This watchword expesses in just a few words the principles which the Venerosi Pesciolini family have always applied in managing the Ghizzano Estate. Principles which have been handed down from generation to generation since 1370….
Our journey towards ‘natural’ agriculture.
In full respect of our history and traditions, in 2003 we started our journey towards ‘natural’ organic farming eliminating all use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilisers.
We feed the land with green-manure seeds and other seeds which help to fix nitrogen in the soil (for example oats).
In 2006, we moved into biodynamic agricuture stimulating humus production with the field preparations 500 applied 3 or 4 times a year (in autumn and spring) and 501 (before and after flowering and whenever necessary). We have been on courses on biodynamic farming, along with our consultants, Michele Franci and Dr Roberto Righi, and we are now members of the biodynamic farming association “AGRICOLTURA VIVENTE” and at least twice a year we host the French agronomist PIERRE MASSON, who offers us support and advice for our biodynamic practices.
Since 2008 we have been officially certified ORGANIC throughout the Estate (not just the vines but also the olive groves and cereal crops).
How we cultivate our vines
Our plants are mainly pruned-spur cordon-trained and are pruned during the winter usually leaving 4 ‘buds’ or ‘eyes’. Between the rows of vines we sow about 30 different types of seeds which help bring nitrogen to the soil and allow it to breath. In late spring we start to remove any unwanted, excess shoots and then in the summer we remove a certain number of leaves to allow better air circulation. We do not clip but interweave the vine-shoots on the 5th wire. We only use low concentrations of copper and sulphur to manage fungal disease and bacillus turingensis if we are seriously attacked by the European grapevine moth. We only thin grapes if the plant requires it, that is to say when the vine has an incorrect balance between grapes and density of leaves. Whether we need to thin and how much must be removed depends on the year. If we don’t think it is necessary thenwe do not thin the grapes.
We usually start harvesting at the beginning of September with the merlot, then the sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon andcabernet franc and last of all the petit verdot. The grapes are tasted and a sample is analyzed (for sugar levels, ph and acidity) and we then decide when to pick each variety. Naturally we pick the grapes by hand putting them into small, well-aired crates of around 20 kilos. Once the grapes reach the winery they are transferred on to a table where we check they are healthy and meet necessary standards. After careful inspection the grapes are poured into the ‘destemmer’ and from there move on to small, 2 quintal, steel containers, without the use of a pump, where they are crushed by trampling them barefoot. We do not use selected yeasts for alcoholic or malolactic fermentation.
The grape must is transferred into vats without the use of pumps. Fermentation can take anything betwen 7 to 12 days depending on the variety and more importantly the year. We taste the must every morning and then decide how to proceed. We use steel and cement vats and 30 hectolitre wooden vats depending on the quality and type of the grapes (there are times when we have no choice but to use what is available at the time!). We press by hand and sometimes apply delestage if we have particular problems of reduction. We try to avoid pumping over (and if necessary, only for a short time) so that pumps do not come in contact with the grape must. We have a system to cool the vats which we only put into use when temperatures go above 30°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place in all wines and this occurs in wood for grapes selected for the Veneroso e Nambrot wines.
Discover all the harvests over the past years in “Tenuta di Ghizzano”
Aging in wood
We use 225 litre, 500 litre and 30 hectolitre oak barrels for aging for a period of time which can range from 16 to 18 months depending on the year. The wood is just an instrument to help the wine to evolve in time, to help it age and not a means of adding tannins. We in no way want the wood to overpower the fruit. Our aim with the Veneroso and Nambrot is to produce wines that can last but with the right balance between fruit, acidity and wood. A few years ago, we decided to use 500 litre casks to age the Veneroso, instead of barrels, especially for the sangiovese variety – so very little use of new wood. On the other hand, we still use small wood for the Nambrot even though we have reduced use of new wood by 30%.