Culture

The real olive oil and rural authenticity in adverse conditions

How do you manage to sell olive oil and wine at a price that is economically sustainable but cannot possibly be competitive with rapidly descending supermarket prices? For us the strategy is conservation, diversification, outreach and a lot of hard work

Charlotte Horton

The real olive oil and rural authenticity in adverse conditions

Castello di Potentino lies in a secret valley under Monte Amiata.  It is surrounded by a rich green landscape which we fondly call the green sea.  This is a vital landscape which has never been impacted by modern farming practices.  There is no monoculture, no long term, widespread use of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.  Instead it is made up of small plots of land with strong policulture – a bountiful mix of olives, vines, fruit and nut trees.  Bees, birds and wild flowers abound.  There are even fresh water crabs in the river.  It makes you feel at home – one of the etymologies for Amiata is the indo-european term Heimat which means motherland.

Some of the olive trees we have are over 1,000 years old and are of the Olivastra Seggianese cultivar which is indigenous to this specific area.  This variety is well known for its ability to adapt and survive with a little bit of help from some positive human intervention.

Potentino is the ideal location for photosynthesis and the concentration of the natural sugars needed to make a fine and elegant wine and a delicate but persistent and complex olive oil.  It is no wonder then that the magic valley attracted the Etruscans thousands of years ago. 

Castello di Potentino’s production tries to be representative of the delicate relationship between nature and the human, earth and the climate; a symbiosis based on observation and respect, sensibility and discipline. Our olive oil is made from a blend of Olivastra Seggianese, Frantoio, Pendolino and Leccino olives.

How do you manage to sell olive oil and wine at a price that is economically sustainable but cannot possibly be competitive with rapidly descending supermarket prices?  For us the strategy is conservation, diversification, outreach and a lot of hard work.

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