Category: harvest 2017

Spring freeze and fall rainfall aside, September delivered a solid harvest. Prosecco Diaries…

The 2017 harvest turned out better than we expected.

The spring freeze had us really worried. But in the end 2017 turned out to be a very good vintage for us.

With the arrival of September 2017 came the harvest and the wonderful satisfaction of a new vintage in the cellar. Despite the fact that we lost an entire vineyard with the April freeze, the harvest went a lot better than what we expected. After the rainfall during the first week of the month, the grapes were plump, full of flavor and mineral character.

We started earlier than usual on September 1 and we finished on September 14 just before the rain started to fall again. Had we not picked when we did, the rain could have caused problems in terms of mildew and rot in the vineyards.

It was a very swift harvest with acidity levels dropping quickly day after day. We worked as hard as we could to get as much fruit to the cellar as possible in the shortest amount of time. It was a complicated vintage but not as difficult as the 2014 harvest, which was affected by rain, the 2015 vintage, which was affected by drought, or the 2016 vintage, when there was an outbreak of peronospora.

September 1: The 2017 harvest begins.

vendemmia 2016 prosecco

September 4: There’s no greater reward than a beautiful bunch of Glera grapes!

grappolo glera asolo prosecco

That afternoon we began picking by hand in our Cornuda vineyard.

September 6: When we saw the weather forecast, we shifted over to our Alessandra vineyard, in Castelli di Monfumo.

le pendenze non sono di certo d’aiuto

September 7: We had to take a break because of rain. What’s better than a game of cards to bolster our team spirit?

pausa vendemmia prosecco

September 8: A bucket of Glera grapes.

secchi glera prosecco asolo superiore

We stayed up all night long working the press.

September 13: For the second year in a row, we received word that we were awarded the Snail prize by the editors of the Slow Wine Guide, their top prize. We also won a Slow Wine prize. We couldn’t be happier!

bele casel chiocciola slow wine

In the meantime, we continued to pick grapes in Monfumo.

vendemmia monfumo bianchetta

vendemmia manuale monfumo prosecco

September 14: We finished harvesting the 2017 crop just 5 minutes before the rain started to fall!

vendemmia pioggia asolo docg

September 22: We returned to our vineyard in Monfumo. This time we weren’t in a hurry. ☺

September 27: The period following the harvest is relatively slow for us. We took advantage of the lull to work on farm machinery and our tool shack.

manutenzione post vendemmia prosecco

manutenzione post vendemmia bele casel

Rainfall in July made us hold our breath! Prosecco Diaries

Rainfall, when heavy, can wash away a year’s worth of work in the blink of an eye.

July was a warm and particularly dry month that kept us holding our breath. We were very fortunate: The month’s heavy rainstorms only did limited damage in our vineyards.

Being a grape grower means being conscious of the fact that a year’s worth of work could be washed away in just an instant. This is why every time there is a forecast for rainfall, our anxiety levels climbs and everything in our family’s life comes to a halt. We all hold our breath until the worst has past.

July 1 – We need to manage the vegetation. It becomes a problem when a plant falls on a vine following inclement weather.

cura del territorio

July 2 – Today is our Fiat 500’s 60th birthday! 60 years since this popular car was introduced, a symbol of the economic revival in Italy after World War II.

fiat cinquecento asolo prosecco

July 6 – OpenDream was an art, culture, food and wine festival in Treviso. They used an abandoned industrial space for the event.

area ex pagnossin treviso prosecco

July 7 – Tilling our Prà Grande vineyard in Monfumo.

fresatura vigna bio asolo bele prà grande

Speaking of the anxiety that comes when there are rainclouds on the horizon, an awful storm literally grazed the hill where we have our vineyard in Cornuda. The photo comes via Meteo Bassano e Pedemontana del Grappa.

grandine prosecco

July 12 – Labels for magnums of our Extra Dry are always applied by hand.

etichette a mano prosecco extra dry docg

July 13 – It’s not just about vines! One of the important things about “zero kilometer” foodways is teaching future generations about the importance of the land. Just like our parents and grandparents taught us. It’s thanks to them that we are here today to tell our story.

non solo vigna

July 17 – As our friend Camillo likes to say: There’s a difference between Prosecco with a capital P and prosecchino. Only a fool would think otherwise. (Pure, playful, confident, and ready to go. A beauty!)

colfondo bele casel

July 24 – The sky over Monfumo after the umpteenth storm.

cielo monfumo

July 28 – Today’s harvest was celery, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers from our garden.

orto biologico

July 31 – Save the date! FIVI Wine Fair in Piacenza November 25-26.

mercato fivi bele casel

Climate change is making our work more challenging every year: Prosecco Diaries June 2017

Climate is changing in our neck of the woods. The rapid and extreme changes in weather are examples of that.

June was a very warm month, with temperatures higher than average. Conditions in the vineyards are relatively stable and there aren’t any major problems with vine disease.

At any rate, our work is becoming more and more challenging, year after year. We are learning to live with long periods of drought and sudden storms with lots of rainfall. At least that’s what it feels like.

June 1: That’s Terry and Greg Moore. Terry is Greg’s son and Greg is one of the founders of Moore Brothers Wine Company. They presented our wines at a tasting held at their wine shop in Brooklyn (Industry City) in New York.

Moore Brothers colfondo

Terry & Greg Moore: “ColFondo from Bele Casel was a huge hit!”

June 4: 50mm of rain in our Cornuda vineyard fell over just a few hours, after a long period of drought.

pioggia asolo docg

June 10: The Porta San Tomaso (Gate) in Treviso, one of the most beautiful city gates along the 16th-century walls of the city.

