“Il Vino si Fa in Vigna”
Every week our agronomist, Massimo Achilli, visits the vineyard in order to assess the particular conditions at Il Palazzone. He analyses factors that influence grape yield and quality (soil, topography, microclimate, vine health, etc.) and helps us to make the appropriate choices in the vineyards. Our vineyards vary so much in terms of terroir that we benefit from an individual approach. This way of working ensures that we never do unnecessary treatments.
No chemical pesticides
The few treatments that we make in the vineyard are base metals that are allowed by the EEC directive 2092/91 that governs organic farming. We do not use sophisticated chemical compounds that are damaging to the environment and the ecosystem.
By hand at any cost
Whenever possible we effect manual operations rather than anti-fungal treatments. For example we will choose to strip away vine-leaves by hand in order to give the bunches as much air as possible after rain in order to avoid grey mould rather than spraying the vines with an anti-botrytis treatment.
Opting for manual work rather than tractor intervention is always more expensive. However, “il vino si fa in vigna” – wine is principally made in the vineyard, not the cellar – and these results of these choices are evident in the final quality of our wines.
We are trying to reacquire the balance that is lost through the use of chemicals by avoiding them as much as possible and trying to replenish the soil and the ecosystem. You will see flowers, butterflies, ladybirds and earthworms in our vineyard!
Cover crops : green manure
We have opted for organic fertiliser in the vineyards. Rather than using chemical fertilizers which pollute streams and groundwater, we plant cover crops – nitrogen rich leguminous plants such as lupins and fava beans – in alternate rows. These are then ploughed into the earth, enriching and fertilising the soil. This has the many advantages: it reduces erosion, improves water absorption and increases soil organic matter which enhances soil structure. It can also lead to increased soil carbon sequestration which has been promoted as a mitigation strategy to help offset the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.