In this case, “The Man” is Marco Giordano, our winemaker. And his passion is making wonderful biodynamic wines from our organic and biodynamic vineyard and using natural practices in the cantina.
The grapes we produce at Podere Erica are grown not only organically but also according to many biodynamic standards. We are often asked just what do you mean by biodynamic? And why is it important?
Long ago, all farming was organic. Good farmers knew that the health of the crops depended on the health of their soil. As industrial farming grew, nutrients were stripped from the earth. Chemicals had to be added to “restore” the soil and now such farming is the biggest contributor to green-house gas emissions. But this does not have to be so. If managed correctly – organically – the soil would be a filter that could remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Marco is not only an “enologo,” or winemaker, but also a custodian of the soil. He grows the grapes in a natural manner that does not require chemicals, either as fertilizer or pest control.
After the grape harvest, he sows seeds of 20 different kinds of plants that not only give color to our vineyard in the spring, but also prevent unwanted weeds to grow and when they are mulched give healthy nutrients (such as nitrogen) to the soil. This set of plants promote the biodiversity of the ecosystem of the vineyard and contribute, along with other organic practices to promote the fertility of the land.
In late spring these flowering plants are mulched into the soil and organic fertilization occurs. For the next step to “fertilize” the soil, Marco obtains from a special source a unique biodynamic compost which is made in a heap into which the six compost preparations are inserted. It is then covered with straw, old hay, or earth and “aged.”
Marco mixes this compost with water to make a solution that he sprays in the vineyard in late Spring. This preparation is also a powerful aid against stress and increases plant resistance to diseases.
Yet another biodynamic process is to bring “good” insects into the vineyard to combat the “bad” insects. Who doesn’t love the ladybug? All of these efforts create grapes of the best quality, true to the Tuscan soil from which they grow.
These biodynamic practices eliminate the need to add pesticides and chemicals to the soil or the plants, making it healthier for us all and our environment. In the cantina, Marco uses the minimum amount of sulfites (a preservative) and no other chemicals.
The photo below shows all of the chemicals others add in their wine making. The sulfites level in our red wines is 60 mg/liter and the legal limit in Italy is 190 mg/liter, higher in USA (350 mg/l). We think that when you know what we are doing in the vineyard and in the cantina, you will have a better understanding of why environmental stewardship matters to us all, not to mention a healthier wine for you to drink.
We’d love to share the “fruits” of Marco’s passion, so if you are in Italy, make an appointment for a vineyard tour and wine tasting by the man himself. If you can’t come to Italy, we can ship wine to you. Just send me an email at jan@PodereErica.com and I will send you the details.