Michele Shah

Italy's oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, has acquired the Poggio Bonelli winery in the Chianti Classico region for a sum of $3m. The winery, which is in Castelnuovo Berardenga, is a 136-acre property with 36 acres of vine. It produces Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Reserva and a red IGT called Tramonto d'Oca. Its total annual production is about 7,500 cases.

The new manager of the winery, Giovanni Bazzini, said the operation fitted into the bank's strategy as it already owns another winery in Castelnuovo called Chigi Saracini.

Carlo Ferrini, one of Tuscany's leading enologists, will assist in the new venture.

Ferrini said: "We plan to expand the vines by another 15 acres to reach 50 acres over the next five years, with a production of 10,000 cases. Beginning with vintage 2000 we will stop the present production and concentrate on one premium wine, which will be produced mainly from Sangiovese."

Ferrini is also currently the enologist at Chigi Saracini. He said of Chigi Saracini: "We have already planted 36 acres of new vines and again over the next five years we plan to bring the total to 50 acres [of new vines]. I plan to revolutionise the production by abolishing everything and starting again by creating two important premium wines."