Organic Farm and Wine Cellar

Ours is a modern-day story of resilience, innovation and homecoming.

We are located in an unexpected part of the country, the Ligurian highlands of Ponente, within an inland area that, while far from the big cities, is at the same time remarkably alive, fertile and healthy.

We see ourselves, not only as defenders of ancient knowledge but, principally, as tireless innovators; protectors of a rural heritage and the landscape of a fragile and marginal environment.

As farmers, we have evolved and are seeking a new relationship between man and nature.

A few hectares of vineyards, in a breathtakingly spectacular valley, which features archetypal, south-facing terraces. Viticulture here is arduous; manual and artisanal labour are required to manage our vineyard. Our desire is to breathe life back into this authentic, yet unexplored, terroir.

The olive groves scattered across the valleyalso form part of the vineyard. We tend approximately 700 olive trees from which we produce Monocultivar Taggiasca Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Bees, medicinal plants, gardens, vegetable gardens, ancient grains, fruit trees and all that supports the needs of our family.

Click here for Ten Reasons to Choose Podere del Maro.

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Where can we find good and ethical food that nurtures our soul and nourishes our body?
How can we contribute to the well-being of people and our planet?
Where can we build a future together?
And that is how Podere del Maro and our life as farmers were born.

One half of the dynamic duo

Philosophy is a lifestyle choice. Opening her eyes upon waking and seeing the world each day through fresh eyes, this is what brings her joy.

She has been immersed in nature throughout her life, first horse-riding, followed by studying and relishing the joy of an outdoor lifestyle. Thus, like Marco, she decided to make a big life change, swapping the bustling streets of central Milan for the mountains surrounding Podere del Maro.

The heart and mind of Podere del Maro, she undertakes its management on a daily basis with immense passion, usually from the office, sometimes from the fields. She dreams of opening a riding school, which would predominantly be accessible to people with disabilities.

“Podere is the cornerstone of our family, where we coexist under the banner of ecology, sharing and solidarity. Each and every day, we reflect on our choice, on its causes and consequences: we would never go back. Marco and I both know that we must not forget or distant ourselves from our pasts, from the places of our childhood. If we hadn’t had those experiences there would be no Podere, we wouldn’t be who we are today and our future would look completely different. So, your outlook changes but your roots stay the same. We are so grateful to our families and all those who support us, but also to our experiences and the path that brought us here”.

… and the other half

Determined, dynamic and creative: these are the main characteristics of Marco’s varied personality. Extremely close to his hard working, peasant grandparents, he came into contact with the principles of farming at an early age. His dynamism led him to spend his adolescence and adulthood immersed in the worlds of sport, intense study and cookery. At 17, he spent a year in London and, at university, he was a student representative, both experiences were incredibly formative and left their mark on him.

After meeting Matilde, who shared his outlook, he made the lifestyle choice, albeit at a young age, to return to his roots, to the countryside, to wine.

“I remember the damp smell of the wine cellar like it was yesterday. I can picture this great man drinking out of little wineglasses, he would take a sniff, chuckle and mutter to himself. He beckoned me over and I ran to him, over to where he had prepared some bread and salami. And finally, I took a sip.”

He relocated to Borgomaro and embarked on the adventure that brought him here today. From the outset, he set to work in the fields, transforming and nurturing the landscape around him, rediscovering the passion he had been hankering after for some time. The Podere del Maro farm has enabled him to become a fully-fledged producer, a happy man and one who has returned to his roots. With Matilde by his side, he is committed to cultivating these roots.

Find out more about our winemaker

Food philosophy

During her studies, she met a guiding light: Andrea Borghini, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Milan and coordinator of Culinary Mind, a research centre for the philosophy of food. After a few months in Boston, where she wrote her dissertation on farming of the future, she decided to continue on this path. Her research was both theoretical and practical, which soon led her to work on various farms with tasks ranging from working in the laboratory and in the fields, getting to the beating and cognisant heart of the farms themselves.

Over time, she has become a close friend and collaborator. Her open mind enables her to assume a multitude of tasks at Podere; she predominantly manages events, curates the farm’s blog and, more generally, assists with communications.

