Organic-certified farmers like Bele Casel regularly submit soil and plant samples in order to maintain their certification.
With the release of new guidelines for the production of “natural” wines by the natural wines advocacy group VinNatur, there’s been a lot of discussion on the internets about what it means to be a natural winemaker and how monitoring of natural wines should be carried out.
“Those who choose to drink natural wine” write the authors of a press released issued by the group, “have the right to receive tangible guarantees on what they will find in the bottle. Declaring oneself to be a ‘natural winemaker’ is not enough — one must be truly aware of the great responsibility that there is regarding the health of enthusiasts and clients, and act accordingly.”
Perhaps the most controversial element of the new guidelines is that VinNatur is working on a new protocol to monitor its members vineyards and wines.
Even though some natural wine advocates have called Bele Casel “natural winemakers,” the Ferraro family doesn’t refer to itself as such.
Bele Casel is however a certified organic grower and it also uses many elements of biodynamic farming.
To a great extent, its growing practices and winemaking approach and philosophy align with VinNatur and its new guidelines.
The bag in the photo above contains samples of leaves, grape bunches, and soils that we send periodically to a certification organization. Their lab technicians will analyze the samples to determine whether or not there is any chemical residue.
Bele Casel submits the samples, of course, to maintain its status as a “certified organic farmer” and winemaker.
But they also do this because they want to ensure that pesticides and herbicides aren’t finding their way into the vineyards. It’s one thing not to use chemicals in the vineyards. And Bele Casel doesn’t use chemicals in the vineyard. It’s another thing to ascertain that the vineyards are not being affected by neighboring farms with different attitudes and practices.