Paterna is a commune-collective-coop winery and fully functioning farm begun in 1985 by a small group of friends who sought refuge from the encroaching tourism market that we know today as Tuscany. They began with a couple hectares of land and a dilapidated farmhouse, which is referred to locally as a “casa colonica” (basically a self-sustaining place where contadini would live and work their land).
They’ve grown slowly over the years to what they are now, which is roughly 15 hectares of truly mixed agriculture. Marco and Tamara Scarpellini are one of the three couples who inhabit the commune and who work with their neighbors (old, toothless Italian guys) to cultivate grapes and many other local products (cheese, honey, salumi, etc).
Located at the base of the Pratomagno mountains, the farm is in an isolated corner of central Tuscany outside of Arezzo near the source of the Arno River. Because the elevation is high, the temperatures in this micro-region are some of the coolest in Tuscany. They work only with local, indigenous grape varieties; they have, for instance, some of the oldest plantings of the exceedingly rare Pugnitello grape. The farm has been certified organic since its foundation but they go beyond that by working completely naturally both in the vineyard and cellars. All fermentations are carried out without added yeasts and little, and more often zero, sulfur is used. Much of the winemaking takes place outdoors in cement vats without temperature control.