Here’s the most recent coverage of Barone Pizzini by the Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s leading daily newspapers (translation by the Barone Pizzini blog).
By Massimiliano Del Barba.
June 18, 2015.
Surprise! Good wine comes from healthy soil. It may seem obvious but in fact, it’s not.
Good wine comes from healthy soil when the soil isn’t stressed by the use of synthetic substances and when it’s rich in biodiversity.
Demand Sets the Pace
Everyone knows that the market moves everything. Recently, commercial interest in organic products is helping to make consumers more aware of quality at the dinner table. But it’s also true that behind the curtains of slogans like live healthy, live happy, there are endless fields where question marks grow. Here’s the bottom line: What happens when in the subsoil when the earth is farmed using organic practices?
Organic Pioneers in the Vineyard
Franciacorta winery Barone Pizzini decided that it would try to answer that question. This producer of classic method wines began its conversion from conventional farming to organic practices many years ago. Indeed, it’s one of the pioneers in the field and the first winery in Franciacorta to produce an organically certified wine.
“Together with the Department of Farming Sciences at the University of Milan, the Mach Foundation, and the Sata farm sciences studio,” says Barone Pizzini CEO Silvano Brescianini, “we have created an objective and, more importantly, open comparison with other producers here. It’s based on an investigative model that gauges the impact of organic farming on the soil in terms of sustainability and vitality of the soil. And the result was good news: The plants reflect the balance of the soil and this means that the better the quality of the soil, the better the quality of the product.”
The “Earth Worm” Factor
In the light of their findings, the transition to organic farming seems to be a no-brainer.
“We created a biodiversity index fro our company,” explains Pierluigi Donna, the lead vineyard manager for the study, “by analyzing the physical and structural state of the soil with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s ‘Visual Soil Assessment’ protocol. And we discovered that organically farmed soil has a much larger population of earth worms than soil treated with synthetic substances” (editor’s note: earth worms, like fireflies, are an indicator of soil health). “We’re talking about 1.5 million earth worms per hectare.”
The Future Challenge
What’s the next step?
“It’s cultural,” says Brescianini. “Organic farming is just part of a much broader line of reasoning that questions the consumption of resources — first and foremost, water — in farming today. But it’s also an important first step toward preserving biodiversity and passing it down, together with healthy and high-quality products, to future generations.”