Oltretorrente | Piedmont

Chiara Penati harvesting grapes in the Oltretorrente Vineyards

Located in Paderna, in the Tortonesi Hills, Oltretorrente was founded in 2010 by Chiara Penati and her husband Michele Conoscente. The name Oltretorrente means “Beyond the Stream,” in reference to the Scrivia, a tributary of the Po River. Their original purchase of wine cellar and 5ha of vineyards was augmented by two hectares of 90+ year old vineyards, belonging to elderly neighbours, which they jumped in to save from being uprooted.

They farm their land organically, but use some biodynamic methods as well. Since they acquired the vineyards, they have worked to restore natural soil fertility by planting grass in soils that were hoed for many years; they did a thorough analysis of the soils of their 10 different parcels to determine which plants are the most beneficial to these sites. They harvest the fruit from each of their parcels separately to preserve the characteristics of each.

In the cellar, macerations and ageing are not standardised and change depending on what the vintage gives them. In general, however, for the white wines they put whole bunches into the pneumatic press instead of de-stemming before pressing; there is no skin maceration and malolactic is not necessarily a given. For the reds, they harvest late to ensure full ripeness, and long macerations follow. For both whites and reds, ageing is always on the lees to increase the complexity and stability of wines in a natural way.