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Buongiorno ~

Just reaching our shores now, the Spring issue of London’s distinguished wine periodical, The World of Fine Wine, carries a cover story on one of the most positive advances in vineyard science in our lifetime, in which we have been in the forefront in Italy and now take the lead in adopting in Virginia. At the very moment this report arrived via online subscription, the viticultural scientists from Simonit & Sirch whom Fernando Franco and I met in our Italian vineyards, who have transformed vineyards throughout Bordeaux and Napa Valley, were here in Barboursville for an intensive week of education and training demonstrations.

Progressive re-examination of traditional wine-growing practice has been at the core of our vineyard’s development, and is at the center of my professional philosophy, so that as we truly celebrate a milestone 40th anniversary, we are remembering our continuous adoption of innovation in practices and materials, affirming also a bold tradition of renovation where practical. In fact, over the years, we have unhesitatingly replaced whole sectors of our plantings with superior genetic materials and better rootstocks. This is a more vine-intensive renovation than we've pursued before.


I wish to share with you the great excitement of our vineyard team at Barboursville, to adopt radically progressive techniques in vine pruning which were proved for us first on the estates of our founder in the Veneto, Tuscany, and Oltrepò Pavese. These are techniques validated by countless vine samplings and examinations of vital conductive tissues over several years, from vineyards of relative youth to those of great age. They show a much improved channel for the plant’s flow of nutrients without intrusive scarring in the path identified for its development. Here, Viticulturist Fernando Franco and I are joined in our vine rows by Alessandro Zanutta of Simonit & Sirch and Fernando's vineyard associate, José Avila, standing between us.

We are not alone in assessing these methods as revolutionary, but we are among the few to have demonstrated them. They mean, even better wine. They will further improve the ripening of our grapes, the vitality and longevity of our vines, and the age worthiness of all our vintages to come. As we stand upon the threshold of our 41st growing season, justifiably pleased with our first 40 years, we set out upon an even brighter future. On the human side, this investment in training our people is giving us the most meaningful celebration we could want.

We enter the 2016 growing season with all 45,000 of our younger vines — in Vermentino, Fiano, Petit Verdot, and two varietals yet to be announced — now optimized by these techniques. We look forward next year, to pruning corrections on older vines, to enhance their fruit, extend their lives, and guard against untimely trunk diseases and decay. Here, after a good morning's work in our Nebbiolo vineyard, Alessandro Zanutta and I take a moment at Palladio, to savor what it's all about.

I’m happy to add, that my attainment of American citizenship at last was realized, in ceremonies witnessed by friends and family in Charlottesville on March 24th, with the Honorable Glen Conrad of the US District Court officiating. Now that the Old World vine that I am has been welcomed to New World ground, I know it is my attachment to this vineyard that made this possible.

 

Cordialmente ~

  
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