In 1999 the
Falvo family, with over 40 years of experience in the wine business, purchased
and renovated the property to give birth to an ambitious project in Apulia, a
region with a long vine-growing tradition.
Veli is located on an ancient Messapian site dominating the fertile and sunny
Salento plain. It was founded by the Marquis Antonio de Viti de Marco
(1858-1943), an internationally known Italian economist and university
professor, Radical Party Deputy of the Reign of Italy, whose ambitious project
was to transform the Masseria into a model cellar for the entire South. Today
the beautifully restored Masseria covers an area of 33.000sqm, 3750 of which
include offices, a reception area, vinification, storage and ageing cellars.
Cabreo Masseria Li Veli
All wines are produced in the large cellar built in a light coloured stone, carparo, similar to the local pietra leccese. Beyond the main entrance is the barrel cellar, protected by a large glass door and located on the ground level beneath groin vaults. An air-conditioning system set at 16° guarantees an ideal temperature. The total capacity of the cellar is of approximately 10,000 hectoliters, divided between steel vats and about 400 French oak barriques. The ancient storage cellar now houses modern fermentation tanks: eight horizontal submerged cap vats with a capacity of 125 hectoliters and ten vertical vessels with a capacity of 130 hectoliters, which allow pumping over with fractioned and programmed délestage, must aeration, total programme management and traceability of the vinification. Owing to the high flexibility of these machines the processing phases can be adapted and programmed according to the specific winemaking procedures of the various grape varieties. Bottling and storing of bottles for ageing takes place in the same building, in separate areas.
At the beginning of the XX century Masseria Li Veli was a cellar built on the ruins of a late Medieval structure, traces of which can still be seen in the present building. The estate is situated just outside Cellino San Marco, half way between Brindisi and Lecce, a land with a long and fascinating history which started more than 2500 years ago. The Messapi were an ancient Italic population of the “Messapia”, the name given by Greek historians to this “land between two seas”, the Ionic and the Adriatic, which comprises the provinces of southern Apulia: Lecce, Brindisi and part of Taranto. First indications of the Messapian civilization date back to the VIII century B.C. After 272 B.C. they became part of the territory of Rome, while partly preserving their own identity. Nowadays many traces of that ancient civilization are still visible: the remains of walls, tomb stones, terracotta objects, gold and silver artefacts.
The masserie have their roots in the period of the Norman conquest: they were proper integrated centres for agricultural production, which bound men to the work on the land, within an economic structure typical of the south and destined to last into the second half of the XIX century. In the history of the South, the masseria was to become the place which united and defended properties and people, later becoming the country residence periodically used by the owner when on estate business, or the villa in which to spend the hot summers away from the city.