It feels important to precede anything that can be said about the Foradoris with a note on where rather than who. The farm finds itself in the shadow of the Dolomites: the energy here is palpable. The rocks burst forth from the otherwise rolling hills, looming vertiginously above. It’s the dichotomy of the soft, fertile earth and primordial rock that seems to endlessly push and pull against itself, always at odds, and yet somehow in perfect symbiosis. The Foradori estate is nestled into a valley between these imposing, awe-inducing Dolomites, so close that one might strain their neck to see the top.
While the Foradori family has been settled here for some time, it seems the energy of the land has permeated the generations. When Elisabetta was just 19 she took over the winery after the sudden passing of her father. Here she picked up the pieces of a troubled situation and created something much greater than the sum of its parts. In a region fraught by a culture of bulk-fruit selling, cooperatives, and cheaply-made and poorly-regarded wines, Elisabetta decided to turn her focus to her vineyards. Little by little, improvements were made: massale selection over clonal, pergola to guyot, and most importantly, the conversion to organic. As if by magic (read: mostly science, and a little magic), the quality of the fruit, vineyards, and in turn, wine, improved. Inspired by the results, she pressed forward, seeking even more life, joy, and vibrancy from her wines, and turned to the teachings of Rudolph Steiner as a new approach to her vineyard work. The rest is more or less history; her early bottlings of teroldego (the local, oft-maligned grape of the region) received international acclaim, her vines thrived, and her status as a world class winemaker was solidified.
Over time, new approaches to farming, winemaking, and elevage have developed. The cellars now find themselves lined with clay amphora, a favourite vessel of the family after several experimental batches and visits to wineries like COS which had reintroduced these methods with great success.
Today, Elisabetta has moved into a new stage in her career. She now oversees her beautiful 26ha estate in the Dolomites and is a consulting partner in a winery project in Tuscany (Ampeleia). Her children run the day to day workings of their home, winery, and land in Trentino; Emilio handles the cellars, Theo runs the trade, and her daughter Myrtha has a stunning vegetable patch amongst the vines, growing an impeccable range of biodynamic produce and overseeing livestock that allows the property to be entirely self-sustaining.
The family’s lust for quality is reflected in every aspect of their lives; not only is their property stunning, but beauty is breathed into each project they touch. It’s no wonder that Elisabetta Foradori’s story is the stuff of legacy in the natural wine community; the only shame is that we can’t be there more often.