A lighter and “greener” bottle for Verdicchio

best bottle format wine

Earlier this year, we bottled the 2012 Pievalta Verdicchio at the winery in Castelli di Jesi using a new bottle format that weighs significantly less than one used for the last vintage.

The new bottle weighs only 460 grams, 90 grams less than the previous (which weighed 550 grams, a reduction of 17 percent).

The new format will help to reduce greenhouse gasses, particularly carbon dioxide, because it reduces the amount of energy needed to produce the bottle and it also reduces the energy needed to transport it.

It’s a small step but an important one for people like us, who have always made the environment and its well-being a priority in our daily work.

Terroir Marche: a new group of organic growers in Jesi

best verdicchio jesi

Above: The village of Maiolati Spontini is home to the Pievalta winery (one of the houses in the Barone Pizzini group). Castelli di Jesi is rapidly becoming one of Italy’s epicenters for organic and biodynamic farming practices.

In May of this year — on May 1, to be precise, a date with great symbolic and historic significance for many Italians — the Pievalta winery became one of the founding estates of a new group of organic wine growers: Terroir Marche.

In its own words, the group’s mission is to “promote awareness of organic farming in the Marches [Le Marche], to defend the territory and its resources, and to share the culture and practices of a sustainable and humane economy.”

Pievalta is one of the self-financed group’s five founding estates and it shares its belief that “the farmer is the primary source of our daily nourishment and is a pillar among those who safeguard the environmental landscape, the true but neglected patrimony of Italy.”

The group held its first official event on June 24 (a presentation of the association and a tasting of its members wines) and we’ll be looking forward to future events (and will post them here on the Barone Pizzini blog).

Barone Pizzini, one of the oldest in Franciacorta & an organic farming pioneer

barone pizzini organic farmingFounded in 1870, Barone Pizzini is one of the oldest wineries in Franciacorta and it was the first estate in the appellation to practice organic farming. Ever since its conversion in the 1990s and the organic certification of all its vineyards in 2001, the winemaking team at Barone Pizzini has remained faithful to its belief that chemical-free farming is essential to the production of high-quality wines.

In the 2007, the estate opened the doors of its new eco-friendly cellar and winemaking facility. Every stage of vinification is carried out with the lowest possible impact on the environment and with the lowest possible carbon footprint. The team at Barone Pizzini is convinced that this approach is vital in achieving the fullest expression of each growing site’s terroir.

Among the various practices employed by the winery to lower energy needs, the estate’s solar energy panels can supply up to 55 kilowatts. And in recent years, Barone Pizzini became one of the first Franciacorta wineries to adhere to a carbon offset protocol. Its carbon footprint is measured annually by the Italian agricultural consulting firm Ita.Ca.

The vineyards cover a total surface area of 47 hectares (roughly 116 acres), divided into 25 parcels in the municipalities of Provaglio d’Iseo, Corte Franca, Adro and Passirano. The average altitude is 200 meters above sea level and the average age of the vines is 15-20 years. The estate’s growing sites are among the best in the appellation and are noted for their morainic subsoils and glacial deposits, the hallmarks of Franciacorta’s unique terroir.

Green manure (silly plowing) at Barone Pizzini

green manure franciacorta

A note from the Barone Pizzini agronomist Pierluigi Donna:

Barone Pizzini borrows certain techniques from biodynamics, like that of increasing the organic substance in the soil by planting legumes that thrive between the rows. The plants enrich the soil with natural nitrogen without the use of fertilizers.

Using this “green manure” practice, we till the plants under so that the biomass gets worked into the soil, thus making more suitable for useful organisms and for the roots’ exploration.

Increasing the organic substance in the soil also means reducing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and thus mitigates the greenhouse effect and helps the environment.

Carbon Calculator results for 2010 and comparison

Last month, we announced Barone Pizzini’s participation in the Italian Wine Carbon Calculator program.

The following figures are the official results of the survey for 2009 and 2010.

carbon footprint winery italy

Click here for a copy of the report in Italian.

These comforting figures demonstrate that awareness of one’s our emissions allows us design a more virtuous process that helps winery in the short term and betters the environment in the long term.

Our commitment to the program has become a way of life for everybody who works at the winery. After the 1998 organic conversion of the estate, they were all accustomed to this type of challenge.

Total Capture (Metric Tonnes of CO2) from estate-owned vineyards
including the entire supply chain

2009: 817.185
2010: 820.305

Total Emissions (Tons of CO2)
reduced through application of solar energy and geothermics

2009: 435.205
2010: 433.202

Kilograms of CO2 Captured per Bottle Sold
increase of 14%

2009: -1.108
2010: -1.149

Water Consumed per Bottle Sold
(in liters/bottle)

2009: 10.13
2010: 8.104

net kW acquired

2009: 221,812
2010: 199,483

Total Energy Consumption
(in equivalent kg crude oil)

2009: 78,972
2010: 78,424

kW Employed per Bottle Sold

2009: 0.643
2010: 0.592

Diesel Consumption per Hectare
(limited to the winery)

2009: 321.610
2010: 300.992

Emissions in Tonnes of CO2 per Wine Product

2009: 17.41
2010: 15.19

Recovery in Tonnes of CO2 per Recycled Waste

2009: -5.47
2010: -6.77

Italian Wine Carbon Calculator study

carbon footprint winery italy

Above: Barone Pizzini was featured in an article on the carbon footprint of wine last week in the Corriere Vinicolo (The Wine Courier), Italy’s leading wine industry trade publication. The winery was cited as an example of how winemakers are using environmentally intelligent building materials (like the wood paneling pictured above) to help conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint. Click here for a copy of the article (in Italian but with English-friendly illustrations).

Here on the blog last week, Pievalta winery manager Silvia Loschi noted how a new and lighter bottle format will help to reduce the winery’s carbon emissions.

“It’s a small step,” she said, “but an important one for people like us, who have always made the environment and its wellbeing a priority in our daily work.”

This attitude is part of a mission shared by both the Barone Pizzini and Pievalta estates.

That’s just one of the reasons that Barone Pizzini has participated in a study of fifty Italian wineries and their carbon emissions that began in 2009.

An article in last week’s Corriere Vinicolo profiles the study and reports some of the preliminary results.

The research was conducted using the Sata institute’s Italian Wine Carbon Calculator using a protocol developed by the Wine Institute in California.

carbon footprint wine italy

Wine and its carbon footprint are one of the topics that will be discussed at this year’s Vinitaly, the annual Italian wine industry trade fair.

Barone Pizzini manager Silvano Brescianini will be meeting later this week with the Sata research institute to discuss how the results of the study will be presented and applied.

And we’ll be following this story here on the blog as it develops.