Our company has been run by the same family for three generations and its history dates back more than eighty-five years. It is located in the municipality of Illasi, in the Valle di Mezzane, in the production area of Valpolicella DOC (PDO – Protected Designation of Origin).
Our home and winery is surrounded by hazelnut and oak woods, olive groves and historic vineyards in a unique environment that is ideal for growing vines. Wine has always been made here, and still today we use traditional methods and respect the rhythms of nature and the seasons. From our home, and particularly from the terrace where we have our tastings, we look out over a vast, rolling landscape like no other. It extends all the way from the slopes of the Lessini mountains down to the Po valley.
These are ancient lands, along the Via Cara, the only Roman road that connected the Verona plain to the lands of the north. This lush green area has always been fertile, thanks to its waterways, and it has remained pristine, with neither uncontrolled development nor industrial settlements. An area devoted to high-quality farming and especially to wine-growing, which has been practiced here since ancient times, but also to the production of olives, cherries, and chestnuts.
To ensure complete traceability, we control the entire production process, from tending the vineyards to the production and sale of our wine. We look after the estate ourselves, without bringing in outsiders, and we work with enthusiasm on every stage of an intentionally limited and artisanal production: from ten to fifteen thousand bottles a year. Each bottle brings out all the magic that binds us to our land and our passion for what we do. Age-old tradition meets modernity in a technologically advanced cellar, where the raw material is treated with the greatest respect, to enhance its qualities to the full, in line with the work that started in the vineyard.
Amarone, the most emblematic wine of Valpolicella, requires perfect appassimento, which involves drying the grapes until they lose 30-35% of their weight. The Falezze fruttaio, or drying room, ensures natural drying, assisted by the fresh breezes that sweep through the Mezzane valley. The thick skin of the grapes preserves their internal qualities, ensuring a slow loss of water and thus a greater concentration of the aroma.
Before we put on our labels, two years after bottling, we check to see that the highest quality standards have been fully respected. We use only individually inspected DS100 natural corks, covered with shellac for the finest wines, as a further guarantee of purity.
We firmly believe in the values of authentic viticulture and we are a proud member of the Italian Federation of Independent Winegrowers (FIVI), which aims to protect the territory and the culture of Italian wines, helping to get the country back on its feet again.
As an agronomist, molecular biologist, and nutritionist, I specialised in the field of oenological microbiology and genetics. In 2008, while completing my university studies, I decided to start analysing the family estate and the grapes that grew here. From then on, I’d made up my mind: I would concentrate my research on this terroir and create a wine that would be its most authentic and exclusive expression. A rare wine, with limited production, original in every way, from the sensations released when tasting to the image with which it is presented. A wine that would express my own family’s close bond with Valpolicella and that would combine my own life story with the unique personality of this land.
The skills I acquired while studying life under the microscope (and losing two diopters in the process!) and what I lived through with my family proved to be decisive. What was equally important, however, was being aware of my own limits, because perfection is out of everyone’s reach and can only serve as a goal to strive towards without every giving up. Realising this only heightened my desire to bring my idea of wine to the market, knowing that nothing could be stronger than this ambition – not even the fears that naturally come with every new business venture.
In 2008 Luca Anselmi put his name to the first bottles of Amarone and Valpolicella produced by the Falezze estate. In 2013 L’Espresso magazine, which publishes the famous wine guide, hailed Luca Anselmi’s Falezze winery as an outsider in Valpolicella, representing the extraordinary diversity of Italian wines, and it recognised the originality and integrity of what it had achieved in just five years since it first started.
Another meeting of bold ideas and creativity came the following year, when, with the Murano master glassmaker Simone Cenedese, he created a selection of ten 5-litre bottles in blown glass to celebrate the first vintage of the DOCG Amarone. The partnership reflected the affinity between a great winemaker and a great glassmaker, both with strong personalities but always open to cooperation with others, attracted both by a love of tradition and by an interest in modern ideas. The project put the media spotlight onto this young winery and its creator and the name and story of Falezze also appeared on television, when Luca was one of the top names in an episode of “TGR Expo”, a Rai programme produced on the occasion of Expo 2015.
One of the first acknowledgements from the professional world of wines came in 2016 with the award of the prize for the best Amarone at Mundus Vini, the top competition on the German market. On that occasion, the actor and director Til Schweiger was totally bewitched by the personality of Falezze wines and he asked Luca to create the “Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore Valentin”, named after the German actor’s eldest son. In 2017 Falezze was included in Wine Italia – New Entries – at the Merano WineFestival.
Falezze is currently working with many starred restaurants in Italy, Germany and France, and its wines can be found not only at the most important trade fairs but also at tastings in the world of entertainment and at cultural events.
Born in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, I grew up in a family that encouraged me to appreciate art in all its forms, from the designs of the precious carpets created by my mother, to the works on canvas so patiently painted by my father. I attended the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, where I obtained a graduate degree in Fashion Design.
