Image thumbnail

How it all began

The dream of having my own vineyard

how I found Terra Nera

In 1996, I started my venture with the dream of owning my own vineyard, whose grapes would produce the highest quality red wines. Full energy, I drove the caravan to Italy to look for a suitable piece of land. This project quickly crystallized into a search for the infamous needle in the haystack. The more I saw, the more I knew what I didn’t want. Least of all, a vineyard whose success would be based on industry or mass tourism.

I started to expand my search radius significantly. I exchanged the caravan for a plane, travelled through countries and continents… Yet intuitively, I was always drawn close to Rome. Here I secretly hoped to find THE PLACE I had long been searching for: a historic winery with a view overlooking the sea, nested in the most peaceful, unspoiled nature, with grapes that have the potential to write wine history.

Finally, a decisive clue from an old Italian professor ultimately pointed me to the goal. When he poured me a red wine which can only be grown on the Terra Nera “island” because of its high geological conditions, I knew at the first drop: I’ve arrived! I had at last found the taste experience for which I had spent over 5 years meticulously searching.

Another joyful moment was when I first set eyes on Terra Nera. These hilly, partially dense-wooded, one million square meters spread out beyond where my eyes could see. I gained a deep respect for the task that awaited me here.

In 2001, I purchased the first 48 hectares of Terra Nera land, on whose central hill an old farmhouse is perched. With a great amount of respect and understanding for the concerns of the local farmers, but also through sensitive negotiating skills, I eventually acquired the whole 100 hectares of Terra Nera “Island”.

I find this gift, Terra Nera, so precious that it has become a life-long project of the heart.

– Christian Sprenger

Wie alles begann

There was a lot to do…

Let’s get it done!

Search and purchase of the vineyard

From the idea to the implementation, there were many uneasy steps in the early stages of preparation. The biggest hurdle was in obtaining all the necessary permits (i.e., for excavating the land). Even when buying the wine rights for more than 28 hectares of new plantation, it took a lot of entrepreneurial spirit to get them granted and approved.

Start of Construction

With the ultimate goal of creating a premium winery on Terra Nera, the entire infrastructure of the ``island`` had to be rebuilt and stabilized with the aim to create more suitable areas for the cultivation of wine. This important step required years of large-scale, complex, and labour-intensive construction work.

Underground Energy Supply

The entire power infrastructure was laid underground. With no visually disturbing, high-voltage masts, every visitor to Terra Nera can be fully immersed in the breath-taking Tuscan landscape and also enjoy the full, fantastic view out toward the sea.

Straightening of the Island Soil

Step by step, and with a lot of love, Terra Nera became a world of its very own. The island soil was straightened in large stretches in order to align the boundaries of eight plots and to cultivate them.

Underground Water Supply

More than 300 sun-hungry olive trees and cypresses decorate Terra Nera with their rich fruits. Two 100-meter deep wells supply water even to the backmost grapevine – all sufficiently distributed completely underground and controlled by computers.

Planting of Vineyards

From 2006 to 2011 the vineyards were newly planted with grape varieties such as Sangiovese, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.

Ground work

With the stones obtained from grading the soil, roads and fences were built in an ecologically meaningful way in the typical Tuscan style.


The black shale that gives our vinery its name Terra Nera (``black earth``) works in partnership with the cooler air caused by the adjacent mixed forest and wind-drawn sea air to create a unique micro-climate for the winegrowing. Over the years, the grapevine grew stronger roots which has created an unprecedented taste experience. This allowed us to perfect our wines, and we now proudly present SCORPUS, AURONERA and ANDRAEMO.

Fulfilment of a lifetime dream ...

More than 25 years have now passed since first starting my search for a suitable piece of land – allowing the cultivation of Terra Nera to occur alongside nature and reach an age of maturity.


This project received important support in the region, with the vision of reviving Terra Nera as a wine-growing region also inspiring the local authorities. Without these efforts, such a large-scale project would be unthinkable in today's world, not only in Tuscany.

TERRA NERA – The Black Earth

The origin of the picturesque wine landscape in the ZDF’s report.
More about the history

TERRA NERA – The Black Earth

The origin of the picturesque wine landscape in the ZDF’s report.
More about the history