The Padelletti family is one of the oldest of the old town of Montalcino. Down the generations they were physicians, lawyers, judges and University professors and often because of their work or because of political defeats, they had to live in other towns, but a member of the family always remained in Montalcino to take care of the land the family owned. The bond with their land is strong and has remained unbroken. They always took an active part in the political life of the town. For many centuries there was a feud between the Papacy and the German Holy Roman Emperors about the ownership of Tuscany. As the Padelletti family sided with the Emperors, in the 13th century the head of the family had to take refuge in Germany at the court of the Staufers and those who remained had, for a long time, to keep very quiet. But, in the year 1529, when Montalcino fought the Spaniards for independence, a certain Giovanni Padelletti came back to take part in the defense. As he was an architect, he was given responsibility for the defense of a part of the town walls and two gates (which still belong to the descendands of the family). However in the year 1559, the Spaniards defeated the King of France and, by the treaty of Chateau Cambresis, Montalcino was given to the Spaniards, who ceded it to the Medici. Again the Padelletti family had to lie low and much of their property was confiscated. Nevertheless, by the year 1572 the Padelletti family was again listed among the owners of vineyards, olive groves and tillable land who were paying a tithe to the Hospital of Montalcino. Since then, the name Padelletti vineyards and wine have gone together. Already by the 16th century, Montalcino was famed for the specialties "Moscadelletto di Montalcino" and "Vinsanto". The bulk of the red wine production was made following the same systems as Chianti: that is using several types of red and white grapes together. The primary reason for this was that having vineyards with grapes maturing in different periods, the dangers from late frosts and hail were reduced. Another reason was that the "Sangiovese" grape did yield a very good wine but only after some years of ageing. The addition of white grapes enabled the production of a drinkable wine after only a few months. The landowners were forced by the prevailing poverty to turn their crops into money as soon as possible. The markets were also limited by the lack of roads suitable for horse-and ox-drawn carts. Over the centuries, however, because of the climate and soil, it was noticed that the Sangiovese grape had changed and could produce a wine that differed from that obtained from the same type of grape in other parts of the country. However, it still remained imperative to age the wine for several years to achieve the best flavour and taste, and, yet this ageing process itself poses another problem. Normally the wine casks were made of chestnut wood, abundant in the region, but this wood contains a lot of tannin which, in the long run, gave the wine a disagreeable taste. To avoid this drawback, the wood from a special oak, that did not grow in the region, had to be used. And it was costly. And the resulting expense limited the possible sales. So, this wine, special wine, was made only for the landowners themselves and some of their friends. It was noted that, when correctly aged, one of the characters of this special wine was that it took on a reddish-brown colour instead of the ruby red of Chianti - hence the name "Brunello" (Browny). This wine was of no commercial interest. So, it did exist, but in very limited quantities, and was never sold (marketed). For a couple of centuries the Padelletti family prospered producing magistrates, bishops, many notaries and doctors. The 19th century was not kind to the main branch of the family. Antonio was killed in a riding accident; his son, Pierfrancesco, after having held one of the highest positions in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, died suddenly while still young. Of Pierfrancesco’s sons; Guido, who was a professor at the universities of Pavia, Bologna and Rome, died before he was 35 of wounds he suffered when fighting with Garibaldi for the independence of Italy; Dino, who was a professor at Naples university, died equally young, of the plague. There remained Professor Domenico, Pierfrancesco’s brother, who was Rector of Pisa University and Carlo Augusto, Guido’s son, who was still an infant. Professor Domenico Padelletti retired to Montalcino to take care of the family patrimony and assist his young great-nephew. Professor Domenico made many improvements. He planted new vineyards and olive groves and bought more land. So, by the time Carlo Augusto reached 21, he inherited a large estate of well-kept land from his great-uncle. Carlo Augusto intensely pursued a wide variety of activities. Besides obtaining no less than four doctorates from various universities, he was a diplomat, a