It was a real honor for us to be invited to the Telegraph Prosecco Festival, which was organized by Susy Atkins, a writer for the Sunday Telegraph’s “Stella” magazine. She has authored numerous books and she appears regularly as a wine expert on the BBC show “Sunday Kitchen.”

telegraph prosecco festival

June 12: Colfòndo tasting at the Banca del Vino (Slow Food Wine Bank) in Piedmont.

Bele Casel Asolo Prosecco Colfòndo 2015: “The vineyards, surrounded by pristine woods and landscapes, express all of their distinct character through this savory wine with delightful citrus notes.”

June 14: Our beautiful vineyard in Cornuda.

rose asolo docg vigna

June 22: Glera bunches in Cornuda.

grappoli di glera docg

June 22: A death’s head hawkmoth caterpillar that will soon transform into a moth, known for its “skull of death” marking on its torso. This type of moth is becoming more and more rare because of the insecticide used here and because of the light pollution that apparently disturbs its reproduction and its sense of direction.

Acherontia atropos

June 23: Tomorrow the Rally della Marca race will pass by our vineyards. And so we’re revving our engines in the meantime!

rally della marca monfumo prosecco

June 27: Our Colfòndo was chosen as wine of the week by Cronache di Gusto.

Willow branches as vineyard ties: Sustainable and effective

Willow branches make for great vine ties.

Even though the vines are “dormant” during these cold winter months, there is still a lot of work to do in the vineyards.

This is the period when we face the cold to prune the vines so that they will be more productive and so that they will concentrate their vigor, thus producing richer fruit.

And it is also a time when we repair the ties that bind the vines to the training stakes.

As you can see in the photo above, we are currently working in our Monfumo vineyard, where some of the vines are so old that they have literally split into two parts. Some of them are nearly 100 years old but they are still productive and the fruit they bear is some of the best we grow. The older the vine is, the harder it has to strain to produce its fruit. And it is that “stress” that makes the fruit even richer and with more flavor. It produces a lot less than a young vine. But it produces more intensely flavored berries, thus producing better wines.

As you can see in the photo below, one of the ways that we tie the vines to their stakes is by using willow branches. It’s one of the most ancient forms of vine training. And the best thing about it is that the branches are easily obtained and are cheap (if not free). And they are organic and sustainable. If you use plastic ties, they will eventually break under the stress of time and the weather. But when willow ties break, they simply fall to the ground and ultimately decompose.

It’s one of the oldest forms of vine training yet it’s also one of the most effective. And it doesn’t have any negative impact on the soil or the vineyard itself.

willow branches ties vines

The FIVI fair is one of our favorite events of the year: Prosecco Diaries November

Just like every year, November is a month when we recharge so that we can begin one of the most important parts of our work: Pruning. And without a doubt, the best way to recharge is to participate in the FIVI wine fair. It’s one of those homes away from home for us, a place where we catch up with many of our friends. Here’s what else happened in November.

November 8: The sky over our vineyard in Cornuda.

vigna prosecco docg

November 18: Our Prosecco Extra Dry at Kona Wine Market in Hawaii.

prosecco bele casel hawaii

November 21: Nice coverage of Bele Casel by the Italian national daily newspaper Il Giornale.

stile il giornale

bele casel stile il giornale

November 26: The Italian Federation of Independent Grape Growers (FIVI) fair in Piacenza.

bele casel fivi

November 30: We begin pruning in our Cornuda vineyard.

potatura asolo docg

Cover crops: No rest for grape growers! Prosecco Diaries October

A lot of people think that once the harvest is done our work is through until we begin pruning again. But that’s not the case.

The month of October is important for our vines, especially for our vineyards in Cornuda, where we spray, mow the grasses, and do the work between the rows using a tractor.

October is time for cover crops!

As you can see in the video below, there’s a big difference between the ground where the tractor has passed over and the ground at the center of the row. The clods are more compact where the wheels have passed over the ground. And they are definitely less dense where the wheels don’t pass over the ground. It gives us great statisfaction to see that our efforts, however small, are making a difference. Even the denser clods are rich with small flowers and they are full of earthworms. They are indication of the soil’s richness. And they help to aerate, drain, and increase the quality of the soil.

October 4: We finally received the seeds for the cover crops fro 2016. This year we are going to start a project called “the colors of the land.” Stay tuned for some beautiful images!

sovescio asolo docg

October 5: We begin preparing the Cornuda vineyard for the cove crops. It’s really important for the soil in this vineyard.

The four phases are as follows:

1. We till the soil deep enough to drain out the water and to make it easier for the tractor to pass through.
2. We aerate the soil.
3. We prepare the mixture of seeds. The blend we have selected improves the soil structure. And since there are a number of flower seeds included, it is great for beekeeping.
4. We plant the seeds by hand so that we can avoid making the soil more compact by passing over it again with the tractor.

October 6: This is what happens to the soil when you till and aerate to prepare it to be planted with cover crop seeds. This is what we do to make our soil more fertile.

October 7: We plant the cover crop seeds by hand.

sovescio prosecco docg

October 11: Just under a year ago, we bought an old and poorly maintained vineyard. It breaks are hearts to grub up these old dry vines that don’t bear any fruit anymore. But new vines will grow in their place in this splendid growing site.

vigna vecchia monfumo

October 21: We grub up dead vines on the hillside. This has to be done by hand using a spade.

sostituzione viti monfumo

October 22: Monfumo at dawn.

alba monfumo prosecco docg

October 25: We’ve completed our work on the soil. Now we need to fix up broken stakes and wires.

lavori vigna prosecco docg