Sustainable wine: energy from the vineyards in Umbria

Sustainable wine: energy from the vineyards in Umbria

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Sustainability, hospitality and culture: all in a glass of wine, and not only. It is the singular case Lungarotti, in Torgiano, in Umbria, where the winery that for years has staked everything on sustainability, from the vineyard to the cellar. The foundation that was born also carries out projects to compensate and reduce the CO2 emissions produced and boasts 5 weather stations for climate monitoring and for controlling the vital parameters of the vineyards.

1) Wineries that create an integrated promotion system: how? When was the Foundation born and for what purpose?

Inspired by the French Routes du vin, already in the 1960s we designed tasting points and other initiatives aimed at encouraging wine tourism; in 1974 the Wine Museum. In 1978 the Resort Le Tre Vaselle, which combines the trinomial wine, culture, hospitality; in 1980, in the center of Torgiano, the Osteria del Museo (tasting and sales point) and La Spola (high craftsmanship shop) and, in the 1990s, the farmhouses of Poggio alle Vigne; the Olive and Oil Museum (2000) and the bellaUve wine therapy spa (2010). The Foundation was born after the Wine Museum and many themed exhibitions organized: directed by Maria Grazia Lungarotti, it serves as an institutional figure in support of the knowledge of wine as a cultural and territorial inspiration.

2) Which companies does your supply chain include?

Various types: vineyard for the production of grapes, cellar for processing and marketing. There are also those involved in integrated culture and hospitality, even in the cellar, with guided tours and tastings. The oil farms are located between Torgiano and Montefalco, there are 5, then there are vineyards and olive groves and other crops that allow the use of labor even at different times of the agricultural year.

The Balsameria, for the production of Balsamic Condiment according to the traditional method of balsamic vinegar, also belongs to the Lungarotti Agricultural Company. For tourism businesses, there are different ones, from resorts to farmhouses, for the cultural side, the aforementioned Lungarotti Foundation, MUVIT (Wine Museum) and MOO (Olive and Oil Museum).

3) When did you start evaluating the eco-sustainability of cellar grapes?

The respect for the environment has always characterized us and the techniques for safeguarding have been refined over time. Choices inspired by obtaining the best quality grapes without stressing the plant or the soil, together with the defense of the environment, not using herbicides or chemical fertilizers. We use organic fertilizers that help improve the supply of organic matter and the structure of the soil. During the growing season, a light tillage of the soil under the row to eliminate weeds allows the roots to go deep into the soil to search for water and nutrients and thus the plant is more resistant in case of drought. The maintenance of the dirt roads and the cleaning of the ditches guarantee the water flow natural groves the reproduction of wildlife, especially avian, excellent adjuvant in biological control.

4) Do you also carry out similar initiatives in the other farms of the Foundation?

In the direction of sustainability, also in the cellar we implement choices consistent with it and, together with the other member companies of IGM (Institute of Italian quality wine Grandi Marchi), we develop projects to offset our CO2 emissions. We recover glass and paper scraps and, in the Enoteca, used corks.

5) Do you have weather stations: what data do they provide? what are they for?

For over 15 years we have adhered to the agro-environmental measures of the European Community, and introduced 5 weather stations in the 5 micro-zones in which the company differs, so as to be able to minimize treatments in the vineyard. There are many climatic parameters monitored: air and soil temperature and humidity, wind (wind direction and speed), rain, solar radiation, leaf wetness. For the aforementioned environmental measures for treatments against plant diseases we use products defined as "unclassified", with low environmental impact.

6) Do you have a biomass plant: since when?

The first of production of renewable energy from vine pruning waste, already in 2006. Having completed the testing phase of the machinery and good practices, we inaugurated the pilot plant in 2008. The residues collected in round bales, stored outdoors until their natural drying and then crushed to be burned in a boiler of 400 KW of power, allow us self-sufficiency in the production of hot water for the production of useful heat in the winter for heating some departments (malolactic fermentation in barriques, warehouses, offices), and steam, managing to make savings of 100 tons / year of CO2.

We are able to produce 720 MWh / year, i.e. hot water at 80 ° C for winter heating and superheated water at 95 ° C for the production of steam for the sterilization of the bottling machine and the washing of barrels and barriques. Furthermore, thanks to a particular thermal inverter, we are able to produce cold water at 7 ° C for the production of air conditioning and chilled water for controlling fermentation temperatures and in the hot months. An implementation of the project, together with an optimization of uses and insulation of the structure, will result in a significant reduction in consumption, to the extent of at least 50% compared to the initial situation. Once the entire project is fully operational, the plant will also allow a 68% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

7) on the organic farming front: I read that since the 2014 harvest therewill be certified organic: can you explain better what they will consist of?

In the Montefalco Estate, thanks to the fact that the vineyards are grouped around the winery, we have chosen to adopt organic farming practices, a choice that involves a period of 3 years of conversion: starting from the 2014 harvest, therefore, the Lungarotti wines from the Montefalco Estate they will be officially "bio" certified.

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