The following article, “In Franciacorta si viaggia a tutto «bio»” (“In Franciacorta, everyone is going ‘organic'”), appeared last month in the Italian national daily Corriere della Sera (translation by our blogmaster)…
Understanding biodiversity in viticulture has become an essential element not just for improving the environment where grapes are grown but also for producing wines that can rise up to meet the increasingly diversified demands of the market.
Barone Pizzini is a good example. Founded in 1870, it is one of the oldest wineries in Franciacorta and it was the first to convert its entire production to organic farming in the area surrounding Lake Iseo.
“Organic framing isn’t just a fad,” says Silvano Brescianini, CEO of the Brescia province winery. “The presence of worms in the soil is an indicator of the organic richness and health of the soil. In a study that we conducted with the Milan university agriculture department, we found that there are more than one million worms per hectare in our soil.”
The worms help to enrich biodiversity because they create ecosystems that allow grape growers to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers and herbicides significantly.
“We manage our vineyards using sustainability criteria,” says Brescianini, “by utilizing farming practices that respect the environment. We rely on organic substances and natural elements like sulfur and copper to battle parasites. All of this serves to increase the quality of the final product.”
Even the architecture of this winery — which grosses 4.5 million Euros and produces 300,000 bottles every year from 50 hectares of vineyards, with 15 percent being exported — was conceived to ensure minimal environmental impact and energy consumption, thanks in part to solar panels.
According to Vinitaly, the number of sustainable-friendly wineries is growing across Italy. Today, there are 500 of them — a third of Italy’s entire wine production, valued at 3.1 billion Euros. Most of these are wineries that are seeking to be innovative given that they pay particular attention to resource management.
Corriere della Sera
March 23, 2015