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.
With the support of the climatic and geo-pedological data, they decided the varieties to plant with the clones and rootstocks, and also to prepare cuttings in French nurseries, favouring the biodynamic planting material available.
The rows have a slope between 10% and 25% and are positioned with a support stick orientated towards northeast/southwest in order to offer the best exposure to the sun for both of the growing sides.
The choice of the type of cultivation mainly adopted is the Guyot differentiated between single and double, depending on the vigour and vegetative expression of the individual plants. Part of the less suitable woodland and meadow areas have been conserved, many hedges have been planted with various essences, to enhance the biodiversity and as a refuge for many useful insects, and all the tall trees have been conserved, as well as rare vines which were already present, a sign of an ancient vine cultivation, also distributed in the vineyards.
The processing of the ground for planting the vines affected only the surface layer of the soil without changing the profile.
On March 16th, 2005, a root day, the planting of cuttings of pinot noir began. Before the implantation a deeper tillage in the ground of the row was carried out very carefully so the contour of the land wasn’t changed, with the sole aim of making it more comfortable for the development of the roots of the young vines. The cuttings were inzaffardared in a biodynamic mixture created by Jacques Mell.
At the end of the year the result was surprising: none of the approximately 5,000 vines died. The completion of the first phase of the project took place in the following spring on the 13th and 14th March 2006 when the cuttings of chardonnay and most of the cuttings for the production of overripe grapes were planted. Fertilizers have never been used in the vineyard: only biodynamic interventions with bouse de corne, corne de silice and compost de bouse de Maria Thun have been carried out. In some situations infusions are have been used, especially yarrow and nettle. The number of interventions varies depending on the year and the necessities, generally from one to four, in strict compliance with the indications of the dynamics, the most suitable times and days of the biodynamic calendar.
For the defense against the most terrible fungal adversities (blight, powdery mildew and botrytis), only organic products such as low doses of copper for blight, and wettable sulfur for powdery mildew, and talc for hail damage and rot in general.
The choice to keep the secular trees already present and to plant some hedges, lengthens the bathing time of some portions of the vineyards that remain in the shade. Therefore it becomes more difficult during the growing season to keep the leaves intact from fungal attacks, and reach optimum levels of ripeness of the grapes. The very abundant annual rainfalls oblige to keep a constant control of the pressure of the various fungi, the choice to install a monitoring station of the climate data, allows us to identify the best times for interventions. The eastern slopes of Lake Orta, an area where cold air currents from the nearby Monte Rosa meet with the hot air of the plains, often undergoes violent thunder storms that are often accompanied by hail. When the hail ruins part of the grapes, but also part of the leaves, the ripening of the grapes is subjected to long delays, and to obtain the best quality we are forced to make a particularly severe selection at the time of the grape harvest. The plant breeding has called for a gradual growth, with various surface treatments of the under-vine rows and a surface work of the lane with a disc harrow. In 2010, while most of the vineyards were in good condition albeit with a variability of vigour and growth according to the various types of land, in a part of the vineyards of pinot noir, and an adjacent part of the vineyard of chardonnay, a very low growth of plants due to waterlogging, was noticed, resulting in radical asphyxia in some periods. The decision was taken to operate a deep processing of the row, at the centre of the lane, to favour a more rapid flow of the excess water. A forage crop was also planted between the rows, to facilitate the water consumption. The interventions are repeated in the autumn and the spring of each year, and these parts of the vineyard are slowly responding with an improvement of the growth.
From 2006 to 2010 some vines were planted in the Willow vineyard, and in 2012 the plant was completed in all the land suitable for the vineyard.
In all the vineyards the agronomic interventions of pruning, disbudding, leaf-removing and thinning, are differentiated, depending on the capacity of the individual plants and the characteristics of the zones.
The aim of this diversity of management is to produce the quantity that best suits the individual vines regarding the best vegetative-productive relationship. The above-mentioned choices lengthen the time for the full productive potential of the vineyards, but the respect for the diversity of the individual plants benefits the great expression of the grapes and therefore of the wines. The daily attention to all the variables and the collaboration of the entire team allow to obtain, in the grapes and in the wines, the maximum expression of the potential of this fascinating place.
Patrizio Gasparinetti, agronomist