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Interviews with Two Italian Organic Winemakers

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The recent International Organic Wine Expo - celebrated the emergence of more and more winemakers dedicating themselves not only to their own but to the well being of humanity by producing organic wines from grapes grown organically without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Over the next period of time, I shall be writing about a number of these people, each one manifesting passion for the work he is involved in. In Italy, the word Biologica is used instead of organic but in my stories I will use the word organic.


The Fasoli Gino Vineyard

Although I had interviewed Natolino Gino on his previous visit, it was very tempting for me to ask pertinent questions regarding his ongoing direction in the Organic Wine business. He and his son's faces lit up and, once again, between the English and Italian languages, we came up with the following:

Natalino informed me that Italy was the first country to use more hectares for the cultivation of organic wines. Besides the growing of organic grapes, many vegetables are being grown without pesticides and chemicals in totally organic soil.

Grapes are harvested by hand and picked early in the morning. After a few hours the grapes arrive at the winery in cases. The grape skin and juice are divided from the stems and soft pressed at a low temperature. The best part of the juice is then placed in steel tanks at a temperature of about 5 degrees centigrade. The juice is filtered before fermentation and, at this point, the juice is clear and clean. The process is very important for both the perfume and taste of the wine. Fermentation starts with the help of wine from a previous selected year, first in a small tank and then, after 20 days, the juice is placed in a big tank where it ferments for 20 to 25 days at a temperature of 15 - 17 degrees centigrade. Each day sample tastings are carried out.

At the end of fermentation the herb, Bentonite, is added to clean the wine of impurities. After one month, the wine is filtered again, this time through paper (cellulose). Now the wine is perfectly clean but before bottling, it is put in a special tank at a temperature of about 5 degrees centigrade below 0 for about 10 to 12 days. This operation is called Tartaric Stabilization so the natural acids in the wine become solidified and are no longer in the wine itself.

The organic wine is filtered once more and given a final taste test prior to bottling.

Weather has a big influence on the grapes; if conditions are good, the quality is the same. Rain can damage the grapes. Now many of the producers around the Fasoli Gino estate are growing according to organic standards and their grapes can be used to make both the new and the classic Wines.

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From the Organic Authority Files

The new harvest brings forth three new organic wines for the Fasoli Gino vineyard, it is a good harvest like 2000 and the quality is very similar. The first is a Chardonnay named Ca'dell'Ara, the second Pieve Vecchia Soave Superiore and lastly from the Garganega grape, a fine Liber Garganega Rosso.

AZ.AGR. Fasoli Gino 37030 S. Zeno di Colognola ai Volli Verona, Italy

La Cappuccina Organics and The Tessari Family

The name of this wine estate is derived from a small 15th century private chapel where the Capucin monks of the Franciscan order are thought to have lived. Although the Tessari family founded the estate over a century ago, it is only since 1985 that they changed back to natural, organic methodology: no chemical fertilizers, and no toxic or chemical pesticides. It was at that time that a bad frost killed part of the vine and so, after much consideration, the family decided to return to the traditional ways. In actuality, natural organic means had been used up to the 1950's when so many growers turned to using chemicals. Many of them were rather poor and the large bribes offered by the chemical companies seemed most desirable.

The Tessari family, now in its third generation, is dedicated to cultivating the 70 acres of organic vineyards. Each family member, Sisto, Pietro and Elena, along with their father Lorenzo, direct their own level of expertise thus ensuring both quality and image for the many markets the estate serves. Carefully calibrated fermentation methods are used for each of the individual wines produced at La Cappuccina. The estate is located in the heart of the Soave DOC production zone, at Costalunga di Monteforte d'Alpone in the province of Verona.

When I interviewed Sisto Tessari at a recent International Organic Wine Expo, he told me that opinion is changing. For the past decade, organic wines have increased in quality and the public is buying good wines that are cultivated organically; wines that cause no problems for the environment, for farmers or for the public. There is no concentration of sulphur dioxide, an element that is used for the conservation of wine. When organic methods are used, little sulphur dioxide is needed but with chemical cultivation, a lot is used. For those of you who need further assurance, a very small amount of sulphur is required to stabilize the wine.

All the different phases of the production cycle are carried out according to the rules of biological cultivation, formulated by the Institute of Certification and Control. From the picking of the grapes to the bottling line, strict organic methodologies are used. Some of their fine wines include Soave, Sauvignon, Madego, Campo Buri, Grappa di Vinaccia- Recioto di Soave and a Grappa di Vinaccia - Cabernet.

For the past decade, the Tessari family have been shipping their wines to the USA and the sale of their wines is on the rise. Once again, a triumph for those winemakers who are interested in the quality of life and health.

You may also be interested in these other articles about wine:

Red Organic Wine Tasting Video
Winter Organic Wine Pairings
Organic Vines for Better Wines
Organic Wine Crush and Fermentation DIY Wine Making
Organic Wine-A-Tasting DIY Wine Making

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