Giornate Vitenova 2023: viticulture today
The Giornate Vitenova 2023, held on 7-8 March in Tuscany at Castello di Albola, Biondi Santi-Il Greppo and Tenuta di Argiano, came to an end.
There was wide participation in the event by the wineries that collaborate with Vitenova to realise the idea of a conscious, innovative and holistic viticulture, where the strategies adopted in the vineyard are thought of as an investment of the present in the future and aimed at respecting nature.
Wineries from Italy and abroad participated (Tuscany, Veneto, Piedmont, Umbria, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily, Slovenia and Croatia).
The themes of the 2023 conference
The conference was opened by Stefano Zaninotti, who presented the new Vitenova database, followed by Stefano Amadeo, who spoke about the new Diversity Ark certification.
Vitenova’s new database will include more than 38,000 analysis data collected over the years, making it possible to compare both individual data and winery data with those in the database broken down by variety, year, territory, type of analysis, type of vineyard, type of management and many other indices. It will make it possible to know trends, averages, reference values over the years for the individual holding, comparing them with the territory or other areas, with varieties, etc. Finally it will be possible to evaluate analyses with respect to climatic trends (rainfall, temperature) and the type of agronomic management.
The certification ‘Diversity Ark. Producing together with nature’ is a new Certification Mark that is intended to be streamlined and free of bureaucratic complications. It allows an in-depth assessment of the viability and potential of the agro-ecosystem of farms in order to improve their management aimed at naturalness and excellence of production.
It stems from the desire to transfer knowledge and increase farmers’ and consumers’ awareness of tangible agro-ecological aspects that reflect on the health of the environment, the soil and the people who work in it.
The grapevine and the water deficit in the example of the 2022 season
To explain the behaviour of the plant Sivilotti used an increasingly central and topical concept: ‘resilience’. Resilience is defined as the ability to resist and react in the face of difficulties and adversity, in this case of the grapevine plant. However, the concept is applicable to different areas, in a broader sense to the challenges of global agriculture vis-à-vis climate change, the reaction of farming communities to food challenges, sociology and ecology, psychology and to economics. Nowdays a trendy concept that is well suited at this historical moment to different aspects of human and terrestrial life.
The resilience of the vine in 2022 has been observed with very fast physiological adaptations at the beginning of the season. A plant that is water-stressed at the beginning of the season develops the ability to react and self-regulate more effectively to manage its subsequent course. This has been observed in a lesser development of the foliage, which has led to a higher transpiration capacity, smaller vessels and osmotic adjustments that have enabled the plant to resist water.
The vine that reacts late to water stress, on the other hand, is at a disadvantage compared to the plant that learned early on how to handle a critical situation such as lack of water and high temperatures.
Sivilotti analysed how this affected canopy development, how young leaves and xylem vessels react to this kind of stress. With the low availability of water, stomatal closure is observed, an action performed by the plant in order to conserve its scarce stocks. Along with lower photosynthesis, nitrogen uptake and leaf area, increased root growth was observed.
As far as grape quality and polyphenolic ripeness are concerned, moderate water stress improves grape quality by partly reducing production. Excessive stress, on the other hand, worsens grape quality and has negative effects on plant physiology. It is therefore important to optimise water use through deficit irrigation strategies.
The adherence to the timetable together with the invaluable collaboration and hospitality services of the three host wineries were fundamental to the success of the event.
A heartfelt thank you to those who accepted the invitation, to those who came and to those who would have liked to have been there but could not, and to the people with whom Vitenova collaborates for a viticulture based on respect for nature and a passion for vines and wine.