Contadi Castaldi opened in Franciacorta in 1987, an offshoot of the Terra Moretti group, headed by founder Vittorio Moretti, who realized that this area offers the ideal conditions for producing great sparkling wine. Following the success of Bellavista, the group conducted intensive research on the distinctive characteristics of Franciacorta, introducing innovations that were to make Contadi Castaldi a leader in the production of Satèn, a particular type of wine from Franciacorta. Founded ten years after Bellavista, Contadi Castaldi has greatly differentiated its production of sparkling wines, focusing on innovation and a younger target market. This inspired the winery to produce other wines featuring freshness, elegance and distinctive local qualities. The company currently produces about 750,000 bottles of wine a year, made from prized grapes gathered from over 100 hectares of vineyards, located in areas that once corresponded to the counties (contadi) of Franciacorta, which were controlled by the local lord, the steward (castaldo). Contadi Castaldi is run along entirely different lines from the other wineries in Franciacorta. It has multi-year agreements with forty or so local vine-growers, who are supervised by a team of technical experts, from the planting of the vine to the hand harvesting of the grapes. The main advantage of this is being able to make best use of the micro climates, giving base wines different features that provide the cuvées with more complexity. These are superb wines that offer remarkable value in the world of sparkling Franciacorta.