As far as the environmental characterisation of the CDO area is concerned, the procedural guidelines state that “this Venetian-Friulan area has a temperate climate: to the north, the Alps shield it from cold northern winds, whereas to the south the Adriatic Sea is the main source of Sirocco winds”. The sufficient rainfall, also in the summer season, lowers the temperature and ensures good water availability during the growing and ripening phases that shoots and grapes respectively undergo.
With the end of the summer, the Bora dry winds coming from the east lead to dramatic changes in temperature from day to night, which favours the synthesis of fragrance substances in grapes during the final stage of the ripening phase. The climate of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area is also temperate, with clearly defined seasons and sufficient rainfall. This range, which is characterised by the descent of cold pre-Alpine currents along hillsides and inversion phenomena, also sees dramatic changes in temperature during the ripening phase of grapes, with positive effects especially on their fragrance.
PHOTOSYNTHESIS is that primary event which takes place in green plants and thanks to which the oxygen we breathe is created. This process is also capable of transforming sunlight into the energy needed for the plant to grow. Just as hemoglobin carries oxygen from our lungs to the tissues of our organism with the help of our blood, so does chlorophyll absorb light and transfer its energy throughout the entire process which inside the leaf converts six molecules of carbon dioxide and six molecules of water into a drop of glucose, basic sugar for the life of plants. Moreover, six molecules of oxygen are created which are released into the air we breathe through the stomata. Another important element for the photosynthetic process is the climate: the temperature and in particular the sun, which in the vineyard is directly responsible for the successful ripening of the grapes under all points of view (sugars, acids and aroma).
The role of man in this phase is to guarantee that the leaves are well sunlit, by managing the vegetative wall which starts with pruning in the winter and following up throughout the summer with interventions aimed at keeping the leafy wall well-trimmed, well-lit, with few leaves in the shade and well-ventilated, all of which must be accompanied by good phytosanitary care which keeps the leaves healthy and active.
THE MOON - Biodynamic
The celestial vault under which we live, the stars, the planets, and the moon are not just the environment that hosts us, but also the one which biodynamic agriculture acts upon. Biodynamic agriculture, which was inspired by the work carried out by Rudolf Steiner in the early years of last century, is a precise practice that is proposed as an alternative to traditional agriculture. It attaches great importance to the influence of the universe and cosmic balances, and it considers farms as large living organisms composed of smaller organisms, which are essential to its balance and functioning. This is the holistic vision typical of this kind of agriculture.
Man, animals, the vegetable world and the entire universe that hosts them are perfectly integrated, and work as the heart, lungs and arteries of the entire firm. This is what is needed in order to understand the main practices of biodynamics, such as the use of field preparations obtained by combining organic substances with compost, which is in turn obtained by combining animal organs with specific herbs (such as chamomile flowers, dandelion, valerian, etc.). There are also spray preparations obtained from fresh manure and quartz or basalt powder. This is what concerns the animal world.
However, according to the following developments in the biodynamic philosophy conceived by Maria Thun, looking at the sky and understanding its influence on the productive world is even more important to restore the natural balance of the agricultural cycle. Lunar phases, which can be witnessed first-hand, underlie soil and vine care. Every time the moon transits through air, water, fire, and earth signs, a specific intervention is to be carried out. For roots to properly develop, seeds should be sown when the moon transits through earth signs. Leaves require care when the moon transits through water signs, flowers do when air signs are involved, whereas fruits, namely grapes, are to be cared for when the passage takes place through fire signs. Indeed, that is when the grape harvest will take place.
The control and labelling process of the biodynamic regime is carried out at an international level by the Demeter association. Said body guarantees specific qualitative standards through sampling, which is carried out either in vineyards or during the vinification and filtration processes. It guarantees that no chemical fertilisers are used in the soil, and that the maximum permitted sulphur dioxide level is not exceeded in cellars. Moreover, it guarantees the origin of the used yeasts and enzymes by verifying the nature of the substances found in them, as chemically generated ones are forbidden also in this case. Despite this, most producers, mainly owing to their freedom of action and thought, do not ask Demeter to officially acknowledge their production philosophy. Indeed, biodynamic farmers support this alternative practice by trying to grasp the mystery that nature often hides, often trying to avoid the very essence of a science that can be used to obtain ever more standardized, reproducible products. Vineyards are to be considered as living beings that cannot perform their task autonomously, and vine-growers are to express their belonging to a specific area by making pure wine.