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Winemaker Spotlight: Nico "Pupo" Nardone, Tenuta Vincenzo Nardone

One of the youngest winemakers in Irpinia has a family that has been crafting wines since 1810, with the winery's “officially” founding in 1908. Affectionately known by all as Pupo, he's a self-taught winemaker, who made the decision to craft low-intervention, natural wines at the family’s winery when he took over in the cantina in 2013.

Pupo tastes his wines nearly every day, to attend to the needs and wants of his wines as he's told me. He's studying all the time to learn more about winemaking, grape growing, and the science behind it all. He believes you need to find the synergy in everything, not just wine to bring out the best in the grapes and craft wines people love to drink.

Tell me more:

  • So how long has Pupo been making wine? He was raised in and among his family’s 10 hectares of vineyards, harvesting, pruning, and helping to make wine from the age of six. He now uses these grape growing traditions that date back centuries as he focuses on crafting unique wines that bring out the flavors of the grapes from the year in which they were grown.

  • What types of wine does Pupo make? There are about 25 acres of vineyards and 5 acres of olive trees on his family's land. The vineyards house mostly Aglianico and Greco vines, but Pupo makes other wines as well. He loves to experiment based on the year's harvest and makes collaboration wines with Cantina Giardino every year. This year he'll make at least 13 different wines - and who knows for next year!

  • Is there a style that defines his winemaking? He'll tell you Pupo style = low input! He never adds sulfites to his wines because he believes there’s no need if you work carefully and exacting in the winemaking process. He also won’t and doesn’t use any chemicals, anti-herbicides, and wants to respect nature and the land where his vines grow. Pupo believes if you pay attention to what the vineyard is telling you, you don’t need chemicals. He’s also focused on protecting the old vines of Irpinia; he believes they don’t have an age limit and he hates seeing people take older vines down when he believes we should be celebrating the unique flavors of the grapes they produce.

  • Anything else I need to know about Pupo? Well, I loved his wines so much, we fell in love and we're now married!

  • Wait - who is the cute puppy? That's the winery mascot, Gandalf. You’ll find Gandalf, in the vines and riding on the tractor with Pupo on any given day. Once the runt of his liter and hand-fed by Pupo to make sure he survived, he now loves to greet people at the winery - all 45kg of his tail wagging enthusiastic self.

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