Zoning and characterizazion
Zoning and characterizazion of the Tedeschis’ vineyards
““We have unveiled the character of each of our vines, and now know how to manage them” Riccardo Tedeschi”
Over the last 3 years the Tedeschi family have carried out zoning and vineyard characterization studies on their Maternigo estate and the vineyards in the Valpolicella Classica area.
Zoning, the study of the soil of the vineyards, has been long indicated as the starting point for quality viticulture. Even so, few wineries to date have undertaken this path, which is difficult and expensive, but does provide significant, permanent results. In most cases zoning studies are carried out by the Consorzi (farmers’ associations), and do not examine the single vineyards in detail, but rather limit themselves to explore the differences between the various areas of the appellation.The Tedeschi family have instead decided to carry out a zoning study in all the vineyards of Maternigo, an estate bought in 2006 where 31 hectares were planted with Corvina and Corvinone as well as Rondinella and Oseleta. When Riccardo started the study he asked himself, “Once the various zones are de- fined, will managing those that present the same characteristics in the same way be sufficient?”. In other words, in areas with the same soil characteristics, will the vines behave in the same way, or not?
To answer this question, the zoning study at Maternigo was flanked by a characterization study. Characterization analyzes the soil and measures how the vines express themselves from a vegetative standpoint. Once the differences have been identified, it is possible to tailor vine management to obtain uniform vegetative and productive development throughout the entire vineyard area, with obvious benefits for the quality of the wines. The zoning and characterization studies at Maternigo took two years, from 2010 through 2011, and upon their completion the Tedeschi family undertook similar studies in their vineyards in the Valpolicella Classico area, which includes the Monte Olmi vineyard, the source of the estate’s flagship Amarone.
In the meantime, the zoning study at Maternigo revealed 7 pedologically distinct areas with differing orientations, soils, organic matter contents, and drainage capa- cities. The characterization study also yielded interesting results, and the combining the results of the two studies has led to a number of important actions in the vineyards, which will be followed by others shortly.
The first result of the characterization study was the identification of the areas that require ground cover to contain vegetative growth. At the same time, a plan to monitor drought stress in the areas that turn out to be most at risk has been implemented. In the areas that instead require yearly increases in organic carbon content, particular herbs have been planted, and the soil has been enriched with organic fertilizers to enrich its organic matrix. Finally, in some areas that are at greater risk of infection, monitoring instruments have been installed. In particular, leaf-shaped sensors that measure humidity and leaf wetness have been placed in the vegetation to allow quick, precise action, with positive effects for environmental impact. Another step undertaken to avoid pathogen attacks is the measurement of the maximum distances between Maternigo’s spontaneous vegetation (the property boasts 53 hectares of woodland) and the centre points of the vineyards. Where the distance was deemed excessive, they considered planting spontaneous plants in gullies and other marginal areas to increase the natural defences of the vineyards.
In summary, the Maternigo property has been put under a magnifying glass, and the complex instrumentation it now boasts makes it a “thermometer” for the Valpolicella area, blazing a path others are certain to follow. The results of the studies and the actions taken give proof of the Tedeschi family’s commitment to science in the framework of modern quality winemaking, dedicated to obtaining the best from the indigenous Valpolicella varietals, the only varietals present in the Maternigo vineyards and in the Valpolicella Classica area.
The conclusion of the studies in the Valpolicella Classica area is an important milestone for our family, which have decided to publish the results in a pamphlet that also includes the vineyard maps generated by the studies.