Chiarli and the Santa Croce Winery


A story about Italian wines

Modena - 16 June 2017 - Veronica Tarabella

We would like to tell you a wonderful story about an Emilian family business, set on the borders between the provinces of Modena and Bologna ….

“Once upon a time….”, in the middle of the 19th century, Cleto Chiarli set off from San Cesario Sul Pannaro with his family and opened the Osteria dell’Artigliere in the centre of Modena, where he served his own Lambrusco. The wine was such a success that he decided to dedicate his life to viticulture in 1860.

In 1900 he bravely took part in the International Exhibition in Paris where he presented his Lambrsuco di Sorbara, which was characterised by natural fermentation inside the bottle. He was awarded an “honourable mention” diploma.

And the story continues when his son Anselmo successfully put the vineyards onto a sound business footing and began exporting to the United States.

After the Second World War, the third generation brothers, Giorgio and Giovanni, rolled up their sleeves and set about repairing the damage caused by the war. They were the first producers in Emilia Romagna to use the Martinotti method to obtain sparkling wine from natural fermentation. Next came the boom years and Chiarli wines were sold throughout Italy.




Wine Cellar





In the 1980s exports were strong, the number of labels increased and the vines themselves were reorganised to reclaim the genetic heritage of the very best lambrusco grapes on their property. The result was 100 hectares of Grasparossa di Castelvetro Doc e Sorbara Doc in the province of Modena.

In 2002 Mauro and Anselmo who had been running the business since the 1990’s decided to embark on a new highly ambitious project. They planned to build a new winery which would be equipped with the most modern and innovative technology to produce wine with the Cleto Chiarli label of the highest quality. They chose the Azienda Agricola Cestelvetro as the location, which included a historic property, Villa Cialdini.

In 2004 they purchased another vineyard Tenuta Santa Croce at Monteveglio in the heart of the Colli Bolognese wine producing area. With this acquisition they were able to increase their range of wines to include high-quality still wines and a historic sparkling white which is typical of the area.

This brings us up to the present and the fifth generation of young Chiarlis.

Giorgio started working for the company in 2008 after he finished his studies in communications and politics. He got to grips with his new life at Monteveglio working alongside expert agronomists and oenologsts. “This is the best school I have ever experienced. It is a fascinating world – and complex, so it is always stimulating….”.

His studies have led him to give the Santa Croce Winery a contemporary stamp, valuing marketing and communication, but as he says, “the most enjoyable thing is to create wine together with Dr Giovanni Fraulini a historical oenologist from the area. He is great communicator but above all a man with a marvellous palate”.

In fortunate areas like the hills around Monteveglio, the future is in organic wines and not merely because of moral questions but because of excellent traditional techniques that have never been lost and have found new and significant role in technical developments”.


Vigneto di Villa Cialdini  ©Carlo Guttaduro

Villa Cialdini Vineyard ©Carlo Guttaduro



In May 2014 the company opened a spacious Agritourism full of light, where you can book wine tasting and educational tours. Lending a helping hand are sister-in-law Giorgia and elder brother Stefano.

So we have a wonderful family story and an excellent winery that has been producing a range of marvellous wines for three centuries.

Four types of Pignoletto Colli Bolognese DOCG are produced at the Santa Croce Winery, including the Cuvée Nettuno Brut, which is dedicated to Bologna and its rich aperitivi, and the Sermedo Riserva an innovative blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Nero.

Cuvée Nettuno Spumante Brut

Cuvée Nettuno Spumante Brut

Sermedo Riserva 2010

Sermedo Riserva 2010

The Castelvetro Winery produces wonderful Lambrusco, in particular the award winning Lambrusco del Fondatore, which is still sealed by string and has received the “three glass” award in the Gambero Rosso wine guide.

The picture is completed by three recently created, elegant sparkling wines called Quintopasso, which are produced using the Classic Method.

“ and they all lived happily after”…

Photo gallery