Vitenova is the agronomic consultancy company for wineries. We are a team of agronomists, biologists and naturalists who collaborate to assist wine estates in their production according to standards of respect and environmental sustainability.
We operate in Italy and abroad in order to develop tailor-made solutions for wineries, to safeguard and enhance their heritage, made up of land, vines and biodiversity: only in this way it is possible to obtain the best results in terms of quantity and quality.
The path we propose aims to analytically identify the characteristics of the land, the vines and the agro-ecosystem, the so-called wineries’ terroir, to correctly guide the agronomic choices from the plant to the management of the vineyard.
To further examine some agronomic and environmental topics, we are collaborating with universities, research institutions and highly specialized laboratories for several years.
When each element of an ecosystem is in balance, even if it’s dynamic by its nature, a state of harmony is obtained, which affects the well-being of the vine and therefore the quality of its production.
Analyzing every single element to define the essence and peculiarity of the territory means enhancing it as a whole.
We are a group of naturalists, agronomists and biologists: we work throughout the country to assist wine producers and their wine estates, as well as farmers to cultivate in harmony with nature.
Stefano Zaninotti graduated in “Agricultural Sciences” at the University of Udine in 1997. The thesis presented concerned “the monitoring of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in two vineyards at risk of pollution”. From 2001 to 2007 he was responsible for the viticulture sector for the multinational nutrition company “Phosyn”; where he could deepen all the physiological and interaction aspects between soil, vines, grapes and wine, with the main wine producers of Italy, Spain and Portugal. In recent years he has developed innovative techniques for the use of nutrients according to the recognition of physiological imbalances in the vine, and the needs of quality in grapes and wines. In 2008 he created “Vitenova”, an agronomic consultancy company that collaborates with important Italian wineries. Stefano Zaninotti’s collaboration with the wine estates focuses on the ability of the individual vineyard to express its maximum potential, in terms of productivity, quality of grapes and wine as well.
In 2009 he created the so-called method “EVO Analysis”, an innovative way of organizing data from the agronomic analyzes of soil, leaves, stalks and grapes; it allows to compare the conditions of the vineyards of a single winery in the same year, as well as the conditions for the same vineyard in different years.
In 2010 he began a collaboration with the biologist Irene Franco Fernandez, of the University of Udine, which led him to deepen the knowledge and analyze soil biodiversity through the measurement of microbial biomass. In 2012, thanks to the meeting with VinNatur, he began the experimentation process on the Biological Fertility of the soil that led him to realize, with the help of the computer scientist Nicola Rovere, a model of neural networks for the estimation of biomass in 2016.
In 2013 he met Cristiano Francescato and Costanza Uboni, respectively botanist and entomologist, with whom he created new types of approaches to monitor and measure biodiversity in the vineyard. Several wineries and the Association VinNatur begin a new way of observing, knowing and monitoring biodiversity; this same information, revised by the agronomic part, will then be useful to improve vineyard management techniques, increasing the quality of grapes and wine while respecting nature even more.
In 2017 he began his collaboration with Stefano Amadeo, agronomist and partner of Vitenova, with whom he develops and deepens new international collaborations, in Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Peru, Argentina and California. The collaboration with Stefano Amadeo will allow them to increase research and collaborations with various institutes such as IGA – Institute of Applied Genetics of Udine, CREA (Conegliano, Rome, Gorizia) and the E. Mach Foundation of San Michele all’Adige.
Stefano Amadeo was born in Trieste in 1976.
Coming from a family of agronomists and naturalists for several generations, he graduated in Agricultural Science and Technology (specialization in Biotechnology) at the University of Udine in 2003, working on an experimental thesis with prof. Michele Morgante on the differential expression of genes and its implications for plants. In 2006 he passed the admission exam at the Italian National Order of Agronomists and Foresters, to which he is still enrolled.
Stefano collaborated with numerous estates in Friuli Venezia Giulia until he became, in 2007, the agronomic manager of Jermann, one of the most important Italian wineries, with vineyards in Italy and abroad. Thanks to this role, held for more than 10 years, he was able to deal with the cultivation of the vine in all its phases, both from a technical-scientific and operational point of view, as well as being able to visit and study the main international viticultural terroirs. 2011 he decided to ban the use of herbicides in the winery and since 2013 he undertakes, together with his friend and researcher Dr. Cristiano Francescato, an innovative path of evaluation and interpretation of the spontaneous flora of the vineyards, revolutionizing the management of the wineries’ grassing.
The intense motivation to continue broadening the horizons of his agronomic activity led him in 2017 to join his path with that of his colleague Stefano Zaninotti, with whom he shared the holistic vision of agronomy, becoming a partner and administrator of Vitenova, a company of agronomic consultancy (founded in 2008 by Zaninotti himself) which collaborates with Italian and foreign wineries.
For years he has been teaching and coaching activities for wineries, organizations and technicians in collaboration with various Italian institutions on issues related to sustainable and low-impact viticulture (organic, biodynamic, etc.).
