There is no doubt that the estate’s vineyards are the beating heart of my work.Everything begins in the vineyards.
The first fruits of my labours and the labours of my co-workers come into being there. And the vineyards need my constant care throughout the year.
I have to keep an eye on what they need and when they need it, not only to bring home healthy grapes to make into wine, but also because they are part of a delicately-balanced habitat.
In Monforte d’Alba, in the subzone of Castelletto, where my cellar is located, there is a great variety of biodiversity.
The area’s many vineyards are offset by forests, fruit trees, hazelnut trees and meadows.
I am personally committed to leaving my surrounding environment untouched: 30% of the estate’s area has been maintained or replanted as forest. Within this uncultivated, there is an educational area dedicated to truffles, an orchard, a hazelnut grove and also beehives.
Areas such as these are ever more rare, despite their importance to the ecosystem and the local fauna which still take refuge in them.
Each season, I’m lucky enough to meet up with some of these inhabitants, even if it is often for the very briefest of moments.
For example, this past spring I often exchanged morning greetings with a hare frolicking in the courtyard; it became almost a daily occurrence to see it dash out and then disappear into a hedge.
During the harvest, when the grape clusters are nearly ripe and ready for picking yet another visitor confirms how good they are. Roe deer find them delicious–it would seem I’m not the only one who adores these sweet grapes!
Even badgers like a stroll among the vines. And how do I know this? Because they always leave very tangible ‘evidence’ that they’ve been there.
Sometimes in the evening, a fox steals out from the edge of a path, with its fluffy rust-red tail. It’s a rare treat to see one.
Ladybugs, butterflies, bees and earthworms are a signs of a lively, silent nature hard at work.
Over the days spent among the vines, I often come across a bird’s nest among the leaves. Robins and blue tits are the most usual, but they are becoming ever more difficult to spot. It is exactly for this reason that we have placed birdhouses in the small wood below the cellar, to help the birds build nests. We add balls of fat and seeds in winter to provide them with food during the cold season.
Shortly we’ll start on a new project which I’m especially enthusiastic about: a circuit with various stops for families with small children. Its purpose is to get to know the vineyard and the different types of environment around it, as well as offering a chance to enjoy a day out in the fresh air.
I would like to share what is closest to my heart: these vineyards that are home, but not just home to me.
They are also a refuge and a safe haven for other living creatures that I feel a great responsibility for looking after.