Working on a Vineyard in Tuscany

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Wwoof Nina

Hi, I’m Nina!

I would like to talk about my experiences with Cosimo Maria Masini Wines.

Working on a vineyard in Tuscany means to direct the focus on the sun, the earth and the rain and working hand in hand with these elements.
That’s the reason why it is not possible to reach your calculated targets with your every day hard work, you are not able to plan – you cannot reach what you calculate! But: … it can be much more than you ever had expected – anyway the work with the natural elements is enjoyable!
There is an addiction of all factors which have influence in the quality of the vine plants in the vineyard. The biodynamic work with the wine and the grapes is very intense with full concentration on just one thing, that the wine plants stay healthy.
Because they are the sense , the huge factor of the existence of the farm Tenuta di Poggio.

I searched for something… (to be continued)
I was at the farm Cosimo Maria Masini for a few months and spend my time there to work, to live and to share with all the people there. Tenuta di Poggio SS. which produces the Cosimo Maria Masini wine is placed in between the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen: the Tuscany.
The farm consists of the Villa “La Selva” and two other buildings on a ca. 40 hectare big yard with lots of fields for different types of wine plants and olive trees.

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the garden of Tenuta di Poggio

The well maintained but not “over-maintained” garden landscape and the attention to all buildings and details, making out of this place a real paradise. During long and intense walks through the yard, you can find hided places which are behind the scenes (I mean, some corners the clients and visitors should not see: like compost places, space for construction machines and garbage sorting corners) and then you realize the real attention of exactly all details. Because also these spaces have a structure and all are well maintained – ALTHOUGH all these things are not needed at the moment. Even these spaces are presentable – if there was an interest for it from anyone.
That shows the general adjustment of the people on the Tenuta di Poggio, taking care of all things, how valuable they are and how they take care of every little part of the farm.

In the end bad language knowledge can help to understand MORE
I haven’t known much about vineyards and producing wine before, and I have never had deeper interest in that, too. Also my Italian wasn’t as good as they could explain me everything with its deeply details. But I think, in the end exactly this bad knowledge of language helped me, to understand the most necessary theme – between all the subtext – which is how to work practically with the plants. And I was able to concentrate myself more on how to handle the wine and the grapes that they still staying healthy.

Some of the most interesting things on your first working day are: when do I have to get up, how long do I have to work, and what do I have to do?
The conditions are clear: we have to begin early in the morning, because during the day the sun becomes so hot, that it is not possible to work under it. And this is actually the first weather factor which influences the work at the Tenuta di Poggio.
The second one is the rain. No work under rain! After raining your clothes immediately become wet because of the close body contact with the wine plants. Also the muddy and very slippery chalk earth sticks on your boots, so that you have to carry three more kilo on each foot through the fields.

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muddy shoes after work

Rain and Wetness are later generally good for the quantity of grapes, but they aren’t helpful for the quality and the taste concentration of the diverse redwine grapes Cosimo Maria Masini needs on the Azienda Agricola for the three special types of produced redwine.
The work on the fields consists of pruning the branches and working with the wireframes, which later have to help the plants carrying the heavy grapes.
On my first working day in the fields of Cosimo Maria Masini they explained in a tourist friendly English – and for emergency – with hands and feet, how to work and what is important during working.
First there was explained the guiding principle: circumspection!!

A plant needs care – biodynamic care
 The branches have to be treated with caution, so that later on the results for harvesting are more than acceptable. It depends on the type of wine plant how to handle the work, how many branches should remain so that the wine plant can concentrate with its full energy in the remained branches to increase the taste of the grapes. For this target the plant needs a well balanced nutrition. The biodynamic Azienda Agricola uses purely biologic products out of natural production to feed the plants and the soil. The fluid mixtures out of sulfur, cupper and cow manure were added by a sprayer directly on the plants or on the soil to the already natural occurring minerals. Cupper and sulfur were sprayed directly on the plant leafs before rain to protect them against fungal, which increases in wetness very well.

The soil is complemented with the product 500 (a special produced cow manure consisting of a mix of cow shit stored for a while in a cow horn underneath the ground) which is mixed into water and later is sprayed on the ground.

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product 500

The water mixing process is more than just mixing – it is a celebration. About an hour the mixture was dynamized in a special mixing machine with before warm water.

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mixing mashine

The added minerals help the plant in formate a healthier immune system and maintaining internal cell structures. These healthy cell structures are the most important difference between the biodynamic and the conventional agriculture.
Of course also in the biodynamic agriculture there is a need for quantity next to the quality of grapes. But the mixture of all tools to reach that target base on treating the plant and all facts around as healthy as you can.
To find out if the plant cell structures are healthy or not, you use the chromographie in which there is visible if the structures  show a steadily image.

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the 500 ceremony

Tasty wine
To produce a white wine like a red one, and to treat a red wine like a white one, that idea you have to have first. How much wine the cellar enjoyed at the evening of that idea, we don’t know. Anyway, at Cosimo Maria Masini they offer such very special treated and tasting wines. Not only that the quality of the grapes (because of the healthy treatment) is very good, also the harvesting and the pressing process are handmade and controlled very strictly. They collect and store the grapes in little 10 hectolitre big open plastic tons. So it is easier to control the quality and to have an overview over the different types of grapes for the wine production. The grapes were pressed manual in these barrels and later were produced in different kind of ways, depending on the product of wine.

… and I found
If you can see, I have learned a lot about biodynamic wine and a lot about how to treat the plants and to understand the process of this agriculture.
And I enjoyed much more than just this interest in production. It was the whole stay at this farm – being, living and sharing together with foreign people from all over the world, talking with hands and feet, being in a foreign country, being on my own sometimes, working together and learning every day about myself – which made a different person out of me. A luckier, and a more pleased person.
Many thanks!

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Thanks friends!

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