At Cantina Fongoli, organic agriculture means sustainable agriculture.
Sustainability is the balance between what and how much we produce, and what and how much we consume. Our goal in the long term is to balance the needs of the vineyard and the olive grove with those of nature.
Environmental impact can be minimized through the use of natural fertilizers rather than chemicals. A sustainable vineyard is enduring, demands less from the environment and produces wines of high quality that reflect the characteristics of the land. It achieves this through deeper roots, a longer ripening period and vines that are stronger and more naturally resistant to disease.
By employing viticulture that encourages a symbiotic relationship with the environment, we are working toward the highest expression of the principle of terroir. With this method, the grapes obtained are reflective of the potential of the environment in which the vines are grown. With each successive harvest, the results of this work are increasingly evident in our wines.
Our cultivation methods form a strong connection between the soil, terroir and our own winemaking philosophy to create unique, high quality wines.
This system is the opposite of that employed by large vineyards that have been carved out of the land and worked by heavy machinery.
This is the difference between the commercial or industrial concept of organic and the better, “real” organic. True organic cultivation is marked by a lower production obtained through the reduction of the vine’s vigur (shortening the vegetation process) instead of a thinning out of the fruit (green harvest). The influence of each year’s variable growing conditions is greater with true organic cultivation.
In order for us to get the most out of the land, we allow a natural variety of wild grasses to grow to increase the biodiversity of the vineyard (this is also obtained through the presence of trees and other wild growth areas). We do not mow the wild grasses regularly and fertilize the land with natural manure rather than chemical fertilizers.
Using this method highlights a significant difference between the “garden style” vineyard seen in photos with seed planted grasses and the natural vineyard that appears to inexperienced eyes as almost uncultivated. The colors, qualities and essential properties of our vineyards change naturally as the seasons change.
This method of production can only be practiced in vineyards where the climate determines the quality obtained in each vintage and the soil determines the character of the wine. In vineyards situated in low lying, plains, or other unsuitable areas, it is difficult to produce naturally organic wine.
Wet treatments against fungus and other diseases are done by low-volume spraying for a better distribution. We use copper (max. 6kg/ha per year) and sulphur or normal powdered sulphur or sulphur-copper. These are contact treatments and are not absorbed by the plants; therefore they must be repeated after each rainfall and in cycles during the growing season.
Our work in the vineyard is complimented by our work in the cellar, where the wine is born. We use only indigenous yeasts for fermentation. Fermentation is different for each grape variety and vintage. Malolactic fermentation is conducted naturally, without bacteria. Our wines are aged from 2 to 4 years in large, Slavonian oak barrels that range in age from 5 to 70 years old. This is done in accordance with the methods used by four generations of winemakers at Cantina Fongoli to avoid the introduction of tannins, aromas or tastes that are not native to the grapes or the winemaking traditions of Montefalco.