A biodynamic vineyard in the school garden: students in viticulture and perseverance lessons

Without haste but without respite, It writes Lev Toltoj. It takes a year longer to grow to the young plant vineyard than the trellis system. And if each wine is planted, as tradition believes, at a distance of one meter, the only way to grow it is by hand. With so much, so much dedication. This is the teaching renewed by students aged 14 to 18 from the hotel institute Portoferraio at the high school “R. Foresi”: we are talking about an Ansonica vineyard, which was planted in the school garden, on Elba, and which will be the first biodynamic vineyard on the island. the piece of land of just 40 square meters, after the first harvest, next year, 230 bottles are born.A project that has not only a didactic purpose, but a life education, aimed at teaching and letting children experience the concepts of care, perseverance, perseverance and respect for nature.

Cuttings of Ansonica & nbsp;

Ansonica cuttings

Deus ex machina of the projectborn from an idea about the former headmaster Enzo Giorgio Fazio, is the heroic winemaker Antonio Arrighi of the company of the same name in Porto Azzurro, recently awarded in Vinitaly as meritorious viticulture with the Cangrande Medal for its naval wine Nesos, produced on the basis of an experience reproducing the oenological enterprises of the ancient Greeks. “Children are the future of the island, and we hope they can become passionate about this ancient and important winemaking tradition – said Arrighi – which has its roots before Roman times and despite the challenges of centuries of resisting and representing Elba in the world.”

Antonio Arrighi in his vineyards in Portoazzurro

Antonio Arrighi in his vineyards in Portoazzurro

The young vineyard pays homage to Elba’s centuries-old history of winemaking, based on one of the oldest varieties in the tradition: Ansonica. In the school garden, 115 cuttings were planted with respect to the classic distance of 1 meter by 1 meter to create the base of the future cluster plant. Under the organic regime, with the idea of ​​making it biodynamic, under the guidance of the agronomist from the Matura Group, Stefano Dini. Vines added to a number of Mediterranean plants already planted to allow children to come into direct contact with nature. And to know the history of the millennial wine-making tradition in Elba. Until the middle of the 19th century, Elba consisted of 5,000 hectares of vineyards, mostly young vineyards that covered the Elba hills almost to the sea. Following the spread of phylloxera, the vineyard area has been greatly reduced and today has around 300 hectares with 14 companies that are part of the Elba DOC protection consortium and a production of around 800,000 bottles per year.

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“On the island there were 32 million budding tribes until the 1950s. And after all, the tradition and calling of the island’s inhabitants is never extinct – says Arrighi – Many students who were involved in the project as children, played in the vineyard with their grandparents, and now see them engaged in this activity in the school is an investment for the future winemaking on the island and beyond. It is nice and important to make them understand that a vineyard requires attention all year round and that when you turn your back on it, it risks getting sick. The pkanta must never stand alone, it must always be pampered ”.

Sunset in Morcone Bay in Capoliveri

Sunset in Morcone Bay in Capoliveri

As stated by the current director of the institute, Alessandra Rando, from the students’ side there is great interest: the children, many of whom will work with catering and hospitality, are enthusiastic about the idea of ​​understanding how the bottle of wine is born, the same bottle that they will serve then. “Knowing where to start, how much work and how much passion there is behind each label is invaluable,” concludes Arrighi, who visited the vineyard on Friday 6 May with the Vice-Governor of Tuscany. Stefania Saccardione year after planting.

Antonio Arrighi with the Deputy Governor of Tuscany, Stefania Saccardi

Antonio Arrighi with the Deputy Governor of Tuscany, Stefania Saccardi


The next step will be the so-called shovel, a system through which support rods are placed on the side of the vines to allow the plants to climb and grow so that they are tied. Then to get to the big moment that everyone is waiting for: the first harvest, in September 2023.

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