Filippo Scienza (owner & winemaker at Vallarom):
Since the first years of vine cultivation and vinification, at VALLAROM we have always been experimenters both in the countryside and in the cellar, but the agronomic management has always been conventional.
Since I took over my grandparents, after having attended the Agricultural Institute San Michele all’Adige, had an important experience in Burgundy (France), in Tuscany, in Germany and in America, I realized that we must return to a viticulture more respectful towards the environment in which we live and without the mediation of the most invasive chemistry, to a more “true” product, really “son” of the environment, of the territory, of my hand and of the season.
Hence the need to change products, systems to defend against major diseases and to seek greater balance in the countryside, because we must not forget that “wine is mainly done in the countryside”. So I started step by step, towards a more environmentally friendly management, I realized that one can not from one day to the next move from a conventional to a biological cultivation, either because the plants would not tolerate it and to create the right balance with the whole environment: everyone must adapt to change, including me.
We must always be in balance, so I tried to combine both my different experiences and my “modern” scientific knowledge to the simplicity of a respectful viticulture and winemaking: I will never say, for example, that in my wines there is no sulphurous , in fact it develops naturally during fermentation, I can say that I try to add as little as possible and only when it is strictly necessary. The world is polluted everywhere, I believe that all of us must commit ourselves to change it without causing unnecessary and meaningless exasperation. So I started my journey, obviously also following courses and trying to understand what is best for my soil, climate and plants.
Immediately, in 1999, I abolished the chemical weeding, and as my experience and “symbiosis” with the surrounding environment of Vallarom increased, while adhering to the “protocol of understanding” of the Consorzio Vini del Trentino (the only example on national territory) that limits, even in conventional viticulture, many particularly toxic products, I abandoned the various synthetic chemicals for the phytosanitary defence, starting from the anti-biotics to finish in the year 2004 to use only copper and sulfur.
For the defence: the treatments are done only in favourable climatic conditions, ie in the absence of wind (a constant presence in our environment), to avoid unnecessary drifts, thus wasting the product, with the mild temperatures of the evening to avoid burns, and with the leaves dry. A greater balance was sought in the soil by abandoning the chemical fertilization in favour of organic fertilization in order to pass over the last years to the technique of green manure. I continued my journey with the “sexual confusion” to control the moth and the tignola, I created natural traps, for example old branches tied to the headboards so that the cicada settles there and not in the branches of the vineyard, lego with willow, “Stropa” in Trentino dialect, the harvest is done by hand by placing the grapes in small boxes and immediately brought to the cellar.
Between a vineyard and another, I created uncultivated areas with spontaneous vegetation, with dry stone walls, ideal habitat for numerous animals. Hand in hand with my awareness of a more sustainable and natural agriculture, also for the enological part this philosophy was followed, with the gradual abandonment of selected yeasts (except in particular years), enzymes and malolactic bacteria, but following the natural phenomena, the use of very few machines, I have only one pneumatic press and two pumps including a peristaltic that has a very delicate transport system, both to reduce energy consumption and to avoid stressing the wine itself. In the bottle, you can pick up all the nuances given by the microclimate, by the composition of the territory, by my personality and without any doubt also the differences given by the seasonal trend.
It is not just a philosophy of business management but has also become a real lifestyle for both me and my family, so we look for our purchases to prefer organic products, to use as little as possible non-recyclable products and try to pollute as little as possible.
This is also why we have installed in our company, which is also our home, solar panels and a wood boiler of the latest generation to produce energy and hot water for our needs and those of the company.
Also from the point of view of packaging, we are moving towards the use of recycled paper for ethics.