I am heartened by the thought
I have been pruning for over an hour: I turn round to check how long it will be before the sun’s first rays emerge from behind the trachyte spur on which Roccatederighi is perched and will finally reach me. This morning, the typical cold breeze of this parcel arrived punctually as always, but today it is more piercing than usual. The whole vineyard is covered by a thin layer of ice. I seek a bit of physical and emotional warmth: I light a small fire to sterilize the blades of the pruning shears and look over to the Giglio Island and the sea. To live in a “mountainous” environment while being able to observe the sea: an ideal combination for the vineyards’ vegetative balance but it is for me as well – born and raised in the Dolomites.
While I move from one vine-plant to the next, I am keen to achieve a true awareness of my sensations and of my surroundings. Stillness, calm and peacefulness envelop me. The oak trees and turkey oak trees are so majestic even without their foliage; their leafless branches resemble an upward root system that feeds off the light and air. I view pruning not as a simply repetitive and automatic act but as an opportunity for considering every single vine as a
unique expression of life. In this sense, the vine-shoots are harbingers of much information: their diameter, elasticity, internode length and harmony, degree of lignification - all tell me much about the plant’s vital force. Based on these observations, to decide how many buds to leave becomes a sort of insight and not merely a cold mathematical calculation of the plant’s yield potential.
By mid-morning, the temperature has become considerably milder. This is also felt by the leguminous plants sown in autumn as green manure: with great strength, they raise their heads and open up to the day. I think about how brave they are, dauntless yet lonely, as they grow in the cold months only to decompose in spring when life starts sprouting again.
Ever since we started on this new course, we have been learning to become familiar with a new and fascinating world. Biodynamics is undermining and affecting all those scholastic and mechanistic certainties, giving way to a broader vision of Nature. Plants have a deep relationship with everything that surrounds them and through their specific language they give us continuous signals about the quality of these connexions. It is our duty to have a greater awareness and openness in order to interpret these messages and convert them into concrete actions. To turn the estate into a single and complete organism will be a further step in our journey. The richness and biodiversity of this wild corner of Maremma make the fulfilment of this vision possible. We started last spring by sowing a small vegetable garden and planting fruit varieties that were present in this area in the past. We will continue this year: enlarging the vegetable garden, sowing wheat and keeping some cows. The bees have also arrived: to enter their world has really been a surprising and thrilling experience. Thanks to their infinite wisdom, these small beings of fire, are an unlimited source of life for Nature and an example to man.
During the winter months, the soil receives all the cosmic forces that will be later exhaled through the plants when they start sprouting again. Its vitality, quiet and intimate, is now at its maximum. I strive not to lose these rhythms but let these thoughts and sensations follow the flow of Nature. So in winter, amidst
the vine-plants, it is as if the Earth were beckoning to me.
I am reassured by the prospect of using this introspective period of time to reflect, to make the year’s experiences become a part of me by crystallizing them just as the soil crystallizes minerals.
I am heartened by the thought that the dynamics of life will continue even if they are not apparent.
I am saddened when I think of all the mistakes we made in the past when we considered the soil a mere inert substrate for anchoring the vines to the ground and not an essential element of a quality-oriented farming method.
I am filled with gratefulness when I think of the Earth as source of nourishment.
I am excited at the thought of the roots of our vines as they feed in this soil, delving deep underground.
I am inspired at the thought of our wines expressing the true soul of Roccatederighi when they will taste of this soil and have the strength and depth of those roots.
It makes me smile to think that just like those roots, I am exploring new horizons and find myself ever more bound to this land.