Last week, we visited the Papini family’s farm, La Pievuccia in Castiglion Fiorentino. La Pievuccia is a biodynamic farm, winery and bio hotel (part of a German certification). As Riccardo Papini explained, biodynamic is a step further than organic, making use of organic products but also using the most natural ways of farming while protecting the land.
Riccardo’s grandfather first bought the farmland in the 30s. Later, his father made the farm certified organic, while his mother utilized the land for Agriturismo. Agriturismo, or Agritourism in English, brings visitors to farms to learn more about agriculture first hand. In 2000, Riccardo and his wife took over the management of the farm believing in the most natural ways of agriculture.
The farm has many notable, sustainable practices. The land has 13 kW of solar panels running a 40-acre farm and 30-bed hotel. According to their website, the solar panels provide all of the energy to the operation. Riccardo explained their process for creating rich compost to “fertilize” the grape trees. The excess grape scraps like skins or stems leftover from harvesting are put back into the compost. Eventually, the dark, nutrient heavy mixture is put into the soil to create healthy grape plants. Relatively recently, the farm began to use seaweed to fight fungus. Seaweed is better for the land than organic certified products like copper that leach into the soil and cannot be extracted. Like most of Tuscany, no machines are used during harvest, only manpower!
Riccardo explained to us his personal belief that the more natural the input, the better the product. La Pievuccia’s passion and care create amazing wines and extra virgin olive oil! We tasted the Terraviva Rosso wine completely made from Sangiovese grapes, Terraviva Bianco made with mostly Chardonnay, and Milame Rosato made with Sangiovese grapes. Finally, we tried the famous Vinsanto wine, “holy wine,” with cantuccini cookies.