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.
In 2003, the biodynamic interventions to enrich the vitality of the soils began, following the directions of our mentor Jacques Mell, and following the instructions of the sowing calendar of Maria Thun. In the same year, following the instructions of the winemaker Christian Prudhomme, the Atelier Mendini began to make the plans of the cellar.
In 2004, still under the guidance of Prudhomme, Karim Riman carried out a geo-pedological investigation that leaded to the identification of the types of soils. From the geological point of view the soils originate from the same geological materials: the differences are of soil and anthropic kinds. The material is a sedimentary deposit of varying thickness dating back to the last glaciation (between -100,000 and -10,000 years), partially reworked by the activity of the rivers.
This deposit rests on a metamorphic bedrock consisting of mica schist of two micas, para-gneisses and granites. The substrate emerges only rarely as the thickness of the glacial deposit ranges from 1 to 2 metres according to the profiles. The glacial sediment deposit is composed of a fine sandy-lemony matrix incorporating pebbles, stones and gravel in significant amounts, the stoniness of 15% protects the ground against erosion and heats it faster in the sun. The soil has high acidity, pH <6, low presence of clay, low level of calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Rich in organic matter, iron, manganese, copper and aluminum. [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Karim Riman, Analisi geo-pedologica, mappa 2004[/caption]
Regarding the biological fertility, in general the soils have a good level of microbial biomass, with high availability of nitrogen provided that it is sufficiently ventilated; the activity of the worms is generally present except in the sub-zone of the « Holly vineyard » which is strongly compacted. Regarding the physical fertility, the absence of clay, capable of changing the volume and cracking the soil, combined with the very heavy rainfalls (2,100 mm. per year), the slope of the land and the consequent washing of fine elements and iron, in some areas favours the compaction and restricts the permeability.
Following the geo-pedological investigation the farmstead is divided into seven vineyards:
- Walnut Vineyard and Banchine Vineyard, dedicated to the chardonnay
- Lake Vineyard, Ash Vineyard, Holly Vineyard dedicated to the pinot noir
- Cherry Vineyard and Willow Vineyard, dedicated to white wine of overripe grapes