The Tuscan vineyards of Antico Borgo di Sugame

Borgo di Sugame vineyards

Antico Borgo di Sugame dates back to about 1200 AD as an inhabited location. The meaning of the name Sugame is unknown but it is shared with the adjacent pass over the hills between the Val di Greve and the upper Val d’Arno. ‘Antico’ means ‘ancient’ and ‘borgo’ means a hamlet or small village. Indeed, Sugame was just that, and the piazza which separates the two main buildings was the centre of this village, where the women worked or children played, just as they do today.

The main vineyard is about 28 years old, and the newer ones are six and seven years old, with another hectare and a half having been planted in 2005. Below the main vineyard are the very old vines that were cultivated in the traditional manner. Maple trees were used to support the vines instead of poles, and the rows of maples and vines were alternated with rows of olive trees. The rows were set very wide apart so that other produce such as grain and vegetables, could be cultivated between them. These beautiful old vines are still producing grapes which are very much a part of the harvest.

The vineyards total nearly five hectares, and there are two hectares of olive trees and 28 hectares of woodland. The vineyards are SW facing at an altitude of 500 m. The soil is mainly sandy-lime with a small percentage of clay.

Catrina and Lorenzo Miceli acquired Sugame in 2000 and, along with their three children, have brought Sugame to life, fulfilling the needs of today while still maintaining its rich echoes from the past.

Sugame was already an agriturismo enterprise with the same nine apartments and the same vineyards. Catrina and Lorenzo arrived in the freezing month of February with one toddler and one baby on the way, and nine unfurnished, shabby apartments and arrivals for the apartments due in April. A fairly daunting task ahead but over the eighteen years they have been here, they have renovated the apartments bit by bit, restored the cantina, put in a swimming pool, built a new entrance and road from the other side and landscaped the grounds. Crucially, they have converted the wine and olive oil production to organic. No chemicals are used either on the land or in the winery. Their organic certification became an official addition to their label in 2002.

The wine used to be stored in enormous wooden vats (now stainless steel). These were dismantled inside the cantina as they were to big to pass through the door. They were cleaned up and transformed into kitchen surfaces and tables for six of the apartments. Nearly all of the bathrooms are new. Each apartment now has its own external ‘space’, a terrace or veranda, patio or garden.

Heart and soul, toil and labour have gone into making Borgo di Sugame what it is today. Lorenzo and Catrina continue to maintain the high standards that they set and Sugame now glows with warmth, hard work and a sense of family togetherness and well being.