Villa Santo Stefano in Lucchesia: The Tuscan Dream of the Reitzles Between Vineyards and Olive Groves

A lifetime spent among the world's luxurious cars suddenly changed direction for Wolfgang Reitzle. Owner of Villa Santo Stefano along with his wife Nina, German-born Wolfgang was an important manager in the automobile sector before arriving in Lucca. After studying Mechanical Engineering and Economics in Munich in 1971, Wolfgang graduated as the youngest Diplom-Ingenieur in Munich at the age of 22. Soon after, he finished his doctorate studies in Engineering as well. From that time on, his career in the automotive sector went forward successfully beginning with BMW then with other leading luxury car brands in the following years.

Also born in Germany, Nina Ruge instead works in the world of cinema and television. In Germany, she achieved notoriety for her roles as presenter, interviewer and moderator, especially in terms of politics. But she also covered entertainment, medicine, technology, science and hosted several evening programs. She is also the author of several books, the latest one, the twenty-sixth is "Aging Becomes Curable - A Practical Guide".

But what ties them to Italy and the world of wine? Wolfgang has had a connection with Italy from the time when he was a child because he and his family used to spend summers in the country. This fondness for the Italian countryside was so profound that he and his wife decided to look for a holiday home in Tuscany where they can sometimes spend a few months. This led them to the purchase of Villa Bertolli in Lucchesia in 2001 which came together with some olive groves and a vineyard of about one hectare. The villa has a unique position on the hills with a breathtaking view of the valley and the sea in the distance, and the city of Lucca in the proximity. They renamed the villa to Villa Santo Stefano in honor of the 9th century parish church of the same name located in the immediate vicinity.

"We have been looking for a long time for a place to make our dreams come true and Villa Santo Stefano is this dream. It is a special place for people, animals and plants. A place full of energy," says Nina.

In a short span of time, it was transformed into an agricultural company dedicated to the production of oil and wine and in 2006, they released their first bottle of wine, Loto. Today the company produces, in 18 hectares of land, 7 of which are property-owned in Lucca and 11 hectares in Maremma, around 50,000 bottles of wine and 1,500 liters of extra virgin olive oil, with great attention to the environment and eight rooms dedicated to hospitality.

The husband and wife team believed in the great potential of their land which is the main reason why their holiday home became an agricultural company. After the first taste of the wine and oil produced in their vineyards and orchards, they knew that they have something special in their estate. They are driven by their search of perfection and the love for the magnificent area of Lucchesia, with its particular terrain and climate. Lucchesia has a mild climate which is ideal for the cultivation of olive trees and vines. The sea is about twenty kilometers away, while to the north, the Apuan Alps and the Apennines protect it from cold winds. This allows Villa Santo Stefano and the surrounding land to benefit from a temperate climate. The light dew at night, the beaming sun during the day and the low altitude of 270 meters asl are the ideal conditions that contribute to the ripening of top quality olives. All theses factors have made this portion of Tuscany the heart of the production of extra virgin olive oil for several centuries.

The concerted work of a good team solidifies the foundation of Villa Santo Stefano. Taking care of the daily work at the vineyards and olive groves is Alessandro Garzi, the administrator and agronomist who originates from Lucca itself. He is responsible for the conversion of the production to organic with the certification issued starting from the 2021 harvest. The cellar is the realm of the oenologist, Alessio Farnesi, another Tuscan who originated from Pisa where he attended his oenological studies. He gained his professional experience with the wines of La Spinetta Winery before arriving at Villa Santo Stefano in 2013. Taking up the role of consultancy in oenology and agronomy is Antonio Spurio, who, ever since a child has been passionate about the world of agriculture, thanks to his grandfather who let him help in the farm. After his studies at the university, he gained numerous experiences in prestigious wineries in Italy and abroad and from 2005, he has worked at Villa Santo Stefano when the vineyard was just a garden at the estate. Now he consults other important Tuscan wineries as well. Born and raised in Germany, Petra Pforr has always been passionate about oil and wine. Having moved to Italy in 1997 and after finishing her doctorate studies, she moved to Lucchesia where she started an activity linked to food and wine, cultural travel and organization of events. Today, thanks to this experience, she takes care of the national and international marketing and sales department.

