Resistant varieties and sustainable farming: our enologist Luca fill us in on the present situation.
When a winegrower turns to organic farming, the aim is to ensure that the ecosystem is kept in balance and 100% sustainable farming is attained by making daily choices directed to increased environmental and local community stewardship. Traditional practices and old-school teachings from the pre-systemic era are still followed of course. However present-day growers have little choice but to be in step with the times or even at times to conduct experiments that may lead to more suitable alternatives such as planting vineyards with fungus resistant grape varieties. And, like others, we also firmly believe in this way of conducting farming and agriculture with which we had been experimenting for some years before the actual implementation in 2017.
This is what our winemaker Luca has told us:
Luca, can you tell us about how it all began?
The Cantina Pizzolato PIWI project commenced on an experimental level in 2017 with different approaches: initially we established a vineyard planted with many different varieties permitted by the Veneto Region laws, followed by minor experimental single variety plantings, so that we could carry on with our research and development activities in order to work out what grows best in the Piave region and experiment with some initial microvinifications. At the beginning of 2017 we planted 15,200 new vines covering 4.3 hectares.
Over the past years our small-scale productions turned out to be very interesting and promising from both a vineyard and winemaking perspective. The study activities focused predominantly on the following varieties: Bronner, Sauvignier Gris, Johanniter, Solaris, Prior. In 2018 we planted 5.8 additional hectares with PIWI vines and in 2019 our efforts were directed towards the enhancement of grapes characteristics and the improvement of selection practices and spray applications as we wanted to achieve the best results to suit both the market needs and the technical/technological requirements. In the same year we added an extra 8 hectares of vineyard area. This led us to release the first bottling from PIWI varieties in 2019, our no sulfites added Novello.
How did PIWI experiments progressed at Cantina Pizzolato?
In 2020 we planted another 8.5 hectares with both white and red skinned resistant varieties (for a total vineyard area of about 16 hectares). At the start of 2020 we launched 3 more PIWI wines: a still white, a Col Fondo/Pet Nat semi-sparkler and a NSA red. We then directed our winemaking efforts toward the Prior grape, as we were seeking to enhance its vibrant pink colour as well as the aromatics and the sensory attributes.
What can you tell us about the new frizzante rosé and the winery’s next PIWI projects?
In April this year we started to market our 2020 PIWI semi sparkling rosato of Prior which undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle with the grape’s own native yeasts. The vibrant colour imparted to the wine immediately caught our attention together with the distinctive and fragrant scents of wild strawberry, pomegranate and citrus. Pink grapefruit and orange in particular. At present we are conducting experiments especially with another resistant variety, Souvignier Gris, by means of microvinifications aimed to enhance the varietal character and peculiarities of this grape. Is perhaps a traditional-method PIWI wine in the pipeline…? Stay tuned!