He also carried out studies on precision viticulture and developing a project which was published in 2014 by INEA (National Institute of Agricultural Economics), and subsequently he applied it directly to the winery.
Stefano participated in several studies about biological fertility and about site-specific microbiological characteristics of some viticultural soils of the Collio, carried out in collaboration with CREA – RPS – Research Center for the study of the relationships between plants and soil in Rome (Dr.ss Anna Benedetti and Loredana Canfora).
He collaborated also in the European project “PATHOGEN” on vine viruses, together with CREA in Susegana and the French Institute of Vine and Wine at Le Grau du Roi.
In the last few years he focused in particular on issues concerning alternatives to chemical weeding, grassing, the biological and integrated management of pests and plant diseases, the study and improvement of the biological fertility of soils and botanical-entomological biodiversity, as well as that of agronomic management in wineries and conservative pruning techniques.
Cristiano Francescato graduated in Natural Sciences at the University of Trieste, where he also obtained a PhD in “Biomonitoring of environmental alteration”. He spent the first years of work in university research, especially in the areas regarding floristic and vegetation studies. Then, he examined these issues, particularly in the application phase, participating in numerous monitoring projects on environmental restoration both nationally and internationally. Cristiano specialized then in the segment of environmental assessments such as Impact Assessments (VIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA). Thanks to the II Level University Master in “Territorial information systems and remote sensing” he carried out Landscape Ecology analyses at different territorial scales for the evaluation of environmental quality.
Since 2013, Cristiano collaborates with Vitenova to research with an agroecological approach the evaluation and management of vineyards to maximize biodiversity and environmental sustainability. His activity takes place mainly in the vineyards where he collects information about the presence and abundance of the different plants that populate the vineyards. This means he is using these environmental indicators to add further cognitive information on the vineyard ecosystem and, subsequently, developing the best strategies for the management of natural herbaceous cover crops. The continuous dialogue with the agronomic part of the group, constituted by Stefano Zaninotti and Stefano Amadeo, makes it possible to extract the information related to this component of the vineyard and make it more understandable and also better usable for the farmer.
Based on the type of spontaneous vegetation management, monitoring plans are implemented to check the response of plants to the various activities applied. This means, for example, to try to identify the species that may have negative interference with the vine or that indicate particular characteristics of the soil (compaction, excess in nitrogen, poor drainage, etc.). Thanks to the information provided by the plants it is then possible to optimize, together with other data, the choices related to mowing, fertilization and soil tillage.
Thanks to the presence of an entomologist, there is a continuous exchange of experiences in the team that allows them to correlate the presence of arthropods with the spontaneous vegetation present in the vineyard. Very often a high floristic biodiversity also corresponds to a considerable diversity of the insect component. The greater the diversity of the biotic community is present in the vineyard, the more the balance and the ability of the vineyard to react to any parasitic attacks are safeguarded.
Another activity that Cristiano completes within Vitenova is that of managing data relating to the various analyses that are carried out: soil, leaf, petiole and grape. Thanks to the experience gained also with the data management during his university researches, through the design and implementation of databases, he collects and organizes the various information obtained and shares them with the team. This operation allows the various specialists to have all the collected information that allows them a better planning of the agronomic activities to maximize biodiversity and environmental sustainability.
Costanza Uboni, after her scientific high school diploma, enrolled in a three-year degree in “Natural Sciences” and then a specialist degree in “Recovery, Management and Enhancement of Natural Heritage” at the University of Trieste.
After her graduation, she won a scholarship co-financed by the European Social Fund which allowed her to continue her studies with an inter-university Trieste-Udine PhD, during which she specialized in the use of various insect groups as bio-indicators of the quality of the environment. During and after her studies, she won scholarships that allowed her to deepen her knowledge in the zoological and ecological fields abroad, specifically in Switzerland, Slovenia, England, Sweden and Germany.
Costanza collaborates with Vitenova since 2013, the year when they began to investigate the interesting role of entomofauna within the vineyards, paying particular attention to the ecological and trophic role of groups of arthropods present in the vineyard ecosystem. This is because we believe that an eco-sustainable vineyard is a vineyard that manages to self-regulate and stays in balance while preserving and enriching its uniqueness, which also derives from its natural and naturalistic characteristics, and limiting in this way the use of pesticides to the maximum. Costanza often collaborates with the botanist of Vitenova Cristiano Francescato to ensure a continuous exchange of experiences that allows them to relate the presence of arthropods with the natural vegetation of the vineyard and therefore monitoring its biodiversity.
Giacomo Nunin was born in Palmanova on March 4th in 1994 and lives in Viscone, a small town in the province of Udine. Fascinated by nature and viticulture from an early age, he enrolled at the Agricultural Technical Institute of Cividale del Friuli, where he graduated as a wine technician in 2014. This first training course, lasting six years, was enriched by the first practical experiences in the vineyard and by an internship in a wine cellar in the territory of the famous Brunello di Montalcino production. After graduating, he worked as a cellarman in the Collio Goriziano and, after the harvest, he enrolled in the three-year degree course in Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Udine. In 2016 he worked as an intern in a small winery in Lessona, in Upper Piedmont. He graduated with an experimental thesis about “Agronomical techniques applied in a vineyard of Nebbiolo to solve the low productivity due to low pH” in July 2017.
