Agricultural environment - Viticulture

From soil to wine – an Abstract for RAW WINE NY 2016

1 November 2016
Soil is a complex living organism, not well known and dynamic. We are all subordinated to it, that means that we depend on a thin layer of the Earth and on the water
that rains on it.
The grape and then the wine are both strictly dominated by the soil, responsible of the originality and the great value of the wine (we clearly refer to quality wine that is not a price-based commodity).
The ability to combine suitable soil with most appropriate grape variety is crucial and requires expertise and experience. The environments for achieving remarkable and durable wine are the real proof of its feasibility;  if the appropriate conditions in the soil are met, the result will be like in a library, where you can choose from a series of historical vintages: while certainly some will be lacking, as a whole a defined period is like an “orchestra” playing a symphony with infinite nuances.
Soil texture, mineral properties and organic matter are the main factors affecting the possibility to be able to achieve great quality in wine;  the biological soil quality (BSQ) evaluation is an important criteria that also speaks about its sustainability.
If climatic, environmental and varietal factors are taken into consideration, the confrontation with the vine pathogens is a lot simpler and manageable. Grape ripeness is a real critical factor to achieve: we have variability in the vineyard, between plants and even in the bunch. When speaking about ripeness we must also include stem and leaves. The best conditions for harvest include temperature fluctuations and the presence of “autumn-like” season.
Modern management is often more a requirement than a rational choice causing early decline of the vineplants, therefore responsible of shorter duration of the vineyard that can be exhausted in 20-25 years. Thus we should rethink about the plant’s wellbeing and its duration, with advantages in wine quality, in beauty, culture and heritage.
Beauty and handcraft are fundamental and economic values in wine production. The true wine artisan is a custodian of cultural values, promoter of the beauty of landscapes and harmony of wellbeing, a creator of synergies with other economic sectors to pursue all-around value, not just in wine; and to establish a story of wine excellence.
The artisan wine producer is the manager of his project, full of complexities, where he must have the total mastery of his grape production. This does not mean however his total personal involvement in all vine and wine activities.
Historically, great and durable wines have been mainly obtained from prepared and educated people, and the future of organic wines as well is closely related to culture and the need of recovering resources. The path of artisan ‘natural wine’  is a strong, costly and risky decision and commitment to it must be conducted with great honesty and professionalism.
We must be certain that healthy food and wine remain the best friends of our health.


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