The farm and our philosophy
Fattoria means farm, but more than a farm house, it is an
Fattoria Montanine lies at 250m above sea level, it has an extension of 74 ha., 30 of which are woodland. All the surrounding hills are covered with woods and this, with the combination of organic bio-dynamic agriculture, ensures a balmy and pure air all the year round.
The farm nowadays is run by bio-dynamic agriculture, which means that all the work is done in accordance with the forces of nature and its 4 elements,
Earth, Water, Air and Fire. We follow these forces and operate so as to comply with them: this is what Rudolf Steiner, the founding father of bio-dynamics, used to call “active perception”, the starting step in our work.
For example, during the summer we till the land on the wettest days, in the coolest hours , so that even the subtlest water particles can have a chance to penetrate the soil, thus cooling the vines without the need for irrigation… in a similar way, we prefer to work near sunset in the middle of July when the heat is stressing the plants, or we wait for a warmer day in winter when the clods are frozen hard.
We observe the sky before starting on any treatment and check for the presence of wind or clouds as our forefathers used to do but we also rely on the sowing calendar drawn up by Maria Thun. The calendar follows the passage of the sun through the constellations of the zodiac so as to be enable us to plan our work in advance.
We also follow the sowing calendar for pruning: when the moon is waning earthly forces are stronger and sap concentrates towards the roots and is saved. Therefore, when the vine-shoots are cut on the upper parts, the plant will not suffer and its archetype is preserved.
In order to respect the earth and its bio-diversity, we effect rotation on every other row of vines by sowing various essences which will nourish the plants and we use only minerals like copper and sulphate for sanitary treatments. The use of bio-dynamic compounds such as “COMPOSTED 500” and 501 as suggested by Alex Podolinsky, one of the greatest experts on bio-dynamic agriculture, are also included in this program.
Another technique which is characteristic to biodynamics is the so-called “accapannatura”: it is rather laborious and consists of rolling the upper vine-shoots around the upper wires of the support instead of cutting them off: this will prevent the vine from producing extra leaves and bunches to compensate for the
loss of the upper vine-shoots, which would be a waste of energy.
COMPOSTED 500 is none other than fresh cow manure inserted in the horn of a cow having calved at least once, thereby making it possible to metamorphose its blood into milk . The horn, once filled, is buried into the soil all through winter and dug up in spring when its contents will be added to such herbs as achillea, camomilla, nettles and the like, which all bring the impulse of a different element.The manure, after this treatment, does not retain any of its primitive consistency. It will melt in warm water (37°) for one hour and then sprayed in the vineyard. But, when the grapes are ripening,finely ground quartz dissolved in spring water will be sprayed in the
vineyard at dawn: this will help the plants to concentrate all their sugars into the fruit.