Organic Wine Project
We produce what we like with hard work and dedication because we are the first consumers of our wines. Having joined GiottoConsulting’s research group “Organic Wine Project” was the spontaneous evolution of our respect for the environment.
We are conscious that each of us, within its own limit, can give its active contribution to the battle against pollution for a cleaner tomorrow starting from today. In our vineyards we use only methods that guarantee full respect of the territory and our wines are only natural ones. For us organic viticulture means love and respect for nature.
We chose to put people’s and environment’s health in first place, to take advantage of the natural fertility of the soil helping it with very limited interventions and never using industrial, synthetic and genetically modified pesticides and products.
Our oasis in the Piave region and the difficult organic farming methods certainly demand a greater commitment, both intellectual and operative, but we work in an environment that boasts balance and health. These are precious features that pass on to organic products and to our organic wines: genuine and easier to digest.
Furthermore, researchers from the University of Davis in California show that organically grown foods contain higher amounts of protein, polyphenols and antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids, that are considered the most ardent enemies of cellular aging.
The choice of materials also winks at ecology: screw caps in aluminium, labels printed with natural ink and a particularly light glass bottle complete a stylish and entirely recyclable packaging. Respect for the environment not only in the production and processing of the grapes but also in the packaging of the finished product.
The screw caps we use are made entirely of aluminium, a precious mineral that can be 100% recycled again and again. The reuse saves the high energy consumption necessary for the extraction and processing of the “new” material in addition to the mineral itself!
Even the decision to reduce the weight of the bottle comes from the need to be at the forefront in protecting the environment without forgetting the need of a safe packaging. Sustainability is the key word that has guided us in this choice.
Being environmentally conscious makes us committed to minimize the emission of CO2 into the environment so we can offer you organic wines from the birth of the grapes to the glass.
The meaning of organic production
In our organic vineyards we aim to preserve both plant and animal biodiversity. We try to increase and encourage it in a natural way so that the vine can grow and mature in a land full of life.
Organic Farming is the production system that aims to provide consumers with natural products, without chemicals and with a high "social-ethical value", and at the same time tries to minimize the environmental impact of the activity itself, by ensuring that every piece of land is used in accordance with its nature and in an environmentally-sustainable way.
The strategic and critical factors of success in organic viticulture all revolve around the concepts of wellness and nature, in fact, organic agriculture doesn’t use chemicals, it maintains and improves the soil respecting all forms of life and useful organisms, it protects the environment and what is most important, it safeguards consumers’ and operators’ health.
Even soil fertilization is made in a natural way by seeding green manures; organic farming is responsible for the rediscovery of an ancient technique that is particularly important in soil tillage: green manure, a healthy and efficacious method to provide nutrition for soil organisms, thus protecting and enhancing the soil’s biological activity.
The technique is to sow seeds of herbaceous species, such as legumes, grasses and cruciferae, not to collect them but turned into the soil in an undecomposed, green tissue stage. The benefits of using green manure in organic farming are very significant: the root mass of a green manure crop loosens and aerates the soil and improves drainage.
Green manure between the rows of the vines helps to control weeds while they absorb micro-nutrients and give them back to the vines in an easily digestible form. When green manures are turned into the soil and decompose, they provide nutrition for soil organisms and enhance the growth and activity of humus.
Humus is, in fact, the most active part of the organic matter content of the soil; it interacts with minerals and influences the chemical and physical properties of the soil: this is fertility.
The working steps are two:
1. Plowing in alternate rows in the vineyard: in the plowed soil we sow grass seeds; in springtime they are mowed and buried to enrich the soil and its microorganisms.
2. Sowing of herbaceous species between the rows of the vines in spring - between the rows of our vine, we grow polyphytic herbaceous species that can enhance biodiversity permitting many species of insects and microorganisms to live, which in turn prevent vine pest spreading. These plants also encourage the presence of “good bacteria” that help the vines absorb more nutrients from the soil, enrich themselves of minerals, develop disease resistance and improve their production capacity.
In organic farming it is fundamental to take care of the vines. The battle against pests starts with prevention because this is the only way to have healthy vines without using chemical products:
1. Pruning of the sprouts: is the removal of the sprouts that grow at the base of the vine, close to the roots. In our vineyards we do this manually because it is the only way to guarantee a complete and accurate job.
2. Pruning of the non-fruit-bearing tendrils: In many cases, during this operation, fertile shoots are also removed (such as double ones or those in excess). The removal is easier when the sprouts are tender (20-30cm). This operation is performed entirely by hand. The elimination of sterile shoots helps leaf microclimate.
3. Thinning of flowers and grapes - allows the control of the production and encourages the best vegetative-productive balance.
4. Leaf - stripping – helps to prevent vine pest attacks (especially from oidium and botrytis), allows to reduce the number of treatments required and improves solar radiation of the grapes.
5. Green pruning – is performed during the veraison period and it is used to improve the health of the vines and to prevent the development of some pathogens that are difficult to control in organic farming.
The phyto-sanitary protection and defence involves the use of substances such as sulphur and copper, and some natural products (plant extracts, etc..) only in simple compositions and in limited quantity.
