My choices in farming and winemaking are very simple and respectful of terroir
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Certified organic farming
Traditional knowledge and sensitiveness to grapevine’s needs are the most relevant assets
Most part of the vineyard operations - pruning, canopy management, green harvest and defoliation – is performed manually: nothing’s more effective and sensitive than human hands for a careful and respectful viticulture.
I believe that each vine should find its balance with the environment: thus, top trimming is performed only during the freshest and humid seasons on vineyards occasionally subjected to fungi attacks.
Sulphur and copper are used only when strictly necessary: the ocean is so close to the vineyards that it creates a saline environment that prevents mould infections, and a constant air circulation mitigates the high temperatures that are typical in many Sicilian summers.
My vineyard is certified organic since 2016, and currently experiencing biodynamic practices.
All fermentations start from a pied-de-cuve spontaneously fermented with indigenous yeast
A few days before the harvest I pick a small quantity of white grapes, which will undergo spontaneous fermentation with all their skins and stems. When the yeast is strong enough, the pied-de-cuve is manually pressed and the fermenting juice is used as a starter on the grapes that will be harvested during the season. As the harvest season proceeds and the winery's environment is contaminated by the energy of natural yeast that has developed from previous fermentations, it is generally not needed to use the pied-de-cuve anymore, and spontaneously the fermentation will occur on freshly crushed grapes, without any controls or human intervention.
Malolactic fermentation is also spontaneous, thanks to the lactic bacteria that are naturally present in the must.
Being Sicily a hot place, some vintages may require acidity protection or adjustment.
To do so, I use small quantities of unripe grapes, which will be manually pressed to extract fresh juice with a high level of acids that will be added to the wines during their alcoholic fermentation.
My goals in winemaking: to protect the grapes from oxidation and to preserve their aromas
My main choice for protecting my wines from oxidation is night harvest: picking during the freshest hours and immediately pressing the grapes is essential to preserve their amazing aromatic complexity and personality.
Nonetheless, during the hottest vintages a very limited use of Vitamin C on some white grapes may be needed: in this case, I may use it at the very moment of picking, to prevent the juice from becoming brown. I may also allow very low concentrations of sulfites only after the spontaneous fermentations - both alcoholic and malolactic - are finished. In most cases sulfites are added only before the bottling, or not added at all. Total amount of sulphur dioxide on my wines may sum up to a maximum of 30-60 mg/l depending on the vintage, and is by far below the legal limit - that is 350 mg/l in the US, and 210 mg/l in Europe.
After a few years of experiments, I found that fining is not a good idea for my wines: I prefer natural stabilization through prolonged lees contact, which is enhanced by manual batonnages both in the tanks and in the barrels.
Some of my white wines are gently filtered using cellulose layers, that are afterwards composted. Red and orange wines are not filtered.