I believe that the key to success lies in the ability of us producers to find a balance between land, vine and man.
– Marcel Zanolari –
In the vineyard it is of fundamental importance to accurately research and select compatible vines which can easily adapt to the terrain that we have. In this way, the least fertile terrains can also express their potential, which is discovered in the finished wine.
When considering planting new vines, in order to favour rooting and growth we follow the lunar calendar, as the biodynamic tradition instructs. With existing vines we constantly try to favour and improve growth through pruning in order to extend plant longevity and help to re-establish a good basic balance: there is much potential within these plants. At the origin a vine is not a plant “forced” into a row, but free to grow and expand. We would like to respect this “innate freedom” and increase the space that is available to each vine, in a way that is compatible with production.
The vineyard has currently been modified with the guyot arched cane in order to regulate the production of grapes per vine and facilitate production. In organic farming, this system favours a good airing of the grapes.
In the vineyard we also try to reduce our interventions as much as possible, in order to let the natural vigour run its cycle. This is done by removing the smallest possible amount of leaves around the grapes and trimming only where necessary.
In contrast to other wine-making areas, in Valtellina vineyard management is relatively complex due to the widespread use of terracing, contour farming and micro-fragmentation of land.
Regarding treatments for fungal diseases, we mainly use clays, essential oils, biodynamic preparations and herbal teas. In addition we may use sulphur and, in the worst case, copper.
In 2017 we began experimenting with homeopathic treatments, sure that they will bring us surprising results if integrated gradually.
When monitoring insects that can be damaging to the vines we let nature take its course without intervening with any pesticide products. We eliminate any parasites through manual intervention, with antagonist animals and/or homeopathy. We favour self-regulation by leaving the land covered in grass for long periods of time; we only cut the grass once a year if necessary, so that we can obtain a good balance between vegetation and insects.
The rigorous choice of treatments permits us to maintain a good balance between terrain fertility and plant vigour, ensuring that each vine is naturally resistant.
In order to increase fertility and airing of the land we practice the green manure technique, where we sow a mix of cereals, beans and cruciferous plants according to each terrain’s needs, based on the results obtained from Pfiffer chromatography analysis on samples from various fragments of land.
Before harvesting we conduct a sensory evaluation of grape maturity, in order to establish whether to proceed with a short drying on the plants themselves or in the drying room commonly known as fruttaio.
Thanks to each plant’s acquired natural balance, there is no need to thin out any grapes during the year.
This biodynamic strategy of vineyard intervention can however compromise productivity in difficult years, but we nonetheless prefer to lose part of the harvest rather than damage the resistance created by each plant throughout the years.
In short, we want the vine plants to develop as naturally as possible. With the help of good agricultural practices we aim to maintain all the vigour and vitality of the vineyard by reducing human interventions to a minimum, both on vegetation and with treatments.
In this way the longevity of the vineyard increases, consequently providing a higher and better fragrance and strength of the products obtained.
The choice of every single vineyard has been made based on very specific criteria and on the development they have in geographically similar areas. The vineyards have also been chosen through willfulness, because of the belief that every one of them is “typical” of an area and in Valtellina it acquires a whole new expression and character, letting the true “terroire” of Valtellina shine through.Continua a leggere