Francesco and Pauline are young winemakers in Nizza Monferrato, the heart of the Asti hills which is a UNESCO heritage site. They have finally fulfilled their dream of opening a farm and producing their own wine. Starting in winter 2016/17, they took over a semi-abandoned farmhouse where the vineyards had not undergone intensive agriculture for years. The perfect conditions for them to undertake this project.
All vineyards are maintained completely by hand, and the grapes are selected and simply accompanied to the cellar during harvest season without adding any additives.
In compliance with organic and biodynamic agricultural practices, they only use copper and sulfur foliar sprays when needed to prevent vine diseases and molds. Furthermore, they almost solely rely on the techniques of green manure that are largely inspired by the theories and practices of Fukuoka - a Japanese farmer and philosopher celebrated for his natural farming practices.
The cellar was born from the ashes of what was once the stable of the property. Completely restored now, the semi-underground and insulated cellar, follows the seasonal temperatures naturally without stressing the wine and preventing its natural evolution. Their company seeks a holistic approach in order to create an ecosystem that allows them to maintain a low anthropic impact - an example for many to follow.
Their words read:
'the sensation of feeling alien to a certain idea of agriculture and a sense of duty towards the plant and to the ecosystem that surrounds us. Foreigners, in respect to a lifestyle, far from concrete walls, we have found our home in all that we can learn from a plant and the link to its territory. The choice was clear and determined, driven by motivations beyond rationality and entrepreneurship.
Becoming a peasant today is much more of an intuition. It’s a selfless feeling that it is one of the few ways to have a sense of community, to find redemption, and to be able to repay nature with the only thing it asks for in return: its protection.
The practical approach to this circular agricultural lifestyle, although tiring, is quite simple. We do nothing but support the balance we are already witnessing. It’s a closing the cycle of creation and destruction of biological life within our ecosystem.
We make use of science and technology with common sense, maintaining an experimental approach. We strive to understand from year to year and from vine to vine which type of interventions are more effective and less impactful.
In the cellar, we employ the use of new pumps and machinery rather than synthetic interventions in wine. In an effort not to frustrate all that the earth has given us, and all we’d asked for, throughout the year.'
This is a philosophy that we find so incredibly profound at TERRA. The way Francesco and Pauline view their work together with nature is exactly with the Philosophy that TERRA stands for. They are an example to many and we thank them for their work.
Nizza Monferrato is located in the Alto Monferrato, in the core areas of the UNESCO heritage zone. The area located in the Province of Asti has been selected within the DOCG territory of the Barbera grape variety. It has been cultivated for over 500 years in the Piemonte region of Italy, enclosing in its perimeter the most significant territorial portion of the grapes production: the cultural and landscape system of Barbera d'Asti.
In the context of Nizza Monferrato being considered the capital of Barbera, Tenuta Foresto is located in one of the largest "cru’s" of this grape variety. The company area is about 8 hectares, 6 of which are planted with vines, while the rest of the woods surround and protect the entire vineyard.
This ecosystem of woods, ponds and vineyards, unfortunately increasingly rare, creates the ideal conditions for closing the circle of our agriculture.
This balance has allowed us to support the formation of humus and microbiological fauna. Insects and animals, in turn, balance the course of the seasons.
The soil is mainly clayey limestone and the southern slope of the hill is characterized by a strip of tuff typical of the Alto Monferrato.
At TERRA we have a great respect for the way Francesco & Pauline work, we have that for all our partners. But the profound philosophy that Tenuta Foresto carries our into the world goes very deep and it alignes very much so with what we stand for at TERRA. Try their wines, and be able to taste, share and enjoy that incredible philosophy yourself.