CORVEZZO on 28-09-2017

4 steps to become an organic Prosecco producer (and still get a good night sleep)




2017 is a new starting point for our company: the organic conversion of the family’s 150 ha of organic Prosecco and organic Pinot grigio’s vineyard, which started in 2010, is finally over.

Have you ever thought about what really takes to put an end to the use of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers in the vineyard?

First of all, a change of mindset.

My personal experience in organic Prosecco’s grapes production has led me to understand that the key factors to be a good organic farmer are just 4: question yourself, have a clear mission and a good plan, never give up, start over again!

 

1.     Question yourself

 

Easier said than done.

Farmers are generally conservative and in agricultural sector there is always a strong temptation to think: “this production method has been suiting me for a long time, it works, why should I change?”

Luckily, I grew up in a wine family that has never given up testing new ways to produce healthier grapes and this way of thinking has influenced me 100%, no question about that.

In the late 80s, my father tried to reduce the environmental impact of producing wine grapes by introducing more sustainable techniques (such as strip cultivation, which I am still using today), instead of using synthetic herbicides, and by promoting integrate control of pests in the vineyard.

 Young Happy farmer thinking about organic prosecco production

My father’s vision not only helped me to approach to a more sustainable way of farming, but it also got me used to work for a continuous improvement.

For this reason, even if I admired him for his achievements, all I could keep thinking was:

“What can we do to be even more sustainable?”

 

2.     Have a clear mission and a good plan

 

You must be firm. You must know what you want and how long does it takes to reach the goal.

Personally, in 2010 my mission was clear:

Corvezzo winery = organic wine.

Requested time for total organic conversion of the vineyard:

7 years.

Organic prosecco vineyard, harvest time

These two fixed points helped me to understand what was my knowledge gap in organic farming to be filled (both in vineyard and winery) and correctly calculate investments.

 Be sure not to leave anything to chance!

 

3.      Never give up

 

So, in my experience organic conversion of vineyard was not all sunshine and rainbows.

The first years of organic production are the hardest to deal with, and if weather does as it pleases, it is easy to get discouraged.

When you grow wine grapes in the conventional way, they are like sick people who need antibiotics to survive. If you go organic and stop give meds to them, they have to survive in this world without any help. They slowly get stronger, but it takes years.

In 2013 the vineyard got hit hard by rain and humidity and the vine sufferance has been reflected in a dramatic drop in grapes production.

However, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Happy Farmer checking Organic prosecco and organic pinot grigio vine

After four years, vines have been able to react and harvest started to be abundant again.

But that’s not all.

We have discovered that organic grapes skins become stronger and thicker and this helps wines to develop better aromas, and for this reason I believe that organic grapes have the potential to generate superior wines.

 

4.     Start over again!

 

I think that reaching the full organic conversion of the conventional vineyard and starting to produce only organic Prosecco and Organic Pinot Grigio is not the end of the road, on the contrary, it is a fresh start.

Organic prosecco bottles

Now is time to start over, as I did when I was just a young boy, and ask myself once again:

“What can we do to be even more sustainable?”

 

Happy Farmer