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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Bivona, Sicily
People: Gaetano & Nicoletta Gargano, Owners | Giampiero Bea, Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Il Censo is an estate of 65 hectares situated in Bivona in the south-central zone of Sicily near the town of Palazzo Adriana, the site of the wonderful film, Cinema Paradiso. Gaetano Gargano's family, through his mother’s side (family name: Spoto), has owned Il Censo for over 200 years. Production over the years was principally of grains and legumes, but there was also a small vineyard planted to Perricone and Malvasia Nera and an old olive grove the trees of which are now 100 years of age. The name Il Censo literally means "census" but in this instance most likely refers to the obligations of the tenant farmers to pay tribute to the landowning family, a system that dates back to feudal times. The name predates the Spoto time of ownership.
As has been the case so often, much of the agricultural activity at Il Censo was abandoned over the years. Gaetano met Giampiero Bea about 25 years ago and fell in love with the work the Bea family was doing in Montefalco. Ultimately, Gaetano determined to reinvigorate the farming activity at Il Censo and, with the guidance of Giampiero, began by planting 5 hectares of vineyards split between the white Catarratto grape and the black Perricone variety. The vineyards are situated high on an undulating volcanic outcropping. An additional four hectares have recently been planted, which will come into production between the 2015 and 2017 vintages. This newest planting regime includes Nero d’Avola and Malvasia Nera in addition to Catarratto and Perricone.
The olive grove has also been revived and is now producing about 500 liters of a certified organic, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, small quantities of which will make its way to the US market.
The entire agricultural enterprise is managed organically. Vinification is conducted under the principles developed by Giampiero Bea.