Stefano Antonucci’s dynamic and candid personality captivate all who meet him. This irresistible drive and energy is also what led him, in 1994, to make the drastic decision to change his life direction and return to the small village of his childhood, Barbara, in the heart of the Marche region, giving up his job as a banker. Stefano had always been intrigued by the world of wine and also deeply connected to his territory and so, he began the transformation of his family’s small cooperative winery into the Santa Barbara Winery of today, a reference point for exceptional quality in the Marche. Since its beginning, the Santa Barbara winery has always had two principal objectives: to reintroduce the Marche region’s indigenous grape varieties (Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi – white – and Montepulciano and Lacrima di Morro d’Alba – reds), and to craft wines of great personality that appeal to international tastes while respecting the tradition of the Marche land. In fact, in addition to the autochthonous grapes, international varieties including Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are cultivated as well to enhance the lineup. In other words, one eye on the territory and the other on the market. With this driving force, Stefano produces modern wines with traditional varietals, elegant, intriguing and persuasive examples of the finest winemaking. He has been called a “visionary and eclectic winemaker, continually striving for stylistic perfection.” Stefano sees himself in those words as they perfectly sum up his philosophy, both in the beginning and today. As he put it himself, “My secret is to make wine that first and foremost appeals to me, a winedrinker’s wine.”
The vineyards are 25-40 years old and encompass an area of about 45 hectares of land, from the rolling hills of Barbara, across Serra de Conti, Montecarotto, and Arcevia up to Morro d’Alba and Cupramontana. The particularity of these areas lies in the soils, water-rich clay with some calcareous and gravelly areas, occupying a strip of land bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Apennines to the west. Work in the vineyards (January through October) is carried out by hand under the attentive guidance of renowned technicians and expert farmers, seeking a balance between spur pruning, focused interventions, and thinning only when necessary.