On the occasion of my recent meeting with the owner of the historical and widely appreciated winery Valentini, I have had the chance to discuss with Francesco Paolo about the current climate change and his experience right in his region: Abruzzo (central Italy).
We finished for overturning the current position of organic and biodynamic producers as, according to Francesco Paolo, who does not make the right treatments risks to affect also other producers (causing the spread of common diseases).
Recently when the journalist of LaRepubblica newspaper asked him which was the most representative vintage of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (his famous white wine), he answered 1978 as, unfortunately, he does not have anymore the right conditions to get the proper phenolic maturation. This is quite evident just looking at the seeds that used to become dark and woody, but they do not anymore even if sometimes he has waited till November before harvesting.
So, I asked how Valentini is facing such a challenge and, of course, he said that they cannot do anything against the climate change, they can only strongly and constantly communicate that the problem is very serious with important consequences beyond the agriculture. Anyway, the main challenge is to get the right maturation also because they do not do much in the winery: they do not filter or control temperatures encouraging spontaneous fermentations. When he used to work with his father, he confesses that they had to control the temperature of the winery that risked to get too cold, now they need to keep it fresh enough.
And so, what about the so-called “natural wines”? His position is clear: “it is another trend, the wine is not natural itself, it is a contradiction“; yet, the organic approach, basing on the current and confusing regulations, is just a promotional claim and the biodynamic one tends often to be a “wine-esoteric” approach according to him. “I am an artisan”, nothing more than that. This kind of approaches would have been valuable if we lived in a Paradise but in such a complex and risky climate situation the vines need to be (properly) treated: “the products obtained from not-treated fields risk to be more toxic than those treated” says.