Before continuing with his university career, he moved to California for five months, where he worked as a “Cellar hand” in St. Helena, Napa Valley. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies at the University of Udine in December 2019. The thesis brought up for discussion, entitled “Influence of various sulfur-based formulations on phytophages of the vine and their natural enemies”, was created in collaboration with Vitenova in an organic vineyard in the Colli Berici. As certified consultant in the sector of phytosanitary products and as a freelancer since 2018, he works as a “technician” at the Consorzio Tutela Vini Collio and the Consortium of D.O.C. F.V.G. (Area Carso), where he deals with territorial monitoring of adversity of the vine and the weekly drafting of integrated defense bulletins.
From 2018 to 2019 he participated as a technician in the Interreg Agrotur II project, a data collection activity through the precise monitoring of the main phytophages and pathogens of the vine aimed at the creation of low environmental impact defense lines in the vineyards Carso Area.
He recently obtained the qualification to practice the profession of Agronomist.
Since 2019 he has collaborated with Vitenova on both Italian and foreign projects, focusing in particular on aspects related to the integrated and biological defense of the vineyard.
Erica Magnis, born in 1993, has been passionate about agriculture since she was a child and has had clear ideas about her future since primary school. She graduated as an agricultural expert with a curriculum in nursery gardening and protected crops in 2012 at the Agricultural Technical Institute in Cividale del Friuli. For a few years after graduation, he dedicated himself to the family farm and social activities.
In 2015 he enrolled in a post-diploma course in “Rural Land Management Techniques” and thanks to a work experience in a wine consulting company he became passionate about the world of GIS, IT, data management and wine. In 2018-2019, he was in charge of data management and reporting for the “Intereg Agrotur II” project, where he met Giacomo Nunin.
After this experience lasted 4 years, in 2021 she decided to deepen her knowledge in the world of wine and enrolled in a course on “Techniques of marketing and production of alcoholic beverages”. This led her to gain experience in a winery located in the Colli Orientali del Friuli, first following the communication-sales part and later working in the cellar during the grape harvests. From 2020, he starts collaborating with some wineries in the area to manage social and corporate communication.
Between 2021 and 2022 he takes further courses in visual communication, visual branding and photography in the food&beverage field, while he continues to work as a freelance wine technician collaborating with the UNIDOC Consortium of Friuli Venezia Giulia and several regional companies.
At the end of 2022, he joins the world of Vitenova, dealing mainly with data management and reporting relating to the various analyses carried out for the various projects, as well as the implementation and development of new operational and management approaches.
Francesca Fantoni was born in Pisa in 1978.
After graduating in Philosophy at the University of Pisa in 2002, she moved to Germany. There, she worked on research projects at the Friedrich-Schiller Universität and obtained a PhD in Germanistics in 2008 with a thesis on the dithyramb in German literature.
He later decided to leave academic life and devoted himself to web marketing, taking specialisation courses and working for web agencies in Pisa and Livorno. In particular, he deals with international SEO (Italian, German and English) and copywriting, the creation of websites on WordPress and the social management of client companies.
In 2012, he opened his own blog, conceived as a personal project of in-depth study and experimentation both from the SEO point of view and in terms of writing cooking-related content. Also during this period, he became an AIS sommelier at the Lucca delegation and continued to specialise in digital food & wine communication, both creating websites and writing articles for various sites.
He then worked for a small winery in the province of Pisa, where he first met Stefano Amadeo and Stefano Zaninotti, who were following a project in the vineyard. During these years, he began to explore and love the world of artisanal wines and attended various wine fairs, such as Vinnatur, Back to the Wine, Borderwine, FIVI, etc. He becomes passionate about this world of wine, which is parallel to the world of big business, and especially about the stories and experiences of winemakers and winegrowers, thanks to which he learns a lot.
In 2020, she attended the Master’s course ‘Italian Wine and International Markets’ at the Scuola Superiore S. Anna in Pisa, dedicated to viticulture, oenology and wine legislation, wine marketing and promotion, and communication and analysis of international markets. This allows her to reflect on the position of artisanal wines in the contemporary wine world, both from a commercial and digital marketing point of view and from a philosophical point of view.
She chose to do her Master’s internship in Bra, at the editorial office of Slow Wine, where she worked on the 2020 edition of the guide. He then worked for a year in Slow Food’s digital communication office, dealing mainly with SEO, DEM and copywriting for Slow Food projects such as “Orti in Africa”, “Presìdi Slow Food”, “Arca del gusto” and “Terra Madre”.
In 2021 he moved to Florence and started working at a wine e-commerce. Since June 2022 he has been in charge of Vitenova’s digital communication.