Sustainability in the wine industry is a major focus for many wineries and is continually growing its presence throughout wineries around the world. When Katarina of Grapevine Adventures broached the topic for this month’s Italian Food, Wine and Travel theme it was the perfect time to dig in and understand what sustainability really is and what it means to individual wineries in Italy.
This week I attended a virtual tasting hosted by IEEM and the Consorzio per la Tutela dell’Asti
DOCG led by Jeff Porter. Being a lover of wines with a touch of
sweetness as well as dessert wines this was right up my alley.
The Wine Region ~ Moscato d’Asti
To take a step back before we dig into sustainability at the winery, Michele Chiarlo, that I’m featuring today let’s highlight the Moscato d’Asti wine region of Piedmont in northwestern Italy. This area was delimited at the end of the 19th century. It's surrounded by the Tanaro and Bormida Rivers and at the North lies the town of Asti. Moscato d’Asti
was established as a DOCG in 1994 containing 51 villages mostly within the Asti province.
The Grape ~ Moscato Bianco
If you’re not familiar with the Moscato Bianco grape it’s a highly aromatic grape with floral and fruity notes. Moscato d’Asti is a slightly sparkling wine with a mild effervescence requiring a low alcohol level of 4.5-6% at about 2.5 bars of pressure. In comparison, Asti Spumante requires a higher alcohol at about 6-8% with a minimum 3.5 bars of pressure.
The Moscato Bianco grape is an important varietal to the region of Piedmont. It’s the most widely planted white grape in Piedmont. Jeff brought up at that tasting that there was a statute back in 1511 that required all wineries to dedicate at least 1/5 of all their vineyards to be planted with Moscato Bianco. Refusing to do so resulted in fines, demonstrating the importance of this grape in the culture of the region.
|Copyright of Michele Chiarlo
Originally established in 1956, Michele Chiarlo has been producing Moscato d’Asti for over 40 years. Their vineyards lie at a variety of altitudes. The soil is rich in white sand along with sedimentary marine origin. The climate mostly consists of warm days followed by cool nights.
|Copyright of Michele Chiarlo
As Alberto Chiarlo quotes on their site “sustainability is tenderness”. Michele Chiarlo
winery is part of the VIVA sustainability project and as of 2016 all
their grand crus are VIVA certified. The VIVA project was piloted in
2011 and Michele Chiarlo was one of the first members. Its
mission is focused on preservation through the entire production chain
protecting both the landscape where the vines grow and the heritage of
the wine regions. They look to lessen the environmental impact from
beginning to end including lowering carbon footprint and CO2 emissions
at wineries, managing waste pollution and water consumption along with
soil management to name a few.
Michele Chiarlo practices sustainability through a number of ways mentioned on their site:
- Utilizing organic fertilizers
- Reducing soil erosion
- Eliminating weeding
- Enhancing flora and micro-organisms within the soil
- Protecting against insects using pheromone dispensers
- Replacing wood packaging with recyclable cardboard
- Reconstructing their façade of the winery with a green cover for cleaner air
I sampled the 2019 Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti DOCG. Nivole is grown in Canelli, one of the major subzones for Moscato d'Asti. A florally fragrance with aromas of peach and apricot. I tasted a couple different Moscato d’Asti for this virtual tasting and the Nivole was more rich and creamy with notes of orange and stone fruits. A beautiful finesse with soft bubbles. At half bottle size (375ml) this wine retails about $11-12. For me it’s the perfect way to end a meal. ABV 4.9% Drink these wines fresh and enjoy!
There is so much to learn about sustainability and it's affect on climate change and our group of wine writers have much more to share. If you catch us in time we will be chatting live about sustainability and climate change this Saturday on Twitter at #ItalianFWT @ 11amEST.
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla takes inspiration from Sicily in Pasta alla Norma + Tasca d’Almerita Lamuri Nero d’Avola Sicilia 2016.
- Terri from Our Good Life shares the article Che Fico: A Wine that Supports Sustainability in Italy.
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass heads to Alto Adige with Alois Lageder – Driven to Create Wines in Harmony with Nature.
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator posts her Interview: Antonella Manuli’s and Lorenzo Corino’s Patented Method + Wines, Lasagna, and Dogs.
- Lynn from Savor the Harvest answers How the Ricci Curbastro Estate In Franciacorta Tackles theSustainability Question.
- Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles explores the question Climate Change, Finding Sustainable Italian Wines and Why You should Care.
- Susannah from Avvinare tells us more about Sicily with Tasca d’Amerita, A Longstanding Focus on Sustainability.
- Nicole from Somm’s Table looks closer atA Sustainable Sampler Pack with Umani Ronchi.
- Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen shares Italy’s First Vegan Certified Winery.
- Then our host Katarina at Grapevine Adventures will talk about Torre Bisenzio where Authenticity And Quality Is All About Sustainability.