Earth Day, every day

by Jenny Cuddihy on April 22, 2013

SwallowtailAs people around the world celebrate Earth Day today, I am spending this day thinking about all the things over the past year that have  gone on at Il Palazzone and the decisions we have made in our efforts to nurture and celebrate the land that provides so much for us.

For one thing, we joined 1% For the Planet last year, a network of companies that pledge to donate 1% of their total sales to organizations that help promote sustainability and environmental issues.  This year, the search was on for a charity that was in line with our views and position on farming.  As we do not use chemical pesticides, and the few treatments that we make in the vineyard are base metals allowed by the EEC directive that governs organic farming, it seemed like a great fit to donate 1% of our revenue to Pesticide Action Network – North America  (PAN).  PAN is a wonderful organization that lobbies against and educates about alternatives to chemical pesticides commonly used in farming.  Besides seeking policy change, they act to engage the community about how pesticides are detrimental to health and dispel the myths about pesticides.

One such campaign they are working on is to understand the complexities of “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD), which is essentially when bees disappear and abandon their hives.  Montalcino, being la città del miele after all, takes particular interest in the health of bees and their role as pollinators.  As the UN reported, of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.  A major suspected cause of CCD are neonicotinoids, a toxic pesticide known to be particularly dangerous to honey bees and which nevertheless has taken over the global insecticide market since the 1990s.  Fortunately, Italy has already acted to ban these pesticides, but PAN continues to work and lobby governments around the world to take action to save the bees, who as pollinators, play such an important role in the world’s food supply.

Vine cry

Besides our commitment to 1% For the Planet, Marco has recently sourced vinco, or offshoots of willow trees, which is a traditional method of tying back the vines, used before the invention of plastic ties.  The dual benefit, besides using what the earth has already provided, is that the vinco are much gentler on the vines, as they simply snap when the vines outgrow them.

Completing construction on our new cellar just before the last harvest, we went to great lengths to implement green practices in its design and construction, from sourcing stones from an on-site quarry to adding cisterns to collect and purify rainwater to re-use for washing.   Though it may seem cliche, this Earth Day, I am happy to celebrate the earth year round.Rose




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