Sustainability and Innovation | Sustainable Winery | Umberto Cesari

Sustainability and innovation

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The road to quality requires
respect for man and nature

Wine cannot be made without exercising respect—respect for nature, respect for its fruits, and respect for those who will enjoy those gifts. For this reason, in our practice of agriculture, we follow the tenets of the Integrated Crop Management National Quality System (SQNPI), which is directed towards values that we believe are important, such as sustainability and innovation. These principles inspire and guide us to utilise the most up-to-date technologies, hand-in-hand with generations-old traditions, in making our wine. For us, innovation means not simply novel practices and development, but awareness and conscience in utilising that innovation. As a consequence, we drew up a code of ethics that directs all our activities and the individuals involved in them, in accord with principles of legality, social responsibility, and sustainable innovation.  

VINEYARDS

Grapevines require knowledge, patience, and dedication.  We cover-crop our vineyards to protect the soil from erosion and degradation, and to ensure at the same time a good level of biodiversity. In every stage of the growth cycle, we adopt “best practices,” always totally natural, to ensure to every vine good health and an optimal micro-environment for its life and crop.

SUSTAINABLE VITICULTURE

To keep our vineyards in the best of health, we utilise plant-based products, which reduces residues in both the SQNPI-certified vineyards, as well in those farmed organically.

In order to ensure soil vitality, we utilise vermicompost, organic fertilisers, organo-mineral compounds, and mycorrhizae. Increased use of these elements, all totally natural and sustainable, results in healthier vines, with respect to parasites and diseases, and better-quality grapes.

To minimise recourse to irrigation and to simultaneously reduce fertiliser applications, we utilise zeolite; less water means a healthier and better-balanced environment. 

To assist our daily efforts in the vineyard, we utilise the most up-to-date monitoring systems. Weather stations can report on the status of the microclimate of each individual vineyard block. In tandem with these, we use vigour maps, created in collaboration with the University of Tuscia; each map enables us to understand the real-time needs of each vineyard and then to supply nourishment in line with the precise needs of each single block. In the period leading up to the harvest, readings of these maps can guide our grape-sampling programme, aimed at ascertaining the progress of ripening curves and at organising harvesting operations. 

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1. What is vermicompost?

Vermicompost is an innovative, absolutely natural compost that harnesses the ability of California red worms to digest natural fertiliser and transform it into super-nutrients that make vines healthier, stronger, and able to produce better-quality fruit. It is also a local product, because it was created by a start-up here in our area.  

2. What are mycorrhizae?

Mycorrhizae are absolutely natural fungi that, working in a symbiotic relationship with the vine’s root system, give the vine greater access to nutrients and at the same time improved resistance to pathogens. Further, use of mycorrhizae encourages a more efficient ripening of the grapes. 

3. What is zeolite?

Zeolite is a totally natural, pulverised rock that when applied directly to soil absorbs its excess water, which, in some wet seasons, can favour the proliferation of fungi and parasites harmful to the vine.

WINE CELLAR

In our winemaking, our commitment to sustainability and to innovation continues unabated, two factors essential to producing wines that are of the highest quality possible and are expressive of their terroir.

CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY

To achieve that, we utilise the Selectiv’ Process Winery, an innovative piece of equipment, consisting of several components, including a linear de-stemmer with sorting table and, for some grapes,  an optical selector, that, overall, gives us wines with improved definition and character and, therefore, with better expression of their area of origin.

Even in the successive processing stages, winemaking practices and experience are invaluably supplemented by advanced technology, in the use, for example, of: 

  • Extractive 2 Dynamic De-stemmer that extracts from the grape just the best juice
  • Pneumatic press with nitrogen/CO2 injection to prevent oxidation
  • Fermenters with computer-controlled chilling mechanisms

During the maturation period, too, Umberto Cesari continues with innovation, utilising various materials, in addition to oak and steel. We introduced the Galileo tanks made of lightweight concrete and amphorae made of cocciopesto, fashioned with modern methods.

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1. What is the Selectiv’ Process Winery?

A linear selector with sorting table can eliminate cluster stems, which, if they remain in the winemaking process, can impart excessive tannicity to a wine. The optical selector—an object of pride for Umberto Cesari since we are one of only a very few wineries in Italy to employ this methodology—selects the berries with surgical precision, on the basis of their level of ripeness; only the berries displaying perfect ripeness go into our ultra-premium wines.   

2. What is the Extractive 2 Dynamic De-stemmer?

The Extractive 2 Dynamic De-stemmer represents an entirely new concept in pressing.  It breaks open the berries, then, through centrifugal force, with its regulatable velocity, allows them to remain adhering to the lateral wall of the device, so that the grape skins are not fragmented. In addition, it opens the berry in a non-destructive fashion, based on its level of ripeness, making possible an efficient extraction of the must, polyphenols, and aromatic compounds, which, in turn, means the fashioning of wines of unprecedented complexity and quality.

3. What are Galileo tanks?

The spherical, lightweight concrete Galileo tanks promote an ideal maturation of the wine, thanks to the internal convection currents that their shape generates. In addition, these tanks allow a significantly effective temperature control, since the surface of thermal exchange with the wine involves the entire surface of the vat.

4. What are amphorae?

Amphorae, constructed with a mixture of sand and brick fragments, make it possible, through their centuries-old shape, to deepen a wine’s aromatics.

HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT


In addition to producing terroir wines, we are committed to reducing CO2 emissions. One component of this strategy is the use of Amorim natural corks, which have less impact on the environment. Another component is lighter bottles: we have reduced the weight of the glass by 20% over recent years, which leads to reduced emissions both in producing the bottles and in transportation. Valuing the environment means reducing our footprint on it.   

ETHICAL CODE


In addition to all the efforts we are making—and will continue to make—to respect the values of sustainability and innovation in every step we take, we also decided to create and respect an internal code of ethics. That document is of essential importance to us, since it addresses problems that confront us every day related to ethics, organization, and management decisions.