After practicing various art forms, from painting to fashion design, to embroidery and experimenting with a variety of materials (thread, canvas and fabrics) I ultimately arrived at figurative art.
In creating the artistic labels that are now an integral part of the Falezze project, I found the perfect creative dimension in which I could express myself to the full. The style of the labels that I design and paint for Falezze each season are the pure expression of my art and the outcome of a constantly evolving inner research. They contain some recurring elements, such as the theme of elegance and femininity, conveyed by flowing lines and the use of nuanced colours that tell the story of a contemporary dream.
As well as being a label designer, I also continue working on my own, personal art. Those who come to visit us at the cellar will see a number of my works on display as well as some works by my father, Niko Kherkeladze, an artist who is known across the world for his particular style, and the winner of the first prize at the 2010 “Carrousel du Louvre” international exhibition. So I am proud to say I am an artist from a family of artists and the life partner of Luca, who has found his own very personal way of interpreting the art of winemaking at Falezze.
My father Sergio and my grandfather Severino spent their lives caring for the family estate and growing vines. Obtaining grapes that were perfect and ripe was always a source of great pride for them. I started out with vineyards that had been looked after with the very greatest care, with the finest quality grapes that would make for the highest quality of wine. This helped me launch my attempt to create a product of absolute excellence.
I brought my training in biology and a methodical, systematic and rigorous vision of viticulture and oenology to the company. Sofia, my wife, brought her artistic inspiration, which is perfectly complementary to my own approach. And we all bring our shared passion for what we do and the joy of sharing it with those we care about most. Just as I did, our son Marco is growing up breathing in the air of the countryside, with the colours and scents of the earth, learning the secrets of how to tend to plants from his grandfather… In other words, the next generation of the Anselmi family is already part of the company.
This is where we live, where we work, and where we cultivate our dreams, following the rhythms of the seasons, taking care of everything. This is what being a family business really means: we share everything, our different sensibilities come together and connect, and this gives ever-greater strength to our relationships and to the company itself. Even when I’m away, promoting our wines in Italy and around the world, my profound, intimate bond with Falezze is always with me.
Falezze is located at an altitude of between 200 and 250 metres above sea level, facing from south-west to north-west. The gradient ranges from 5% to 30% and the land slopes down gently, making it possible to stagger the grape harvest and control the quality of each single bunch. The vines are aged between twenty-five and forty but there are also some historic plots that were planted eighty years ago.
The soil is extremely calcareous, moderately alkaline and it has a sandy clay loam texture in the deepest area.
The permeability is generally moderate with good drainage, giving the vine a good deal of autonomy in terms of water. The soil is rich in microelements, which encourages the vine to produce many roots and to dig down deep into the soil. This gives them a large root system that forms a sort of natural reservoir for important substances, including microelements that help enrich the juice of the grapes and give an unmistakeable touch to the wine.
We only use the Veronese pergola system in the vineyard, which has always been common throughout Valpolicella. This is a training system that has proved to be more resistant to climate change, ensuring high quality grapes that give the wine a perfect degree of salinity, forming a harmonious balance with the tannins. Corvinone, Corvina and Rondinella are the classic varieties used for Valpolicella but there are also some plots for Croatina and Oseleta, which are used in the blends of some wines, giving them a deeper colour and a fair dose of tannin and spiciness.
You don’t go organic overnight. It’s a long journey that begins months, years even, before you obtain your certification. We’re reaching the final stages of this process at Falezze, which means that we have already been producing our wines for a long time in line with certain principles and specifications.
Ever since the first generation of the Anselmi family, we have worked in the vineyard to protect the environment, fully aware that our first duty is to respect and preserve our land. Luca Anselmi’s training in the field of biology and his specialisation in food issues have heightened this sensibility, enabling the company to transition towards organic in a well-pondered, meticulous manner.
Wine is not just a sophisticated sensory pleasure and a means of socialising: first and foremost, it is a nutrient and as such part of our well-being. This is why using advanced technology to eliminate any chemical intervention is key to the production of wines of true excellence.
There are plenty of good reasons to visit us and not just to taste our wines, for here you will be able to embrace beauty in all its forms, based on your preferences and the time you can spare. Our invitation is to have you discover the lovely, gentle Falezze hill if the weather is fine, enjoying a walk through the vineyards, the olive grove and the woods on our estate. We can come with you and show you the nature in our land, and what makes it so unique also in the cultivation of grapes, with its traditions and its fascinating history. And we can show you how we work and the methods we use, from vineyard to bottle. We will show you around the cellar, where the visit ends with a tasting of various wines with small accompaniments. Here, in your glass, you will find all the philosophy of Falezze, and you will be able to enjoy the permanent exhibition of works by Niko and Sofia Kherkeladze, giving you an experience that brings together the different souls of the company in an all-round sensory experience.