The nature enthusiast

Patrizio has always been clear about what unites and distinguishes the terms “biologico (organic)” and “biodinamico (biodynamic)”: the shared Greek prefix “bios” means life, “logos” refers to the concept of reasoning and knowledge, while “dinamikòs” relates to movement and action, the product of forces acting contemporaneously and jointly. Hence, observe, understand and then take action. His thirst for knowledge derives from a passion for nature gained in childhood, which was cemented during his agricultural studies and followed by years of work and research dedicated to observing and understanding, which is integral to his ability to now take action.

… and the wine connoisseur

A varied, educational route that included Organic Chemistry and Wine Agronomy was followed by a fortuitous encounter with Tachis, my greatest teacher. His most important teachings are dedication and learning, which, following the years I spent with him at the Technical Directorate of Santadi and Agricola Punica, have helped me forge my present freelance career. Some of the most active years of my career occurred in Montalcino alongside the great Brunello producers, not to mention New Zealand, UK and USA with Alberto Antonini and his team, and involved vinification of some of the most famous varieties of Italian grapes outside Italy. Despite having collaborated with eminent national and international wine producers, I also enjoy dedicating my time to small, sometimes micro-businesses, when these are born out of passion and desire, an approach that captures the essence of beauty and goodness.

The bee-loving gardener

Having moved to Liguria a few years ago, Natale, our gardener, was also looking for a place that was more suited to him. He is so much more than a gardener: over time, he has become a trusted friend, a collaborator and a valuable font of knowledge.
He keeps the gardens, fields and plants in order with a strong focus on healthy biodiversity: consequently, he shares our organic and biodynamic approach. A true beekeeping enthusiast, his work at Podere also includes first-class management of our apiary.

alpi liguri

The Ligurian highlands

The upper section of the River Impero known as the River Maro, along which the Province of Imperia winds its way inland, passes through the villages that gradually retreat from the coast towards the high mountainous area of the Ligurian Alps. This is where Borgomaro, the regional capital of the Valle del Maro, can be found.

The valley, which can therefore be described as a high valley compared to the coastal “low valley” of Imperia, is known, historically, for the cultivation of Taggiasco olives and medium-low altitude vines, with woods along its ridges, and pastures and chestnut woods adorning its peaks.

The oldest document relating to the Valle del Maro dates back to 1150, when the Bishop of Albenga permitted the counts of Ventimiglia to collect ecclesiastical tithes such as wheat, oats, barley, figs, wine and oil. The elders of the village confirm that their grandparents used to live off these crops, having prolonged a thousand year-old tradition over time. This document is therefore a valuable source of information for better understanding the traditional farming system.

The terroir

The Ligurian highlands are particularly suited to viticulture. The picturesque, sun-drenched, south-facing slopes, are mild and temperate throughout the year, which is an ideal climate for viticulture, protected from the cold north winds by the Alps and with sea breezes that help temper the climate. The mountains slopes rise up sharply from the sea and the vineyards are cultivated at altitudes of 200-500 metres. The vineyards undergo significant fluctuations in temperature, which enables a slow and gradual maturation of the grapes, resulting in a particularly intense and concentrated aromatic profile.

While all these characteristics create the perfect natural habitat for viticulture, the same cannot be said for the accessibility of the cultivated land or the ease of working in the vineyards. The vineyards are often trained along the mountainside on terraces, which scale its steep slopes. Centuries of hard labour have domesticated the mountain, shaping a distinctive landscape, with vineyards of rare picturesque beauty. Still today, the winemaker’s job is entirely manual, with no possibility of mechanization to assist with the challenges of harvesting and transporting the grapes to the wine cellar. It is not by chance that viticulture is defined as “heroic”, precisely to emphasize the hard work, dedication and sacrifice it entails. These characteristics make the viticulture and wines of the Ligurian mountains all the more prized: the product of a unique and inimitable terroir.

The “geology of the soils” at low altitudes is composed of red soils of limestone-marl origin containing organic matter, while, towards the highlands, the soil is brown, mainly comprising of humus-poor clay. This is where biodiversity, of which we are assiduous scholars and practitioners, comes to our aid. Using biodynamic spray preparations and appropriate fertilizers with self-produced compost, we are gradually able to improve the fertility of these lands.

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