Just what is regenerative agriculture? It’s not just another trendy buzzword meant to entice consumers. It’s an ancient form of agriculture that is making its way back into mainstream farming. It’s successful, not only in producing and sustaining quality agricultural products, like wine grapes, but it’s also successful in combating climate change, the effects of drought, and (most commonly overlooked) creating a healthful environment for all living things within the farm—microorganisms, plants, animals, and people.
To help better understand this ancient form of farming, Senior editor Stacy Briscoe talks with Paul Dolan, chairman at Regenerative Organic Alliance, Elizabeth Whitlow, executive director at Regenerative Organic Alliance, Jordan Lonborg, viticulturist at Tablas Creek Vineyard and Meghan Siemers, sustainability manager at Gundlach Bundschu.
Custoza, if you’ve not heard of it, is located Northern Italy in the Provence of Verona—comprised of nine townships, named after village of Custoza, a hamlet of Sommacamapgna. The hills originate from glacial deposts between Verona and Lake Garda – massive amount of deposits created an incredibly complex and variable soil situation. The main soils are calcareous clay, interspersed with gravelly rocks and sand. It is this soil structure that greatly differentiates Custoza from surrounding DOCs. It is the soil that creates a uniqueness to the white wines produced, providing a savoriness that will make any doubter of the reality of ‘minerality’ a true believer.
It’s listed under “other Rhone appellations” in our WSET Diploma book, given but a short few sentences of description—all of which, let’s face, it quite generic. “Lies between the Rhone and eastern Languedoc.” “Vines are grown on south-west facing slopes.” “Maximum permitted yield is 60 hL/ha.” “Most wines are good to very good.” Blah.
Costières de Nîmes is a lot more interesting than that.
When I was studying for my WSET Level 3 exam, I had this to say about the Greek wine region:
Greece is one of those wine regions that fascinates me, simply because the tradition of winemaking is so old. I’m one of those people that gets joy out of studying wine because it takes me into different cultures and different cultures’ histories. I kind of wish this section was a bit bigger in the WSET text book. But, I guess that gives me more room to dive deeper either on my own time or, dare I say it, in pursuit of my WSET Diploma??
And here I am, indeed studying for my WSET Diploma and there is much and more to know about Greece in our D3 text. I’m covering just three of the major PDOs here, along with conjunctive tastings.