Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability in the Wine.

It all started with anthroposophy and Rudolph Steiner.

Anthroposophy is a philosophical vision of life that leads the  spiritual in man towards the spiritual in the universe.  It is not easy to imagine how this philosophy would relate to the world of wine.  But indeed, it does !

In 1924,  philosopher Rudolf Steiner developed the theory of the “two formative forces” that, taken together, cooperate with each other to balance the effects of the soil, water, heat and light of the sun, animal life and plant life.

The “terrestrial strength” and the “cosmic force”.
In the first, you can find the phenomena of growth and production of substances, and in the second, the phenomena of fertilization and maturation.

The farmers that closely followed Steiner’s philosophy began to breed plants with specific natural ingredients and fertilizers determined by him, completely excluding the use of chemical fertilizers. They were able to achieve remarkable and amazing results.

Even today, the majority of producers do not completely exclude the use of chemicals for growing grapes, especially  in some  areas of the planet where the balance of eco-system were completely devastated from the unconscionable greed of man. For the past 50 years, too much damage has been inflicted on the land and the environment in general that it is too much to ask of nature for a natural spontaneous resumption to a harmonious balance of life.  The plant and animal kingdoms have altered too greatly.

Today, it is no longer possible to accept  these invasive and destructive assaults  on the land  without having to come to terms with the negative impact on the survival of  the authenticity and quality of  our agricultural products. The good news, however, is that in many regions of our globe,  many farmers have had a profound rethinking about the techniques of vine cultivation. With much success, they are practicing organic farming that is biodynamic and environmentally friendly based on the principles set forth by Steiner or following methods that have always been part of the tradition and culture of the region, but with a modern twist.

Some days ago, Marco Carpinneti  told me about his idea to go back to using the horse and plow for cultivation of part of his vineyard. No more use of tractors or other machinery.
“The vineyard should not breathe combustion residues. I think that wine has to be the expression only of manual labor and the love of expression of the winemaker.”  His wines, the result of organic farming and nearly thirty years of experience, have achieved levels of excellence; both for whites and for reds, not to mention the newly born sparkling Bellone which is made with the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle.

He practices the exclusive cultivation of native vines over an area of fifty-two hectares: Bellone, Montepulciano, Arciprete white, Greco Moro, Malvasia, Cesanese, and Nero Buono. The happiness of the achievements can be perceived by the smile of Marco, never tamed of the desire to discover new ways to convince everyone he meets that the only way to recover the quality of wine is the traditional and biological cultivation of the vine and respect of the territory.

Last April, during the Vinitaly 2013, I met Filippo Ferrari, an agronomist and enologist, who along with Cristian Giorni, gave rise to the “current” ViniEtici.  He lays out three basic principles for the creation of the so-called ethical products: keep the land fertile,  keep the plants in good health, improve the quality of the products. He says that “nature provides directly the natural elements in order to grow the plant, without the use of products derived from chemical synthesis.” He talks of herbal teas, mineral compounds, and manure, to restore soil fertility.

Organic is also the absence sulfites. Intergrapes is a brand that some affiliate wineries use to witness and ensure the overall integrity of the wine produced in the total absence of added sulfites. The company has developed a compound extracted from the seeds contained in the grape that acts as an anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial preservative for wine. It is added in controlled dose after malolactic fermentation and bottling process. It is a natural compound that replaces the sulfur and should not alter the secondary aromas, typical of the first stage of fermentation and aging of wine.

The Cellar Nativ of Paternopoli (AV) is one of fourteen cellars of Intergrapes partners. The ten wines all come from indigenous grapes (Aglianico, Fiano di Avellino, Falanghina, Greco di Tufo). It is a young company led by Mario Ercolino, winemaker, and his wife Ronerta Pirone.
Their wines express a strong and unequivocal link with the territory and with the tradition and history that over time has crossed the hills of Irpinia; the founding concept of the philosophy of viticulture undertaken by Nativ. Characterized by volcanic soil, strongly mineral, limestone and tuff.
The position of the vineyards, located at an altitude between 450 to 550 meters (above sea level), near the Piacentini mountains, gives the wine extreme temperature changes that have a positive impact on the fragrance and  the intensity of taste and smell,. This  adds to the strength of the wine character, important presence of tannins and richness of extract. White wines  are strongly mineral with fruity and floral notes, typical of the strain of origin. Red wines are loaded with polyphenols, very concentrated and creamy, rich in glycerin and with intense scents of ripe red fruit and minerals. Those passed in the wood enjoy the presence of spices, ether perfumes and greater softness of the sugar alcohols.

It is too early to express judgment on the longevity of these products , even if the conditions portend an interesting result. The tone of the scents and tactile sensations in the medium term widely holds  up  in comparison  to  the wines  treated with sulfur dioxides instead. I intend to follow the evolution of the Nativ wines over the next few years, and I invite you to do the same in order to test this new antioxidant and natural technique  that keeps the product intact and pleasantly biological.