The focus on what we eat and how our food is produced is thankfully becoming more and more important. We are asking questions about our food. We want to know what’s in it and how it is produced. Is it natural, organic and are we actually getting what we are paying for? Because of these questions the food industry is forced to become more and more transparent.
But do you ask the same questions when it comes to the wine you drink? If not then come along with me to Orsi Vigneto San Vito winery in the magestic hillside of Bologna and learn more!
I was lucky that Alessandro Martini from Italian Days Food & Wine Tours was able to take me to meet Federico and his beautiful organic and biodynamic winery!
Natural wines are becoming more and more popular as we also understand that it is not only our foods that are being tampered with, but our wines as well. There is also a clear trend in going back to old, traditional methods of producing and conserving foods and drinks for the sake of our health, to enhance flavour, and also to work more in tune with nature.
Federico and his wine production is a very good example of this philosophy in practice. He is extremly knowledagble and passionate about his wine, and ensures quality and respect for both the ingredients, the environment and takes great care in every single step of the process.
Federico explains the natural fermentaion process of his wines. The famous Pignoletto Frizzante. Sparkling white wine from the region.
Italian Wine Culture
It was also important for me to get a better understanding of the Italian wine and drinking culture related to “Project Healthy in Italy” ( Read about it here ) as I know it is a part of the big picture as to why Italians are rated as being the healthiest country in Europe and second in the world.
As Federico tells me, “Drinking wine in Italy is about the social aspect as well as the enjoyment of something delicious, made with care and love. Also, we never drink on an empty stomach without food”.
Hense the Italian tradition of “Aperitivo”, a pre-dinner drink always accompanied with snacks or tapas style food.
Organic vs. Biodinamic Wine Production
To produce organic does not mean to produce biodynamic, but biodynamic produced food and wine is always organic. As a biodynamic wine producer there is a holistic approach to everything.
Federico shares, “To produce true wines of this terroir, we practice an agriculture which is capable of revitalizing the soil, stimulating plants and producing fruits with a strong bond with the territory. We don’t use chemicals and we work with nature to ensure the best possible conditions for our vines.
If the vines are under-performing and need nitrogen we plant beans or other pulses, leaving the cut plants to nourish the land. If on the other hand the vines are over-active we’ll plant grasses.”
Biodynamic wines are wines made employing biodynamic methods both to grow the fruit and during the post-harvest processing. Biodynamic wine production uses organic farming methods (e.g. employing compost as fertilizer and avoiding pesticides) while also employing soil supplements prepared according to Rudolf Steiner’s formulas, following a planting calendar that depends upon astronomical configurations, and treating the earth as “a living and receptive organism. Wikepedia
The fermentations are spontaneous without the use of selected yeasts, and there is no clarification or filtration on the wines. Federico is passionate about producing distinct wines with character and a non-standardized personality.
The farm also breeds free range Mora Romagnola pigs and makes its own mortadella (famous from the area) using the best quality meat and spices.
San Vito has been producing wine for fifty years but since being awarded DOCG certification (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin) the popularity of Pignoletto has grown and wine buffs and entusiasts are starting to take notice.
Federico produces about 60 000 bottles a year and exports about 60 %. Both the USA and Nordic countries are buyers and recently the famous chef Gaggan Anad is on the list to buy the latest vintage for his famous restaurant in Bangkok.
Federicos also produces biodinamic vegetables and here we are inspecting the last of the farms artichokes. San Orsi also supplies the Michelain restaurant Amerigo with vegetables. I am visiting them next Friday! 🙂
After roaming the vinyards, tasting mulberries straight from the tree, visiting the pigs and the spelt fields (!) it was finally time to taste the famous housemade mortadella and wine.
I love the dry, fresh tast of the natural fermentation process! There is also a low sugar content in Federicos wines, which gives them an extra star in my book. They have a very differant taste and mouth-feel than other wines I have tasted and go perfect together with the local charcuterie which is famous in the region. They taste natural, fresh, (even healthy) and are made with passion, love and the way that nature intended…
And finally the weekend sets in and we may enjoy the wine, eachothers company and shameless self- promation of our books, wine, mortadella and food and wine tours.
Learn more about Orsi San Vito Winery here
Book a food & wine tour with Alessandro and Italian Days here