PIER PAOLO ANTOLINI
In Valpolicella, as certainly is the case in other areas, land, work and wine are connected by an ancient, deep bond, with new characteristics and aspects, which are constructed slowly from one generation to the next, blending experience and science, tradition and creativity.
Here it is not enough to cultivate the land. The land has to be shaped and sculptured, creating terraces and slopes; it has to be retained by dry walls, which are designed to follow the general slope and the exposition to the sun. The dry walls (marogne) were developed in ancient time, as a natural process, from the mounds of stones collected from the clearing of the fields, day after day.
The work of the modern vineyard worker is influenced by a complete convergence between man and land, man and nature: vineyards’ shape and layout do not obey the agronomic science described in the books, but they follow our elders’ knowledge and experience. Even without chemistry they could value every piece of land, and could give the most appropriate name to their vineyards.
Then, the cultivation of the vineyard is not an ordinary work; vineyards must be raised like children, one by one. Grain, like all kind of grass, grows somehow. A tree can be shaped, as long as it is young; then, when it is tall, it grows as it wants. The grapevine instead maintains always the right size, and the viticulturist can “look at the vine’s face”, can study it carefully, then he can decide to cut here and there. He will remember what he did at the time of the harvest, almost always receiving confirmation that the decisions taken by him months before were right; sometimes he will plan to make changes, to try other methods.
On the other hand, for the viticulturist, trying again and again is an everyday work. The variety of soils and vines and the variability of the seasons obliges him to follow closely their course, in order to anticipate problems and to adjust or reduce the treatments, always bearing in mind that good wine is born in the vineyard.
- Pier Paolo & Stefano Antolini