Two hectares of our vineyards are on the southwest-facing, beautiful hillsides of Bardolino. The remaining 9 hectares are 4 km away, on a windy plateau in the hills above Affi. Here we grow 9 varieties of grapes, both local and French varieties.
Extension : 8 Hectars
Area: Bardolino & Affi
Varieties : Manzioni Bianco, Rebo Rigotti, Corvina, Oseletta, Cabernet Franc
Our methods in our fieldwork are not aimed at producing high yields. At least a third of our crops are cut out in the summer to allow concentrated and broadened flavours and aromas in the fruit. Our goal is to produce the best possible fruit, since that is the basis of making a good wine.
We work hard to create ideal conditions by:
- Growing cover-crops - to encourage beneficial organisms, to improve soil structure and drainage, and to add nutrients to the soil.
- Preventing compaction of the earth - by using the lightest-weight equipment that can be found, and growing cover-crops in every other row, so that for an entire growing season, only half of the rows will be driven on by our miniature tractor.
- Planting hedges around our new fields - that act as green oases and provide a refuge for beneficial insects (that combat those that attack our plants), birds and other fauna.
- Planting vines that are disease-resistant, not genetically modified, and particularly suited to or even developed for this region.
Our efforts are greatly assisted by our location: our vineyards enjoy an almost constant breeze, which not only protects our plants from fungi but also moderates temperatures.
We do not use pesticides, preferring to encourage the natural balance of insects (e.g. by using hedges and keeping grass longer between the rows). We use herbicides only for the first two years of the plants, switching then to mechanical means to prevent competition with the vines
Every year, we review the newest natural products on the market that could help us to abandon chemicals completely. We are open to trying new things as long as it doesn’t mean endangering the whole crop and are optimistic that it shouldn’t take much longer to become fully organic.
We like to use modern technology to help us make these decisions, such as using weather stations that measure factors like temperature and humidity in order to predict favourable conditions for mildew and oidium. In this way, we can eliminate preventative spraying, and only spray when the risk is highest.
Our concern for the naturalness of our fields is a personal choice. Instead of trying to adhere to a strict dogma, our goal is to satisfy a desire to preserve what we love about our land. When we bought the 10 hectares in Affi, we decided against flattening the rolling landscape completely – a move that would have increased efficiency and made the fields easier to cultivate. Instead, we shifted the earth only in the most unmanageable spots (enough to allow safe use of the tractor), and left the landscape largely as it was. The hills remain ‘as is’ because – in our minds – the vineyard is meant to work together with the existing landscape.
Grapes in Bardolino
We started replanting our vineyards in Bardolino six years ago, and took a number of key steps designed to improve grape quality, including updating from the traditional pergola system to the Guiyot trellis system, increasing the number of plants per hectare, and using new clones and root stocks.
We currently have 5,500 – 6,060 plants per hectare in Bardolino, producing 6,000 – 7,000 kg of grapes per hectare, depending on the variety. We are careful to keep the ratio of leaves to fruit balanced: 1 sq m foliage per 1 kg of fruit.
Grapes in Affi
In Affi, we razed the existing vineyards in the autumn and winter of 2009, and did our first round of planting in 2010, at a density of 5,500 – 7,100 plants.