The winery in the dunes


Tenuta La Sabbiosa stands looking out onto the sea of Sardinia on the island of Sant’Antioco. An “island within an island” which, until the eighties, was carpeted with Carignano vineyards. Vineyards with goblet and spur-trained vines planted all the way down to the beach, among dunes and juniper trees, on sandy soil lashed all year long by the strong winds of the mistral.

The vines are pre-phylloxera because this is one of the few parts in Europe where the terrible scourge of phylloxera failed to take root, destroying hundreds of years of human toil.

However, the wine-growing tradition mostly died out at the end of the eighties when low yield failed to keep up with market economics. Here and there, thanks to the passion and tenacity of older growers small centuries-old vineyards survived.

It was in one of these that production of “Tenuta La Sabbiosa” wines began. Vines are treated with sulphur and copper, manure and faba beans are used as fertiliser and weeding is done by  hand, following modern and sustainable practices of organic farming.

At the winery years of trials and experiments were needed to produce the wine the owners wanted. “We were in search of the essence of Carignano, we wanted to bring back an appreciation of the grape, its bouquet, flavours and natural sapidity. We cut processing and stabilisation to the bare minimum as we wanted a wine that would be a product of the earth rather than of wine-making technologies even though  these are still  precious allies in the production of fine quality wines. You have to be a bit foolhardy in order to  salvage hundred-year old vines and fight the mistral and sandy soil to produce a modern wine from an ancient vine”.

Tessa Gelisio and Massimo Pusceddu 

There are few places in the world like Sabbiosa, where pre-phylloxera vines with their original roots have been salvaged, enabling  us to relish the pure  and ancient flavour of European grapes