A Taste of Tuscany: Unveiling the Wines and Legacy of Bibi Graetz

Rocco Forte Hotels

Take a moment to picture the scene. You’re sipping a glass of ruby-red wine on a sun-drenched terrace, overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany. Below you, the city of Florence stretches out like a tapestry, its iconic Duomo and terracotta rooftops bathed in golden light. A gentle breeze carries the scent of wildflowers and ripe grapes, and the distant hum of the city. 

Here in the hills of Fiesole, hovering above Florence, lies the award-winning Bibi Graetz estate and winery. At its heart sits Villa Aurora, an 18th-century palace that later enjoyed life as a theatre, then a hotel – the wine cellar is in what was once the hotel’s basement bar, complete with a disco ball – and is now home to Tuscany’s radical viticulturist, Bibi Graetz and his family. 

"Making wine is an art form, enabling us to express ourselves and create something unique and soulful.”

Growing up in Florence in an artistic household–Bibi’s grandfather was a prominent Norwegian painter while his father is famed sculptor Gidon Graetz–it seemed only natural that he would follow in their footsteps. And for a time, he did. Initially working with stained glass before being thrust into the world of winemaking, which he considers his most influential medium: “I like to think of wine as the way I express my artistic side. Making wine is an art form, enabling us to express ourselves and create something unique and soulful.” 

That was over 20 years ago, and he hasn’t looked back - “I fell completely in love with it; since that day in 2000, I could not pull myself away from creating wines.” The artistic streak still runs strong however – Bibi himself painted the labels for his first-ever vintages Testamatta and Colore at their launch, while three of his four children painted the designs for Vermentino, Bollamatta, and Chiózzolo. 

An artist by nature, Bibi selected the grounds for his vineyards based on eye, possessing an innate understanding of what would work, and where. They produce just two variations at this estate, Testamatta and Colore, choosing to focus on quality over quantity. 

“As a winemaker, I'm passionate about working with grapes from high-altitude vineyards. We have some of the oldest and most beautiful vineyards in Tuscany, allowing us to create unique and bold wines with strong acidity and transparency. Our vineyards range from 50 to 135 years old and these older vines produce wines with distinct character and complex personalities."

Describing himself as an ‘out-of-the-box winemaker’, Bibi’s goal is to always create courageous wines, grown with minimal intervention, building unique flavour palettes that eschew the mainstream. 

Even their names are unusual. Indeed, Testamatta means ‘crazy head’, and Bibi believes that these curious monikers, as well as his connection to the town, have endeared the locals. “The people feel it’s a unique Tuscan wine, as the Tuscans have a very special character, and the names of our wine reflect this. So we are kind of ‘the’ winery of Florence, and our branding is cool. We are, what I like to call, a bit ‘rough arrogant’.”

To those who live and work there, the winery is the most beautiful place, and they want to keep it that way. They have only recently started offering private tours, once a day, and only to a handful of people at a time. Bibi recounts a recent visit, “It was really fun, we had a nice tour, I showed them the studio, and we just happened to be making some old vintages so they helped us work on the blends. And we sat around, talking, tasting wine, admiring the beautiful views - it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon...”

As the day slips away and the sun begins to dip below the horizon, painting the sky in hues of orange and purple, you take a final sip of wine with your host. Inspired, you know this isn't just a glass of wine, it's a work of art, much like the rolling hills and the very life that unfolds here in the glorious Tuscan countryside.


To arrange your private tour of the Bibi Graetz estate during your stay at Hotel Savoy, please reach out to our concierge team who will be happy to assist.

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