Lecture on biodynamics in the winery. Theme: sustainable vineyard management, adapting viticulture to climate change. A regional course (Psr) sponsored by Cia Consulenze Piemonte. Classroom: the Marchisio Family’s wine temple, dominated by ceramic amphorae. Testimonials, for the occasion: Fabio Marchisio (vineyard) and his father, Sergio (winemaking and aging). Trainees: many young, enthusiastic winemakers. Such as Enrico Rubatto from Chieri, Roberta Bruno from Strevi (Agricola Ivaldi), the Daidellerba winery from Pinerolo and Fiorella Cardon from Prarostino, along with Stefano Rossotto from Chieri. Also among the participants were Cucina Vignaiola from Villarbasse and Giuliano Bosio from Almese, Susa Valley.
In the foreground, topics of pressing concern. Namely: what is happening to our climate? And thus: what strategies can be adopted, agronomically speaking? «The lecturers who accompanied the class in the in-depth study of these issues», explains Kezia Barbuio (Italian Farmers Confederation) «were climatologist Nicola Loglisci of Arpa Piemonte and agronomist Massimo Pinna, who specializes in organic farming as well as being a consultant for the Marchisio Family. Both technicians are involved in a three-year research project on the subject, carried out by “Cia delle Alpi” with the contribution of the Turin Chamber of Commerce».
Early springs, prolonged very hot and dry summers. This has been the trend in recent years, although belied – for now – by the decidedly cool first half of 2023. «In fact», Sergio Marchisio admits, «the vineyard flowering calendar takes us back to ten years ago: that is, before the torrid period began». In any case, the climatic anomalies have hit winemakers very hard. Among the insights from the course conducted by Loglisci and Pinna: ongoing changes and future scenarios in wine-growing areas. The arrival of new phytophages, exotic species linked to “climate change”. Pests to be contained by sustainable methods.
«Climate variation», Pinna explains, «influences the development of cryptogamic diseases in grapevines. There is a need to recognize new “abiotic” stresses and to experiment with new technologies for vineyard monitoring». Precise instructions: the best techniques to reduce environmental impact. So: nutrition, soil management, grassing, choice of rootstock, sixth planting and orientation of new rows. And then: training form, pruning management, pesticide distribution methods, harvest times. All this, to cope with climatic adversity.
«Also fundamental is the use of vineyard management techniques through the use of new-generation, sustainable machinery: again to better adapt to changing environmental conditions». If Fabio Marchisio was responsible for presenting the “green” machinery, the rest – winery workings – was taken care of by the winery’s founder, Sergio Marchisio, a pioneer of organic farming in Roero. The premise is the magic touch of the biodynamic approach: it further increases soil fertility and thus vine resilience, even in the face of climatic difficulties.
«The Marchisio family», says Pinna, «definitely represents a model of excellence, for those who want to adopt ecological viticulture». Even the “students”, who last May 18 experienced a true full immersion among the secrets of the biodynamic world, are convinced of this. Prince tool, steinerian: the ancestral “energetic” fertilization guaranteed by horn manure. And of course: no chemistry, native yeasts, vinification in amphora. «A beautiful day of study», say the students, all young, «which ended in beauty, between one toast and another, in the brand new winery in Castellinaldo immersed in the green, between the rows of Arneis».