An interview with BP vineyard manager Pierluigi Donna

Barone Pizzini vineyard manager Pierluigi Donna was born and raised in the heart of Franciacorta and has worked with the winery group since 1998. He recently took time out from his work in the vineyards to chat (electronically) with blogmaster Jeremy Parzen.

Jeremy Parzen (JP): Barone Pizzini is not a biodynamic estate. But you often bring up biodynamics when you talk about your approach to farming.

Pierluigi Donna (PD): Biodynamics proved to be the right choice for its Verdicchio at the Barone Pizzini group’s Pievalta estate in the Marches.

The Franciacorta team is has also embraced the biodynamic method as a shared foundation. And it’s also very active in new research projects and study of all forms of intelligent vineyard management. So the door is open and the experiments and studies continue.

So it adopts certain elements of biodnyamic philosophy but it integrates them with an intuitive approach, evaluating them without adhering to strict dogma.

That’s why were talking about biodynamics here: there are certain aspects that are core to the movement but they’re not exclusive to this philosophy. They can also be interpreted and applied judiciously within the context of more conventional approaches to grape growing.

JP: What makes grapegrowing in Franciacorta different from other wine-producing regions?

PD: One of the things that sets Franciacorta apart is the general level of preparation and the energy of the technicians and wineries. There is a lot of dialog and a healthy exchange of ideas between Franciacorta winemakers and this has led to growth in the Franciacorta wine culture.

This makes the winemakers take a moment to stop and reflect before they carry out any work in the vineyards. And the result is respectful viticulture and a general will to contain the impact on the region while maintaining high levels of quality.

JP: What’s your top growing site for Barone Pizzini?

PD: That’s like asking a father which is his favorite son. What I can tell you which site “graduated” this year.

The Roccolo vineyard “graduated” with honors this year as the Barone Pizzini Franciacorta Nature… with a little help from his brothers and sisters, of course!


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