I decided to move to the Brisighella hills in the year 2000, to a house surrounded by 7 hectares of land: one of vines, one of apricot orchards, 120 olive trees, a hectare of abandoned arable land, plus woodland covering the remainder.
Mauro Valli – Canzone Sesta (Capriccio Per Camera), 2014
This ‘project’ immediately became a passion for me: I started tending to the existing crops, following organic farming principles, and planted the wild fields with artichokes, almonds, walnuts and spelt. I also began making wine, olive oil, baby artichokes marinated in oil, preserves and pickles.
My experience at the farm from 2000 to the present day is the story of a steady improvement in crops and soil conditions, as well as a constant fine-tuning to achieve excellent wholesome produce. The creation of quality wines is the activity that most captures my enthusiasm and commitment. Gradually over the years, I have not only renovated most of the house but have also built up the vineyard, equipping it with fine oak barrels and taking it to comply with the various wine-making regulations. I have opted for the demanding method of entirely natural production (with no additional yeast or sulphites) so that I can offer healthy wines that cannot trigger allergic reactions or intolerances to sulphur dioxide. Rather than the fashionable French barriques, I have followed in the Italian tradition of large wooden barrels. These hold between 700 and 1500 litres and result, in my opinion, in a more balanced wine without pronounced woody overtones but where the flavour of the grapes dominates.
Nevertheless, the obvious secret to fine produce is raw materials: excellent healthy grapes will naturally yield excellent wines. This concept fuels my passion for tending to and respecting the land and the plants, to keep them in perfect nutritional condition. My guidelines, in pursuit of non-forced production where quality rather than quantity reigns: use only gentle intervention when working the land; alternate organic and green manure as fertiliser; entirely avoid synthetic chemical, pellet and concentrated products (which affect the soil’s natural organic balance). The vines in particular are tended with almost obsessive care from May through to September: with adequate pruning and thinning, each single plant can develop well and strain-free to result in grapes rich in sugars and natural substances, revealing all in a full flavour. Harvesting takes place when the fruit reaches just the right ripeness, without waiting for it to be over-ripe, making for a fresh young wine. There’s the right moment for everything… the secret is in sensing that moment!