Above: The logo of the Vini di Vignaioli (Grape Grower Wines) fair gets straight to the point. Human + Grape Bunch = Wine.
Week before last, the Pievalta winery poured its wines at the Vini di Vignaioli fair held outside of Parma.
Vini di Vignaioli means “grape grower wines” and the concept behind the event is that presenters must be organic or biodynamic grape growers who don’t use chemicals in the vineyards or in the wine cellar, including cultured yeasts.
Unlike Italy’s other “natural wine” fairs, the tasting is not held during the same period as Vinitaly (the leading wine trade fair in Italy), when similar events — Vini Veri and Vinnatur — compete with each other for attendance.
In many ways, it’s a unique (and more low-key) fair that tries to embrace the ethos of the grape grower as farmer and lover of the land.
Pievalta has biodynamic certification but certification is not required for participation in the fair (see below).
The admission policy is based on the charter of the Vins Naturels association in France (with whom the fair is affiliated).
The charter, as translated by the association, follows.
A charter defining what makes a wine “natural.”
Preamble: A winemaker member of the Association of Natural Winemakers does what he says and says what he does. He is a farmer, filled with passion for his terroir and his craft, and this philosophy of farming shows through in his daily life.
a) Viticultural practices
Organic certification is desired.
In its absence, the applicant agrees in writing to abide by the rules of organic production (EC regulation 834/2007 as amended).
b) Winemaking practices:
A natural wine is one where the grapes were grown with minimal intervention and manipulation, and must follow the following rules:
– Manual harvesting only;
– It is forbidden to add cultured yeast to the grape must or the wine;
– Nothing may be added to the wine, except SO2 (sulfites) within the following maximums of sulfites allowed:
– 30 mg/l for sparkling and red wines,
– 40 mg/l for dry white wines,
– 80 mg/l for white wines with residual sugar > 5 g/l ;
– Minimal manipulations of the finished product.
Wines that do not meet the above listed criteria may not use the Association’s name in communication or marketing of any kind.
There is no internal surveillance done to ensure these conditions: this is only a charter of good conduct, which is signed by all winemaker members without exception, and based solely on trust.