Spraying the vineyards with biodynamic prep 500

biodynamic preparation 500

Last week, Pievalta manager Silvia Loschi posted this Facebook album showing how the vineyards are sprayed with biodynamic “prep” 500.

Her explanation of what the preparation is follows. And you can see an image of the actual preparation below.

Cow horn manure preparation 500

What is it?

It’s fresh cow manure that has been placed in a cow horn and buried in the fall until being unearthed in the spring.

How is it used?

When it is sprayed, it bolsters the life of the soil and the roots of the plants.

It helps the earth to create humus, the colloidal layer of the soil composed of microorganisms that serve as the basis of the soil’s fertility.

When the horn is unearthed, the preparation has been completely transformed into an elastic, aromatic colloidal substance.

It is sprayed in the fall and in the spring after being dissolved in room-temperature water.

90 grams, dissolved into 30 liters of dynamized water, are enough to spray a hectare of vineyard.

It facilitates fertility and the formation of humus in the soil and stimulates plant growth through its effect on the roots of the plants.

Silvia Loschi

biodynamic wine italy

The Grapes that Make Franciacorta Greener: Barone Pizzini featured by Corriere della Sera

sette thumbThe Grapes that Make Franciacorta Greener

By Stefano Rodi

Sette Magazine
Corriere della Sera
December 12, 2014

(translation by our blogmaster)

Click here for the Italian version.

Being a pioneer is never easy.

It means opening a new path. But the part that’s probably the hardest is the fact that you have to do it under the skeptical eyes of everyone around you.

It’s always been like this and this is exactly what happened in Franciacorta when it came to the production of organic wine.

Growing grapes with the use of chemical products, measuring and limiting consumption of water and fuel, farms caring for the biodiversity of the soil, striving to absorb significant amounts of CO2, and acquiring credibility and international accolades were notions that were met by dismissive grins and pity.

“You’ll make rotten wine,” was what Silvano Brescianini heard people say.

In 1991, together with a group of friends and entrepreneurs who came from different lines of work, he took the reins of one of Franciacorta’s historic wineries, Barone Pizzini, an estate with 140 years of history behind it.

In the late 1990s, the new managers set out to switch over to organic production, which already had a few pioneers in Italy but none in Brescia province [where Franciacorta is produced].

But after the initial skepticism, the effort to be a pioneer was repaid by the many who followed suit. The philosophy of making wine that respects natural balance calls not only for care for the environment and the land where the grapes are grown. It also calls for high quality in the wines that are produced.

“Organic farming is the means but quality is the end,” says Brescianini who now serves at the winery’s general manager while Ugo Colombo acts as its president.

Soil that is rich with biodiversity not only guarantees proper management but it also makes for vines that grow more healthy and produce better grapes, the first necessary condition — although not the only one — to make great wines.

The rest is up to the winemakers who work in a new facility that was opened in 2007 and was designed with two key principles in mind: the reduction of impact on the environment and complete transparency for visitors, who can watch each phase of production.

“We thought about how restaurants have open kitchens. At our winery, you can see how wine is made.”

The winery produces roughly 320,000 bottles each year and this year its Franciacorta Rosé DOCG was selected as the best organic wine in the world, a prize awarded in London by one of the most revered wine competitions, the International Wine Challenge.

It’s always better to drink well and in moderation then to have poor quality wine on the table.

“It’s also a question of culture and even nutritional education,” notes Brescianini.

“We do everything we can to reduce the cost of food but then we eat poorly without knowing what we’re eating. The level of information on the ingredients and the traceability of the products is very low. As a country, it’s in our interest to reverse this tendency and aim for quality in the food we eat.”

And clearly in the wine we drink as well.

Making the “biodynamic preps” at Pievalta

bio preps 502 507

Above: ground flowers, herbs, and bark used to make biodynamic preps 502-507.

As biodynamic farming practices have become more and more prevalent in recent years, most wine trade observers are aware of the famous “biodynamic prep 500″: the “cornerstone of biodynamic farming… made in the fall by inserting cow manure into cow horns, burying those horns for 6 months, then digging them up and removing the contents.”

But there are actually eight biodynamic preps that are crafted and applied throughout the course of the year.

A few weeks ago, Pievalta general manager Silvia Loschi posted this collection of photos documenting the preparation of biodynamic preps 502-507 (it’s a Facebook album that can be viewed by anyone).

You can read the official “recipes” in English on the Demeter USA website here.

But I also found this wonderful shorthand version on the website of organic herb retailer Oregon’s Wild Harvest (very concise and well written).

I also really liked the descriptions I found on the Biodynamic Association of India website.

A new accolades page for Barone Pizzini-Pievalta

gambero rosso special prize 2015

The 2014 awards season has been very good to Barone Pizzini and Pievalta.

From Wine Advocate to Slow Wine and Gambero Rosso, just to mention a few, the wines and winemakers have come away this year with top ratings, 90+ scores, and high praise.

So we decided to create an aggregate of all of the accolades that have appeared since we first launched this blog two years ago.

Check it out here.

Thanks to everyone for being here and thanks for your support on social media over the last two years!

High marks from @KerinOKeefe @WineEnthusiast

Leading wine writer Kerin O’Keefe’s scores and tasting notes from the December 2014 issue of Wine Enthusiast:

Barone Pizzini 2008 Bagnadore Riserva Non Dosato
93 points

A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Nero and made without dosage, this opens with a delicate but alluring fragrance of white flower, citrus, stone fruit and pastry notes. The smooth, silky palate delivers lemon zest, ripe red apple, candied ginger and a yeasty note of baked bread alongside a soft, persistent mousse.

Barone Pizzini 2010 Rosé
92 points

Made with organically grown Pinot Nero, this opens with a fragrance of perfumed red berry and cream-filled pastry. The elegant palate offers creamy strawberry, wild raspberry and spice alongside bright acidity and a soft mousse.

Barone Pizzini 2010 Nature
92 points

Expressive aromas of white flower, acacia, citrus and pear float from the glass of this elegant and organic sparkling wine. The lively palate delivers mature yellow apple, lemon zest, bread crust and toasted almond alongside a silky mousse and vibrant acidity.

Barone Pizzini 2009 Nature
92 points

Made from organically grown grapes, this impressive sparkler is made with no sugar or liqueur added. It has an expressive fragrance of white flowers and stone fruit, while the palate offers apple, citrus and roasted almond notes along with hints of spice. It’s a perfect apéritif but will also pair beauitfully with shellfish.

barone pizzini franciacorta nature best