Nearly 50 percent more grapes harvested than last year. The result of careful interventions and fertilization in full compliance with organic farming. Now fermentations are underway in large vats. The novelty of a brut sparkling wine for the 50th Anniversary of Loppiano Prima Cooperative.
The formidable duo of cooks had arrived a few days earlier for the necessary supplies. The generous harvest volunteers had occupied the lodgings in Tracolle over Sunday. So on Monday, September 5, at 8:00 a.m., the 2022 harvest began in Loppiano. . The harvest began with white grapes, from Chardonnay to Muller. Two technical innovations were adopted. The first was the use of 8-10 kilogram capacity crates, which the harvesters filled and then carefully placed on the tractor trailer, preventing the grapes from being crushed and undergoing fermentation from the very beginning.
The second novelty was the adoption of a technique that avoids going through the destemmer-crusher and adjusts the pneumatic press to a calibration that allows the white grapes to be softly crushed, thus increasing the quality of the wine. With the second week we moved on to the red grapes, starting with Sangiovese, and then continued with the other grape varieties, from Cabernet to Merlot.
The quantity of grapes harvested was very relevant, “amounting to 50 percent more than last year, albeit with 10 percent less vineyard,” Luigi Castiglioni, chairman of Fattoria 4.0’s , board of directors who succeeded Dario Petrucci a few weeks ago, tells us. “It’s a sign of the careful work performed, ” he explains, “and of fertilization, ,with the usual great attention to compliance with organic farming protocol.” The abundant harvest encouraged the sale of the harvested grapes for the first time to a private winery to the extent of 35 percent of the total. The fencing of the vineyards, with electric wires to stop wild boars, was also particularly helpful.
The great heat and hail were two deterrents. To avoid overheating the white grapes in particular, kaolin was used, which, by whitening the bunches, reduced the impact of the sun’s rays. The hailstorm in August came just at the least opportune time, that is, when we were nearing harvest and the grapes were turgid with sugars. These sugars, leaking from the splits in the berries, form the basis for the emergence of mold. The use of zeolite, which has the property of drying the splits, produced excellent results, safeguarding the clusters from mold even afterwards, despite the numerous rains.
And the quality? “A good product, despite the heavy downpours,” Castiglioni says with a hint of pride. “For the winemaker, the production is of excellent quality and fermentations in the large vats are proceeding well. At the end of the fermentations, the wine will be checked by the winemaker and an analytical institute. The white wines have increased in production by 30 percent. These are: Il Magnificat, Eletto and, in handy 5-liter bag packages, Bianco Toscano Igt which will all be available in February-March of next year.
The reds such as Chianti Docg, Terraio and Rosso Toscano Igt. in 5-liter bags will be ready almost simultaneously. A first fruit is linked to celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Loppiano Prima Cooperative in May 2023, with the creation of a brut sparkling wine. It is made from Sangiovese (red) grapes, vinified in white, through a soft pneumatic press crushing that allows to obtain a “mosto” only slightly pink. We can’t wait to taste it.