judge, a lawyer and a physician. He was also an industrialist creating many new industries in a region that had none and which seemed to aspire to nothing beyond agriculture. The population of Montalcino was poor with high unemployment, and whose only source of power was human or animal. By-passing steam power completely, Carlo Padelletti chose, instead, to back the newly discovered electrical power generated by that new source of energy, the internal combustion engine. As fuel, he used the gases generated by the burning of waste from the timber industry. All this was before the end of the 19th century. In fact, by 1899 Carlo Augusto Padelletti had created a good electricity supply. As a first step, he lit the town of Montalcino with electricity when Rome and Florence were still illuminated by gas. Then, using his abundant financial resources, he started setting up industries that would increase the profitability of Montalcino’s agricultural production. A lot of wheat and cereals were produced, but it was only in winter, when the streams were full enough to drive the water-wheels, that wheat flour could be ground in the mills. So, he built an electrically-powered flour mill in Montalcino, and an olive press and a saw mill. When he needed more bricks, he built a brick furnace. He developed an industry to utilize forestry by-products. Then he started a large printing and book-binding industry and, finally, a movie theatre! During this time, Carlo Augusto Padelletti had also modernized agriculture. He introduced iron ploughs, internal combustion tractors and harvesting machines. In the meantime, the creation of the railway network somewhat improved the opportunities for the export of Montalcino’s agricultural produce even though Montalcino’s hill-top position did reduce this benefit to some extent. Carlo Augusto Padelletti also did much to improve the wines of Montalcino, presenting wine and olive oil at many Italian exhibitions and also winning prizes abroad from London to Geneva. He opened a sales office in Geneva to optimize the distribution of Montalcino wines. Like other far-sighted landowners, he continued to produce Brunello but always in small quantities. The vineyards were still a mixture of grape varieties and the Brunello grapes were gathered before the main harvest. It had been noted that the alluvial soils at the foot of the Montalcino hill produced the best Brunello, strong but agreeable. The wine from the south slopes was too strong and from the higher slopes, too light. Therefore, the landowners on these particularly favoured locations (the Biondi at "La Chiusa" estate; the Padelletti at "Paradisi" and "Rigaccini"; the Anghirelli at "Il Cigaleto") produced the best Brunellos but never viewed it as a commercially viable enterprise. It was true that Brunello could be aged for longer than most other wines but, because of its high price in comparison with better known wines and because of the general level of poverty, making Brunello on a large scale was not a winning proposition. Another factor was the dwindling production of grapes following the destruction of the vineyards by phylloxera together with the rumors of war and later, the war itself which discouraged the owners from planting new vineyards, In 1925, Carlo Augusto Padelletti, unable to cope with all his initiatives because of his age, had, with some other landowners, founded a "Cantina Sociale" and its management was entrusted to Dr. Tancredi Biondi. Just before the Second World War this winery had to be dissolved because of the lack of grapes. After the war there were almost no vineyards left in Montalcino. Some courageous landowners then started replanting, but only Brunello grapes. The economic situation improved rapidly and the "Italian Miracle" took place. There was money for both investment and consumption. New and improved vineyards were planted and new cellars with new oak casks were made. Demand was met by increased production, but far beyond the boundaries always considered most suitable for Brunello. Dr. Avv. Carlo Augusto Padelletti, by now over 80, entrusted the management of his land to his son, Guido, who continue d with the planting of a vineyard in the original location where the best Brunello had been produced, years before. After the division of the paternal estate with his brothers, he was left with the "Rigaccini" estate. He has 6 hectares of beautiful vineyards but, because of his professional commitments abroad, he limits himself to the production of splendid Brunello grapes, using only one fifth of the best of these to make an average of 8.000 bottles a year and selling the remainder to other Brunello producers. His cellar is under the family house in Via Padelletti, on the city walls where so many generations of his family have lived. Guido Padelletti still thinks that quantity is the enemy of quality and tries to maintain the high standards set by his own ancestors.