: moraiolo, frantoio, and leccino, yielding superb extra virgin olive oil.