We’re celebrating our links with a fellow B Corp, as we explore the theme of ‘This Way Forward’ throughout B Corp Month.

A window on the world...

As one of the UK’s leading indie wine merchants, we’re lucky enough to have thriving relationships with pioneering producers all over the world. Working in the wine trade gives us innumerable windows onto far-away corners of the globe, and it’s fascinating to hear what’s going on in places as disparate as Margaret River, Mendoza, and the Médoc!

Here at Old Chapel, we were the first UK wine merchant to achieve B Corp status, and sustainability in the wine trade is a topic close to our hearts. A lot of the conversations we have with producers at tastings revolve around environmental factors, from biodiversity to minimising transport emissions, and how we as businesses can act as a force for good in our local communities.

Searching for that critical mass...

Avignonesi vineyards, Tuscany
Part of the Avignonesi estate, Tuscany
One producer we find particularly inspirational is Avignonesi, a stunningly beautiful estate in Montepulciano, not far from Siena. Bought by visionary Virginie Saverys in 2009, Avignonesi has been on quite a journey, becoming the largest biodynamic winery in Italy and gaining its own B Corp certification in 2022.


Virginie Owner

Virginie Saverys, Owner, Avignonesi

Virginie’s desire for Avignonesi “to produce authentic, unique wines, that mirror the distinct identity of Montepulciano which are also healthier for her customers, land and future generations,” has transformed this corner of Tuscany – the estate also encompasses olives groves, arable land, and woods - into a world leader in sustainable winemaking.

Guardians of the land for future generations.

Avignonesi’s ‘ancestor vision’ approach asks whether the actions you’re taking now are right for future generations. It’s the concept of planting trees you’ll never sit under yourself, translated into the management of a major vineyard in one of the world’s most famous wine regions.

Avignonesi CEO Matteo

Avignonesi CEO, Matteo Giustiniani

Under the guidance of CEO Matteo Giustiniani, Avignonesi’s approach also considers the changing climate, and tries to mitigate for increasing temperatures, droughts, and other extreme weather events.

But it’s a two-way street; the team at Avignonesi also look to the past for answers. Bringing back indigenous Tuscan grape varieties such as Orpicchio and Canaiolo is one aspect of this approach, as is managing the vineyards using traditional, sustainable methods.

Investing in biodiversity and climate resilience. 

Here at Old Chapel, we’re proud to stock a large range of organic and biodynamic wines, and our Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Avignonesi falls into both categories. Natural methods of vineyard management are great for biodiversity, but the team at Avignonesi are going one step further.

Avignonesi grapes

The health of the land is paramount in organic and biodynamic vineyards

The La Stella Biodiversity Project pilots the creation of a vineyard which integrates additional local species of flora and fauna to help with climate resistance and crop protection. The new vineyard will include ecological corridors and wetlands, and will be planted in 2024/25.

Reducing emissions, one bottle at a time.

Avignonesi also share our commitment to reducing emissions through transport. Using lighter bottles results in a significant reduction of CO2, and this benefit is carried over to us when we distribute bottles locally using our e-bike or zero carbon courier service.

Avignonesi cellarsCellars at Avignonesi

Meanwhile in Tuscany, the majority of estate vehicles at Avignonesi have been replaced with hybrid and electric versions, an increasing amount of the estate’s electricity is generated by solar panels (around 30% currently), and this is topped up by energy purchased only from renewable sources.

The newer bottles also have higher levels of recycled content, as do the cardboard boxes they arrive in here in Cornwall.

People, planet, profit.

Just like us, the management team at Avignonesi believe that sustainability is about people too. Team building in Tuscany – learning to forage in the vineyards and creating a staff vegetable garden - sounds blissful! Meanwhile community outreach work really goes above and beyond, providing English lessons to 4 - 18yr olds to help improve job opportunities locally.

Friend of Old Chapel Cellars, Jamie-Lee of Summerhouse in Perranporth, visited Avignonesi recently at our recommendation. She said:

Avignonesi was like waking up in a dream, perfection from start to finish. Beautiful wine, food and staff - we felt like part of their hospitality family as soon as we met. A very special place that we were grateful to be connected with by the lovely Old Chapel Team."

Taste the results! 

You can see why we’re so proud of our relationship with this pioneering Tuscan vineyard. All that passion for authenticity and the health of the land really comes through in the beautiful Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which has intense aromas of ripe red plums and pomegranate, sweet spices, and those unmistakable Mediterranean herbs. On the palate the wine is well balanced, with generous pulp, seamless tannins, and an endless finish; it goes superbly with an array of classic tomato-based Tuscan dishes.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

We're proud to stock this biodynamic Tuscan wine

If you’re interested to learn more about any of our producers let us know. We love opening windows onto beautiful corners of the world like Tuscany!