Our production philosophy
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 fertilizers. We feed the land with green-manure seeds and other seeds which help to fix nitrogen in the soil (for example oats).
Our whole Farm, has been officially certified ORGANIC by “SUOLO e SALUTE” since 2008, not just the vines but also the olive groves and cereal crops.
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 agriculture 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).
Our whole Farm, has been officially certified BIODYNAMIC by “DEMETER” since 2018 (not just the vines but also the olive groves and cereal crops).
Together with our collaborators , Michele Franci and Dr. Roberto Righi, we have been on courses on Biodynamic Farming, becoming members of the Biodynamic Farming association “AGRICOLTURA BIODINAMICA”.
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.
We distribute the biodiamco 500 preparation after sowing: it stimulates the humification process and radical development and generates an improvement in the structure of the soil. An increase in the overall vitality of the soil is obtained.
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 copper and sulfur in low concentrations and herbal teas of horsetail, nettle, as well as the biodynamic preparation 501, all to manage fungal diseases.
We then use bacillus turingensis only when we have an important attack of sampling moth from the eggs on the grain. We control the weeds mechanically by mowing in the middle of the fields and under the plant.
The “Natural” Harvest
Usually we start our harvest in Ghizzano the very first days of September with the Merlot grapes, after several days we go ahead with Sangiovese, then Cabernet Sauvignon and Frank, Vermentino, Petit Verdot and usually the last one is Trebbiano.
We taste the grapes and, with the help of a random tests a sample is analyzed (for sugar levels, ph and acidity), to then we decide when to pick each variety or the different plots. 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 sorting table where we check if they are healthy and meet necessary standards. After a careful inspection, the grapes are poured into the destemmer and from there, without using the pump, moved on to small (4 quintal) steel containers where they are crushed by stamping them barefoot.
Either alcholic and malolactic fermentation start spontaneously, without the use of selected yeasts. Fermentation can take anything between 7 to 25 days depending on the variety and more importantly the vintage. 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.
We press by hand and sometimes apply delestage if we have particular problems of reduction. We try to avoid pumping over (only for a short time, if it is necessary) 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 vintages at Tenuta di Ghizzano
Ageing in wood
We use 225 litres, 500 litres and 30 hectolitres oak barrels for aging for a period of time which can range from 16 to 18 months depending on the vintage. The wood is just a means to help the wine evolve along time, and not a means to add tannins. In coherence with our philosophy, We in no way want the wood to overpower the fruit. Veneroso: A few years ago, we decided to use 500 litres casks for aging, instead of barrels, especially for the Sangiovese variety – so very little use of new wood. Nambrot: on the other hand, we still use small wood even though we have reduced use of new wood by 20%. Our aim with Veneroso and Nambrot is to produce wines that can last but with the right balance between fruit, acidity and wood.
Research and Innovation
Since 2017 we have also introduced a COCCIOPESTO AMPHORA for the maturation of a forthcoming pure Sangiovese with the aim of not "polluting" the complexity, elegance and freshness of the Sangiovese of our Lands of Pisa. Having the right evolution through a slow oxidation process in a container that does not alter the intrinsic characteristics of the wine.
Cocciopesto DT has the advantage of offering a notable durability over time, excellent resistance, and a notable thermal inertia. This material is highly bio-compatible - deriving as it does from a mixture of ground brick shards, fragments of stone, and sand held together by cement and water – and has been chosen by the Tenuta di Ghizzano estate for fermenting and aging its wines. There are significant gains to be made throughout the entire process. Veneroso will be the wine to be aged in these amphorae given that they are perfectly in line with the production philosophy of the property, that of “respecting and fully bringing out, to the maximum possible extent, the fruit of Sangiovese and reducing as much as is feasible the influence of oak tannins”.
This innovation, much desired by Ginevra Pesciolini Venerosi, guarantees an optimal micro-oxygenation, fully bringing out aromas and flavors during both the fermentation and the aging, enriching and amplifying the fragrance of the wine.
The traditional oval form, in addition, has its own aesthetic impact, one capable of transforming the fermenting and aging spaces into truly fascinating areas, ones to be admired by visitors to Tenuta di Ghizzano.
The ancient Romans called this material Opus Signinum, a Latin term which derived from the city of Segni (Signa) near Rome where, according to ancient sources, the material was invented. In the first century B.C. the Roman architect Vitruvius described its use in his treatise ”De Architectura“. The ancient mixture was used to line cisterns, thermal water tanks, uncovered terraces, and impluvia (the apertures in the middle of courtyards for draining of rainwater when they were not made from marble or stone), heated rooms etc. It was, additionally, used as a de-humidifying plaster. The techniques for applying it for the various purposes for which it was utilized determined the level of impermeability. The memory and the signs of the ancient commercial routes in the Mediterranean sea, first those of the Phoenicians, then those of the Romans, remain in the discovery of findings from ships loaded with the goods of trade of that epoch. The most significant traces, in our imagination as well, are those of the amphorae utilized for commodities and foodstuffs, particularly olive oil and wine. In those Mediterranean civilizations, where clay was the material prevalently used for household furnishing and tableware, these terracotta amphorae, optimized for transport, were also employed for storage. The Phoenicians already fermented in clay recipients buried into the earth, and it was then the Greeks and subsequently the Romans to continue with this technique. The latter widely utilized spherical terracotta containers called dolia (dolium in the singular). There are, in addition, numerous important findings in the area of current-day Georgia where jars of larger dimensions with a capacity of thousands of liters were buried in spaces intended precisely for this specific use, that of fermentation and aging.