This month we are hard at work in the olive groves, digging up the soil in a perfect circle around the base of each tree and fertilising each plant. Olive tree roots are a mirror image of the chioma or branch structure so the upturned soil at the base of each plant matches the furthest extent of the leaves. The Italian word is much more poetic, since it is also used to describe a lion’s mane or a full head of hair. We are also pruning each tree as we go along, burning the branches in great crackling pyres. 2014 was abysmal for oil and unprecedented in its combination of horrors (insects, disease, hail, excessive rain and bacteria) and as a result we didn’t produce a single bottle here at Il Palazzone. Not even the most elderly of Montalcino residents can remember anything like it. We are setting the foundations for a great 2015 harvest – something we are all anticipating eagerly – and the groves are looking gorgeous.