Lombardy wine is also on the path to sustainability. Respect for the environment, people and farmers. Sustainable awareness is growing in the Oltrepò Pavese area. The "Speciale" published by ViniPlus is a very important work of awareness, information and planning.

Here is the article by Alessandro Franceschini, and at the bottom you can download and read the special in full. A journey into the present and the sustainable future of our diVino world.

"We want Consorzio Tutela Vini dell’Oltrepò Pavese be not only a guarantee of quality but also of sustainability, both environmental, economic and social, what I like to call 'ethical sustainability.' We would like to involve all the actors in the supply chain and the territory in sustainable practices."

As a declaration of intent, the statement by Gilda Fugazza, the president confirmed in March at the helm of Consorzio of Lombardy's most important wine district in terms of quantity, leaves little room for doubt. Sustainability, even in this vine-growing corner of the region, seems to be at the forefront of the minds of those who have to make decisions that apply to the entire membership. It is certainly not an easy objective, but, as the chairwoman reiterates, "it isno longer just an opportunity, it has become a necessity".

In fact, it seems that a general awareness of many of the issues that define what is considered a sustainable approach have now become much more part of this area than it appears from the outside. "Yes, they have, and this is especially true for the younger generation. There is an enormous awareness,' explains Stefano Malchiodi, the young director since 207 of Tenuta Mazzolino, a reference point in Corvino San Quirico, founded by the Braggiotti family in 980. And although a lot has been done here in the vineyard on the biodiversity front for some time, for the director it is good to talk first of all about the social and ethical aspects linked to sustainability.


"There are areas where marginalisation is low and therefore the temptation to outsource work is strong. We have done it too. But we have to get the pay slips of all our employees, because there's always illegal labour around the corner. Respect for the environment is nothing without respect for people.

If ethics is first, the economic aspect is not secondary either. "If I decide to adopt a new one-piece cardboard that does not require adhesive tape, which is difficult to sort, but which costs more, then I must also be able to transform it into economic value, otherwise what I do to be environmentally, ethically and socially sustainable leads the company to close down, I am not sustainable".

In the winery, there is no lack of attention to detail in pursuit of sustainability, starting with the corks. "We use caps made from sugar cane, which have a zero carbon footprint and are totally recyclable. And as a lubricant we use beeswax and not paraffin, otherwise they can't be disposed of in the wet waste bin".

No plastic sheets for stacking the bottles, replaced by wooden rulers and a completely recyclable handling of the finished product, the bottle. "These are all fundamental details, but they make us consistent with the basic idea of being sustainable". Definitively organic from this vintage, even though they have been using integrated pest management for a long time, in the vineyard Mazzolino has a particularly attentive approach to the protection of biodiversity: the fight against cicadas is carried out by alternating the mowing of the rows, fertilisation is carried out by sowing legumes and then returning the marc to the soil.

"We use sexual confusion to control the moth with pheromones, avoiding insecticides, and if we have other problems we use bacillus thuringiensis, a fungus that if ingested causes the death of the moth larvae. These are all operations that are carried out at night and which undoubtedly complicate the life of a company".


Nothing is left to chance and even the state of healthiness of the soil and the presence or absence of biodiversity is measured using quality indicators set out in a scorecard proposed by the FAO. A very pragmatic approach, which we also find in a company that, although it is fully ascribable to the so-called 'natural wine' movement, has no preconceptions about certification and controls when it comes to verifying the state of health of its vineyards. "We have been certified organic since its inception in the 1990s. Weare pioneers, it's a question of consistency and personal integrity," says Giacomo Baruffaldi, who together with his brother Antonio leads a sort of almost uncontaminated oasis, Castello di Stefanago, in Fortunago, now in the Apennines, consisting of 40 hectares of woodland and 20 of vineyards. While the work in the vineyard, in terms of biodiversity and therefore environmental sustainability, has been carefully monitored and controlled for more than 0 years now, including by the agronomists of VinNatur, an association of the natural universe of which they are firmly a part, the social and economic aspect is a very important issue and one in which Giacomo Baruffaldi feels that much still needs to be done in general.

"What would mountain farming be without our work? Nobody ever thinks about it. I have to pay a tax to protect the environment and that's absurd, while polluters don't pay. We are the guardians of the landand therefore sustainability also means allowing a farmer to be able to protect his territory". On the price front too, the owner of Stefanago emphasises the importance of ethicality. "An ethical, correct and fairpricetells you whether the whole chain behind it is correct or not. And in times of undercutting and double-drop auctions, this is no minor issue. The future? "We want to introduce other crops, as we did a few years ago with barley for the production of our beer, and above all to create a park that can be visited to provide training and education for visitors".