At our farm La Raia we follow the biodynamic approach, not only dispensing with fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, but also using the soil and its vital resources in a careful and responsible way
At our farm La Raia we follow the biodynamic approach
The 45-hectare Cortese and Piemonte Barbera indigenous vineyards are planted in limestone clay soil and their density is around 4.500 plants per hectare. Our biodynamic white wines are obtained from the Cortese grape’s oldest plants: Gavi DOCG Riserva, that comes from vineyards La Madonnina at the property entrance, and Gavi DOCG Pisé, whose grapes are cultivated at La Cascinetta and display a red soil veining, more suitable to the production of grapes for rich white wines.
The Barbera vineyards occupy a South-facing area with an excellent drainage. The graft was made by a massal selection: we cut and grafted thousands of shoots, choosing one by one the best plants of some ancient local vineyards.
The cultivation follows the biodynamic method, whose aim is reinforcing the plants’ vitality and their power to react in the best way to the environment changes. The fostering method is Guyot, perfect for our mainly droughty terrains. The vine trunk’s height is around 50 cm, while the fruit end (shoot) is tied to the support thread horizontally with respect to the ground: this assures a reduced expansion and a better management of the leaf wall and of the bunch exposure.
Conventional agriculturefeeds plants with soluble food that the roots absorb passively, so vines lose their identity and their relationship with the soil, and their fruits’ taste and characteristics become less varied. The biodynamic method, on the contrary, aims at reinforcing every component of the plant starting from its roots, so that it keeps the best possible balance with nature and the climate in which it lives. At La Raia all the lines are grass covered with natural species and grass planted in autumn for the green manure: we sow leguminous plants (Faba beans), cereals (oat and barley) that improve the soil’s fertility in spring. Natural grass in the lines also increases the soil’s biodiversity, helping the development of humus and making it more stable. These plants will be subsequently cut and interred, which is most beneficial to the soil.
The Guyot Method
In late winter, starting with pruning, we guide the vines to obtain a more balanced quality production. We leave an average of 6 buds per vine, following the Guyot trellis system, which is suitable to basically droughty soils. Vine has an average height of about 50 cm, while canes are tied to the sustain thread, so to grow in a horizontal position. This grants a good sun exposure for leaves and grapes.
Prevention through organic substances
In summer, depending on the weather, cave sulphur and copper are sprayed in small doses to prevent diseases. A rose, planted at the beginning of each row, protects the vine from two enemies: the grape mildew and the oidium.
The green manure phase
In spring, when the vine starts sprouting, we remove any unwanted buds so that the plant’s energies can concentrate and the leaves can breathe in the sun’s light, equally distributed on the rows, without overlapping too much. Legumes and grasses, grown in the vineyard rows in autumn, are now ready to be dug down into the soil. Grasses are left to grow among rows and a green manure – made of graminaceous, crucifer and leguminous plants – enriches deeply the soil, adding earth and humus and maintaining the soil’s peculiar feature. We use soft machines to till the land among the rows.
Vintage following nature
In early autumn the grapes are ready for picking. Regular analysis is done to choose the optimum vintage time, as exposure to the sun and the age of the vine strongly influence maturation. The best grapes are selected, handpicked, placed in basket, and immediately brought to the press, to avoid the fermentation starts.
The Gavi Pisé vineyards
In the vineyards where the Gavi Pisé comes from, the plants have an ideal placing – South-South/West – which allows a complete and constant grapes ripening. The soil is loose, loamy sandy, with a typical light colour. It is well-drained and grass is left to grow from spring to the end of summer.