For many years I indulged in the fantasy of producing good wine on Lake Orta, and even though I was totally absorbed by my main job as responsible of an Italian design factory, I’ve always had this fantasy in a corner of my heart. So, when I knew that the Cascina Eugenia at Pratolungo was on sale, I realized that the time had come, and a new adventure was about to begin.
Our project started from the remains of an old farmstead already indicated in the reliefs of the Teresian Cadastre of 1723 as the “Cascina detta Eugenia”, located on the hills of Pratolungo in Pettenasco, on the heights that descend from Mottarone towards Lake Orta. Opposite there is the island of San Giulio with its mysteries.
According to the news reported to us by Prof. Attilio Scienza, who, with Donato Lanati, helped us at the beginning of our enterprise, the vine cultivation on Lake Orta has been present since ancient times: “Plinio, in his Naturalis Historia XVI book, talks of the wines of Verbania and Lake Orta, calling them “asprigni” because the vines were planted high up (on the trees, with a great growth) …
The Cascina Eugenia is located on the eastern hillside of Lake Orta, at an altitude between 370 and 425 metres. At the time of purchase of the farmstead, the land had been in a state of almost complete neglect for half a century, and the parts originally intended to grow crops (fruits and vines) was entirely covered with spontaneous shrub vegetation. The first operational phase of the project (2001-2003) was dedicated to removing this vegetation, with a series of non-invasive interventions.
Since the end of 2004 a team of consultants are sided by the biodynamic mentor Jacques Mell: the responsible for cultivation Gianni Uccheddu, the agronomist Patrizio Gasparinetti and the oenologist Monica Rossetti.
The oenological project of the wines of Cascina Eugenia represents a challenge in the scenario in wine-growing and producing. Although the presence of vineyards around Pettenasco is documented since the 9th century, and some small productions of “American” wine and Nebbiolo survive for family consumption, ours is the first initiative for the production of wine in a professional manner and with commercial results.
- White wine
- Red Wine
- White wine produced from overripe grapes
- Sparkling Wine pas dosé
An important part of our vine-growing project, besides of course the quality of the wine that we have made, is represented by the design of the bottle that will contain it, which we have called the Leo bottle. +
Working on the inspiration of Leonardo’s puzzle we made an interesting discovery: the shape of the bottle is enterable in the circle of the re-elaborated Vitruvian Man by Leonardo, and also in the “pentagon or golden pentagram” (the latter is not one of Leonardo’s creations, but a figure already known to mathematicians in more ancient times and recovered by the Renaissance alchemists). We intend to analyse whether this special form (and its aura) will be of help for the preservation of our wines.
The contemporary technique of the production of bottles foresees that some relief marks are imprinted on the bottom of them, usually simple casual relief drawings, which serve to prevent the glowing piece that has just come out of the machine that shapes the blob of glass, from sticking to the conveyor belt that takes the bottles to the next processing step.
To tell the story of the cascina Eugenia in graphic terms, we asked help from the Spanish graphic designer Martì Guixè.
Still on the type of wine: our direction is that of a series of “author proof” bottles, presented as art multiples, each numbered with the year of production and the serial number of the bottles produced for each type of wine (e.g.: 234/590).