Viticulture and vineyard management are in the capable hands of Luca Sandrone, the younger brother of Luciano, who is a university-trained oenologist in his own right. Luca is responsible for the beautifully ripe and healthy fruit that is the hallmark of this winery. His record speaks for itself: even in difficult vintages like 1995, 2002 and 2003, successful wines were made that have shown themselves, a few years after release, to be delicious, age-worthy and deserving of the Sandrone label. Even in 2002, an unmitigated disaster in the western parts of the zone (almost 100% of the crop was lost to hail on September 6; fruit in La Morra, Barolo and Novello was utterly destroyed), Luca was able to salvage fruit in the eastern part of the zone, from the Cerreta and Conterni cru in Monforte d’Alba. The resulting Le Vigne bottling shows the true loss of 2002 – while not an exceptional vintage, it would have made wines of great charm and harmony that would drink well in the medium-term, not unlike 1993 or 1995.
Luca is in the vines every day during the growing season: he jokes that the only time he can take vacation is when the vines are completely dormant – so skiing is his great outlet. (During the growing season, however, he can be found on his bicycle almost everyday during the lunch break.) He is responsible for pruning and training, fertilization (only composted manure is used every 4-6 years), green harvest, spraying, canopy management and harvest.
Luciano and Luca work together brilliantly – though they are 20 years apart in age, they share the bond of being brothers, and each understands implicitly the needs of the winery and how to help each other succeed.