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Il Palazzone, Italy – Richard Parsons

January 29, 2012

It often happens that not being certified organic appears to be a big black mark for an estate. Our estate, like so many others in Montalcino, is “environmentally engaged” yet we have no means of communicating this shorthand.

Our winemaker, Paolo Vaggagini, demands “biologico di testa” – having an organic mindset which informs each and every decision. We practice “agricoltura responsabile” which means that we are trying to make the right decisions and we apply the concept of doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time.  We do this with the short-term goal of making great wines, and with the long-term objective of safeguarding the environment where our family lives and works. Our new cellar will be first solar-powered cellar in Montalcino and we have changed all our packaging in order to reduce our carbon footprint.

Every week our agronomist visits the vineyard in order to assess the particular conditions at Il Palazzone. He evaluates factors that influence grape yield and quality (soil, topography, microclimate, vine health, etc.) and helps us to make the appropriate choices in the vineyards. Our vineyards vary so much in terms of terroir that we benefit from an individual approach. This way of working ensures that we never do unnecessary treatments.

The few treatments that we make in the vineyard are base metals that are allowed by the EEC directive 2092/91 that governs organic farming. We do not use sophisticated chemical compounds that are damaging to the environment and the ecosystem.

Whenever possible we effect manual operations rather than anti-fungal treatments. For example we will choose to strip away vine-leaves by hand to give the bunches as much air as possible after rain in order to avoid grey mould rather than spraying the vines with an anti-botrytis treatment.

Opting for manual work rather than tractor intervention is always more expensive. However, “il vino si fa in vigna” – wine is principally made in the vineyard, not the cellar – and the results of these choices are evident in the final quality of our wines.




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