Petra Pforr, Marketing Manager and Alessio Farnesi, Oenologist

On a tasting of the wines of Villa Santo Stefano, Petra Pforr, Marketing Manager and Alessio Farnesi, Oenologist, took some of their wines to El Cepo Restaurant in Rome for a wine tasting paired with the meat dishes of the restaurant.

Luna Rosato Toscano IGT 2021

A blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Sangiovese that are harvested by hand then light pressing after destemming. The fermentation happens in temperature-controlled steel tanks between 15 to 20 days. The wine remains in steel until the end of February of the following year before being bottled. The wine has a light salmon pink color with a fresh and direct nose, notes of white peach, lemon, apple and white flowers while in the palate, it has a medium sapidity, creaminess and persistence. Best enjoyed now.

Goia Vermentino Toscano IGT 2021

Obtained from 100% Vermentino grapes which are typical of Tuscany which are harvested in vineyards with southern exposure and proximity to the sea, giving it a particular sapidity in the nose. The fermentation of 15 - 20 days takes place in temperature-controlled steel tanks then aged in the bottle. In the glass, it has a floral nose of white flowers, winter melon and hint of salinity. Medium to full body pleasant acidity, citrus and sapidity in the finish.

Sereno Colline Lucchesi DOC 2020
Obtained from a blend of 85% San Sangiovese and 15% Ciliegiolo, Colorino and Canaiolo. Fermentation in steel tanks for about 10 days then maturation in large Frenck oak barrels of 2,000-liter capacity for 12 months. In the glass, it has a vibrant ruby red color with violet highlights with a nose of violets, dried spices, underbrush and red fruits while on the palate, it gives soft tannins, good acidity, full body and persistence.

Volo Toscana Rosso IGT 2020
The latest wine of the company that was produced in 2019 and 90% of the production is exported to the international market. Volo is obtained from a blend of 40% Petit Verdot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Alicante from the youngest vines in the vineyards in Arsina, Lucca. The three varieties that compose the wine are vinified separately in steel tanks then at the end of the fermentation, they are blended together in concrete tanks where the wine ages for 10 months before bottling. In the glass, it has a deep ruby red color and a nose with floral aromas and notes of black plums and black cherries and a delicate tone of powder blush. On the palate it is fresh, with a light creaminess, grippy tannins and vibrant acidity.

Loto Toscano Rosso IGT 2019
Loto is the very first wine produced by the company in 2006. Obtained from 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdo wherein no more than four bunches are selected for each vine, to ensure maximum yield from each plant. Depending on the type of grape and the vintage, the aging in French barrique lasts from 12 to 18 months. Afterwards, the wine is aged for six months in large concrete tanks. At the end, the cuvée is composed and the wine is then bottled, for at least another 6 months before going out to the market. In the glass, it has an intense ruby red color with a complex nose of black plums, red berries, juniper, dried tea leaves and vanilla. On the palate, the tannins are well-integrated, full-bodied, elegant and long finish. An excellent wine that can keep its characteristics a few years more.

Nina Toscana Rosso IGT 2019 (Magnum)
Nina will come out in the market soon, a production of 999 bottles in which the magnum bottles are made for the Swiss market. The wine is obtained from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes from 28-year old vines. In the glass, it has an intense ruby red color with darker edges with a nose of dark fruits and dried spices, spreads thinly in the mouth with dried spices, a pleasant freshness, integrated tannins and long finish.

Villa Santo Stefano

Address: Via della Chiesa di Pieve di Santo Stefano 504/B, 55100 Lucca (LU), Italy
Tel: +39 349 3694970