"Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,

Luxe, calme et volupté."

One can hardly find better words to describe Tuscany than those of Charles Baudelaire in his “L’Invitation au Voyage.”

These words are particularly well suited to the vineyards of our Lodola estate, which is usually a place of peace, beauty and order. Usually, but not today. Beauty is still all around, but instead of peace there is hectic activity. Instead of order, a sense of organized chaos reigns. Harvest is upon us!

Both the vineyards and cellars are bustling with activity. People and machinery are everywhere. This week we picked the first grapes of the 2013 vintage, beginning with Chardonnay.

What will this vintage be like? No one can say yet, but without a doubt 2013 has been a year of anticipation, excitement and difficulties.

Anticipation because we have spent the first eight months of the year preparing our new cellars at Lodola for this year’s harvest. We purchased the estate and its state-of-the-art vinification and ageing cellar in December 2012 because we needed more space for processing the grapes and ageing our wines after expanding our vineyard holdings.

The last piece of equipment, a brand new harvester, arrived just a few days ago!

Excitement because our latest vineyard acquisition in Montepulciano brings us to a total of 200 hectares of vineyards, spread out over the Montepulciano and Cortona appellations. This enables us to produce more Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and effectively service the key markets throughout the world.

Difficulties because the weather conditions of 2013 have been quite challenging with extensive periods of rain and cool weather, which made working the soil in the first months of the year very difficult and significantly slowed down the growth rate of the grapes over the last months.

Downright despair when a hailstorm hit the Sangiovese vineyard Matracchio, resulting in a loss of grapes from that vineyard. Thankfully, it is only one of the eight in Montepulciano!

Satisfaction as we continue to apply biodynamics to all our vineyards. With 200 hectares of vines, Avignonesi is today the largest winery in Italy totally dedicated to biodynamics. This means a lot of hours working in the vineyards, especially when the weather acts up. In addition to the usual viticultural practices such as pruning, thinning out and green harvest, we grow secondary crops under the vines, which are used for both fertilizing the soil and keeping it loose. We spray the vines with biodynamic preparations P500 and P501, as well as certain herb teas, to help fortify the vines’ natural defence system and prevent disease.

It’s hard work, but it’s worth it, especially when you see the quality of the soil and the biodiversity of flora and fauna that populate our vineyards today. We firmly believe that biodynamic viticulture allows us not only to preserve the soil for future generations and make healthier wines, but also to make more interesting wines, where an unveiled sense of terroir shines through every bottle.

Thus our motto Terroir Speaks; We Listen