In order to treat the plants only when it is really necessary, we adopted a valid monitoring system of the vines, the IMT200: a weather station from Pessl Instruments GmbH. This technological instrument is able to make weather forecasts, monitor rainfall, measure the amount of moisture in the ecosystem and in the leaves thanks to a sophisticated sensor. It also has a forecasting model specific for vines that detects the presence of downy mildew, powdery mildew or botrytis. This helps us to prevent pest attacks and to plan the timing of every action. Treatments with copper will be done only if necessary and not periodically as once. Also the IMT200 winks at ecology and is in line with our organic philosophy, in fact it is powered by a solar panel and works independently thanks to renewable energy.
In organic farming all operations are natural and non-invasive and are made to improve the well-being of the vine. The plant absorbs more nutrients and minerals from the soil and develops major protection from diseases and enhances its production capacity and the grapes have thicker and more resistant skin.
Organic farming fruits, which we interpret with love and passion, offer us natural, organic unique and stylish wines.
The meaning of biodynamic production
Biodynamic is a philosophy of thought and style that follows the ideas of the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy who in the early twentieth century formulated the principles on which the biodynamic agriculture is based. The vision of the earth as part of the universe, and therefore depending on its laws and cosmic influences, was the key to interpreting the biodynamic food production, including, of course, wine.
Biodynamic is a way of life, of observing and working the land, it means helping nature to get a more fertile soil day by day by producing food full of "life" and quality, that nourish man and keep him healthy.
The starting point is observation: you need to have deep knowledge of the vineyard in which you're applying biodynamics and carefully consider the consequences of each action. There is no routine procedure to follow, you can only help and stimulate the health of the vine thanks to the knowledge of the life processes that take place in the vineyard.
As in organic farming, even in biodynamics no chemicals or GMO are used. Biodynamics follows the guidelines of composting and lunar phases.
In biodynamic farming we find some of the processing techniques of organic farming such as green manure, control of the leaves, control of the yield and the selection of buds. To enhance soil fertility there are homeopathic remedies and herbal compounds, to improve the following processes:
1. Fertilization: by using cow horn manure, known also as Preparation 500, at the time of mowing and sometimes even in the seeding period. The preparation of cow horn manure starts in spring on polyphitic pastures cultivated with the standards of biodynamic agriculture. Cattle graze on these meadows and will produce the raw material required for cow horn manure, which is basically fermented cow dung. Preparation 500 is made by filling a cow's horn, not bull horn, with cow dung, and burying it very carefully in the soil during the cooler months (usually from November to February). During the cooler months life breathes into the soil and the soil has the tendency to be full of growth energies, which energies are absorbed into the dung through the receptive nature of the horn. In springtime, the horns are dug up and immediately you can see that the dung has turned into dark humus and is sweet smelling: the preparation is finally ready to be sprayed on the soil to stimulate root growth.
2. For a more efficient photosynthesis: by using “horn silica” or Preparation 501, to be sprayed on the leaves before flowering time. Steiner suggests to use ground quartz crystals which contain 98% of silica but sand and feldspars can also be used as a second choice. The process begins during springtime with the milling of the crystals. This is a really delicate stage and the aim is to obtain a very high degree of purity and fineness. Silica is not soluble in water but thanks to a really fine grind you can solve the problem and obtain a stable suspension of silica in water. As in the preparation the “cow horn manure”, the best cow horns must be chosen, excluding bull horns, and filled with the silica mixed in a bit of water. The horns should be buried in spring and dug up in autumn when the mixture is ready. In the springtime, when photosynthesis starts, the “horn silica” should be sprayed in the vineyards; the mixture should not drip on the leaves but it should fix to the atmosphere. The light is refracted through the crystals present in the sprayed droplets and broken down into different chromatic bands. This treatment is usually done early in the morning when the sunlight is horizontal and there is a higher refractive index.
Cow horn manure and cow horn silica are complementary in biodynamic viticulture. The vines are stimulated by the soil thanks to the humus and by the atmosphere thanks to the refraction of light through the crystals of silica. The integration of the two treatments is fundamental; it is their combination that determines an harmonious development of the vines.
In biodynamic farming, all preparations are used in small amounts and are distributed after being activated in a certain way and for a given time.
Even in biodynamic farming the plant health defence involves the use of substances such as sulphur and copper in their simpler composition and in limited quantity as in organic farming.
Certification: Suolo e Salute
Our organic grapes are certified by Suolo e Salute, www.suoloesalute.it, (which means “Soil and Health”) an association founded in Turin (Italy) in 1969, authorized by our Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry following the European rules, CE 834/07.
"Suolo e Salute” was the first in Italy to promote organic farming as an alternative to conventional agriculture. After research and experimentation, they showed that the application of the organic-mineral method, leads to food products with a higher nutritional value, produced in accordance with the laws of nature. Control in organics is a legal obligation and aims to ensure that companies comply with the required standards and suppress eventual illegal behaviours.
In organic viticulture, only grapes are certified, not organic wines, because at the moment there aren’t regulated practices to be followed in winemaking and bottling of organic products.
It is up to us producers, therefore, not to cancel all the hard work done in the vineyard to obtain and maintain the specific organic grapes during their processing into organic wine.
The control of the entire production guarantees that we can personally trace every single bottle so that we can bring each of our wines back to its vine of origin.
Observe, listen and encourage nature and its rhythm is not obvious but sometimes a bit of imagination makes our work unique: a bio-creative and natural approach to the vine, to man, to us where every element, even the smallest, is an essential part of nature expressed in our organic wines.