Sustainability in Torgiano and Montefalco
Always at the forefront of environmental awareness, Lungarotti has been practicing sustainable viticulture for many years. Our choices aim to obtain the best possible grape quality while respecting the vine, biodiversity of the soil and of the vineyard environment. To this end, we have undertaken various projects both in the vineyards and the cellars.
- Climate analysis: For over 15 years we have been adhering to the agricultural-environmental measures established by the European Community: we have installed 5 multifunctional meteorological stations – 5 in Torgiano and 1 in Montefalco – to monitor climate data (air and soil temperature and humidity, wind direction and velocity, rainfall, sunlight, leaf wetness) that are fundamental for reducing vineyard treatments to control plant diseases such as oidium or grape downy mildew. The data are transmitted in real time to headquarters and only when certain conditions are met do we intervene with products having low environmental impact, in a precise and timely manner, without waste.
- Management of water resources: we have inserted sensors in the soil at different depths in order to determine the vine’s water requirements, not only to avoid stress due to lack of water, but also to avoid unnecessary water consumption
- Respecting soil biodiversity: living organisms, with their constant activity, favour the biodiversity of the different soils. Thanks to proper soil management we are able to maintain the soil flora active and unchanged, for the mineralization of organic compounds in the soil. Two examples of our activities here are:
- Organic fertilizer: we use mature cow manure, distributed in fall and winter to supply organic substances to the soil, respecting and improving its structure. In the clayey soils this avoids compacting the earth,while in sandy soils this provides improved water retention.-mechanical weed control: in spring and summer, weeds between vines are eliminated by gently tilling the soil; we therefore avoid using chemical herbicides and at the same time allow the vine roots to grow deeper into the soil for water and nutritive substances; this makes the plants more resistant in case of drought conditions-maintenance of natural wooded areas among the vineyards for wildlife repopulation-maintenance of irrigation canals and unpaved roads for proper rainwater regulation-Organic production in Montefalco: After 3 years of conversion to organic production at the Montefalco Estate, starting with the 2014 harvest our wines are fully organic: in the vineyard we have chosen natural fertilizers, green manure and treatments based on copper and sulphur.In the cellars, organic production means further reducing the use of sulphites and intensifying the use of organic yeasts.
In the cellars we have made choices to favour environmentally-friendly production:
- “Energy from the vine” project: in 2004 we were selected as the pilot winery for Italy by the Ministry of Agriculture to implement the project created by Perugia University’s Biomass Research Centre (download the project). Pruning residues from winter pruning are collected, chipped and burned to obtain the heat for producing:
- -steam for washing and sterilizing the bottling line
- -hot water to heat certain departments of the winery (malolactic fermentation in barrique cellars, warehouse, offices).
In this way we are able to save 200 tonnes per year of C02 and have reached almost 70% of self-sufficiency in thermal energy.
Thanks to a special heat exchanger we can also produce the cold temperatures necessary for production processes (an aspect which we are currently implementing further) in order to produce:
-water at 10°C for summer air-conditioning of the headquarters
-water at 5°C for conditioning the casks during the vinification process
The first project of its kind in Europe, it has been granted the prestigious Ecomondo award
-Recovery of refrigeration water: the cold water used to control fermentation temperature is recovered and circulated through a closed circuit back to the heat exchanger to be refrigerated again
-Small daily gestures: in line with our principles, we try to recover all materials that would otherwise be disposed of, such as paper, glass, used corks, to re-use them or recycle separately; in the cellars we use timers on the light switches for energy saving
Compensation of CO2: together with other wineries that are members of the Institute of Fine Italian Wines –Premium Brands (IGM), we are developing projects to compensate our CO2 emissions
Use of energy-saving equipment: when investing in new equipment we carefully evaluate the energy consumption and choose energy-saving products
Research: The MeteoWine project
For years we have been carrying out research projects in the vineyards and winery. We are currently involved in a project called “MeteoWine” in collaboration with the Ciriaf department of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Perugia.
This project aims at reducing the use of agricultural chemicals while improving the environmental performance of the production process. Since climate is strongly influenced by topography, our region has the need to develop meteorological models that take into consideration the influence of topography. Together with another winery in the Orvieto area, we have decided to collect and store all the climate data from more than 300 hectares of vineyards located in the areas of Torgiano, Montefalco and Orvieto that are necessary for building climate models
The entire process is taking place with the guidance and expertise of qualified researchers at the University of Perugia, who are renowned world-wide in this field. The climate stations collect data on rainfall, temperature, humidity, leaf wetness, soil humidity and others, which are then elaborated to build climate models able to provide precise and timely forecasts. These forecasts will then be analyzed in light of the required vineyard treatments. With respect to our current activities (sustainability) this project enables us to act in advance and not after-the-fact, in terms of climatic conditions,
thus saving on manpower, fuel used for tractors and above all, treatment products, reducing the use of agricultural chemicals. In a nutshell, our environmental performance improves significantly. Finally, on the basis of results reached with the project, it will be possible to create an instrument to support the Umbria region’s department for agricultural chemicals and share with other wine professionals, currently not involved in the process, the climate and preventive models that will be developed.