The estate is located in northern Piedmont, right at the foot of the Alps of Biella. It is owned by the Sella family, a very old and important Italian family of textile industrialists. The first vineyards were purchased in Lessona by Comino Sella in 1671. It seems that there was a vineyard in 1436 where the most important cru of the estate, vigneto dello Zoppo, now stands.
Marco Rizzetti, member of the Sella family, runs the estate together with the talented agronomist and oenologist Paolo Benassi. Marco’s aim is to manage Tenuta Sella with the maximum respect of tradition and to re-establish the importance of this terroir. Paolo has worked for many years as supervisor of the wine maker team of one of the largest estates in Montalcino and has been working at Tenuta Sella since 2013.
The vineyard extension is now 23 hectares within the area of four appellations: Lessona DOC, Bramaterra DOC, Coste della Sesia DOC and Piemonte DOC (which is the regional appellation). Wines under all these appellations are produced for a total of approximately 75,000 bottles/year.
This is a very rainy zone, as the Alps form a barrier against the weather fronts of the Atlantic, the soils vary from sandy soils of marine origin to soils that originate from the disintegration of porphyry. These are acid red soils rich in iron and in microelements which give an evident minerality to the wines. Lessona was one of the most important viticulture areas of Italy at the beginning of 1900s with an extension of 40,000 hectares. Now there are only 20 hectares of vineyards in Lessona. The main grape variety in the blend of the wines of Lessona and Bramaterra is Nebbiolo of the “Spanna” biotype. The other varieties that go in the blend are Croatina and Vespolina (Bramaterra) and Vespolina (Lessona).
Low impact viticulture is carried out: grass cover on the aisles is a necessity here due to the rain, no insecticides are used. All the vineyards are in a very natural setting. Although the vineyard extension is not great, harvest takes more than a month, as the grapes of each single vineyard and parcel are picked and vinified separately.
The cellar is in an old silk factory (another industry that was very important together with wool textiles), it is partly underground and the equipment is very modern.
The wine production philosophy is to continue tradition together with the modern know-how. And the main effort is to enhance the character of each vineyard.