• 1437


The Castello della Sala was constructed in 1350 by Angelo Monaldeschi della Vipera, whose family had arrived in Italy in the train ofCharlemagne in the ninth century A.D. From 1300 on, various family members fought with one another for the control of the city of Orvieto, and the battle for supremacy  became so fierce that, in 1337, Angelo and his three brothers each created a feudal clan with different names: the largest was called the Cervara (the Stag), an another the Cane (the Dog), a third the Aquila (the Eagle), and, the clan of Angelo, the most warlike of the entire family, the Vipera (the Viper).


Gentile, the grandson of Angelo Monaldeschi, was the first to call himself “della Sala”. In 1437 he became the dictator of Orvieto for a period of ten years and constantly battled the members of the Stag clan. In 1480, the family finally reached a truce when Gentile’s son, Pietro Antonio Monaldeschi della Vipera della Sala , married his cousin Giovanna Monaldeschi della Cervara.


The couple lived in the castle until 1518, the year of Pietro Antonio’s death, when Giovanna donated the property to the Opera del Duomo, the Cathedral Chapter of the city of Orvieto, a charitable institution directed by the cathedral. The castle remained in the hands of the Chapter until the unification of Italy in 1861, when the Italian state appropriated all of the Church’s holdings. It then passed through the hands of many proprietors until its acquisition, on the part of Marquis Niccolò Antinori, in 1940.


When Marquis Niccolò Antinori, father of current honorary president Piero Antinori, decided to add white wine to the house line, he turned his attention to the Umbria region, where he purchased the Castello della Sala and its 29 individual farms along with 483 hectares (over 1200 acres) of woods and fields. Antinori improved the soil which, at the time, included 52 hectares (130 acres) of olive groves and vineyards and renovated the 15th century castle, restoring to pristine condition a reception hall and various rooms.


It was the spring of 1979 when Renzo Cotarella, a young professional agronomist arrived at the Castello della Sala and, in less than ten years, created the wines which were to become the very symbol of the estate. At the castle, an ambitious project of varietal substitution was immediately begun, a program aimed at producing white wines of greater personality than those produced in the Orvieto Classico appellation at the time. Chardonnay was experimented with and knowledge of how to work with the interesting Grechetto grape was deepened.


The search for an outstanding wine which could make itself known for its character and personality became a virtual obsession. After a series of disappointing vintages, 1985 finally gave the first true Cervaro della Sala: one of the most widely renowned and appreciated Italian wines in the entire world.