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Bizarre weather continues to threaten 2014 harvest

weather forecast northern italy

The screenshot above was taken at about 8 p.m. local time in Asolo (source Google).

“I’ll be home tomorrow,” wrote grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro on his Facebook today, “and I’m really scared.”

Luca and his family have been on vacation away from Asolo and Caerano where they grow their grapes.

“I am very worried about the situation in the vineyards. I stayed connected all day today. [My colleague] Lucyano has done a fantastic job every day while I’ve been gone and he’s updated me in realtime during my days of ‘forced’ relaxation.”

“Tomorrow evening I’ll make a survey of the vineyards and then I will being the hard work that last until the harvest.”

“We need to make it…”

@ItaliaOutdoors visits Bele Casel

chef bikeski kathy bechtel

We just loved this post by Chef BikeSki of Italia Outdoors, who brought one of her bike tours to the winery last week.

“Dear Kathy,” we wrote to her when she contacted us about setting up a visit for her group, “it will be our pleasure to welcome all of you in our winery! we are a small winery so the tasting will be done in our house and everything will be just familiar… hope this will not be a problem for you!”

“This is precisely what I am looking for in our winery visits during our ItaliaOutdoors Food and Wine tours,” she wrote in her post on our time together, “the chance for our guests to meet face to face with a family producer, and see first hand the passion and knowledge that they pour into every bottle.”

Please click here for her post and her EXCELLENT tasting notes on our wines.

They were such a great group and we enjoyed their visit immensely.

Be sure to learn more about Kathy and her tours of Northeastern Italy by visiting her site.

“Prosecco fever”: robust exports in first quarter 2014

According to a report published last week by the Corriere Vinicolo (the official masthead of the Italian Winemakers Union, the Unione Italiana Vini), Prosecco exports bound for the U.S. and U.K. were robust in the first three months of 2014, despite a slight dip in pricing.

The report is based on data recently published by ISTAT, Italy’s National Institute of Statistics.

In the sparkling DOP (protected designation of origin) category, which is dominated by Prosecco, exports to the U.S. and the U.K. increased by 18.5 percent and 48.5 percent respectively when compared to the same period in 2013.

Although pricing dropped significantly (-2.5 percent in the U.S. and -6.5 percent in the U.K.), the growth in sales handily compensated for the dip.

The editors of the Corriere Vinicolo ascribe the growth to the “Prosecco fever” that has gripped English-speaking markets.

best prosecco colfondo

Colfondo trademark owner Drusian says he will give the designation to Prosecco consortia

“Colfondo” trademark owner Francesco Drusian appears poised to give the designation to the Prosecco DOCG consortia, according to a report published today by the popular Italian wine blog Intravino.

“After twelve years,” writes Intravino contributor Giovanni Corazzol, “Drusian has expressed his willingness to give the trademark to the two consortia [Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Montello-Colli Asolani]. The consortia will safeguard the trademark and they will incorporate the production method into their appellation regulations. By doing so, they will bring clarity to a field threatened by low-quality products that have been created using illicit means, often outside the DOCG area and often with different grapes.”

At present, the Prosecco DOCG (which applies to both consortia) recognizes and allows for Prosecco re-fermented in bottle as a sanctioned category. But the appellation regulations do not mention nor regulate the designation colfondo.

News of Drusian’s willingness to share the trademark arrived during a Prosecco producers conference organized in Valdobbiadene township last week by Turin university wine law professor Michele Antonio Fino.

Today, the editors of Intravino also shared Fino’s slides, including the following, which addresses the issue of how the term colfondo is used liberally by winemakers and even beer and wine-cooler producers outside of the Prosecco DOCG where it originated.

The Franciacorta designation Satén, created by the Bellavista winery and then given to the appellation’s consortium, offers a precedent, writes Fino.

    - Today, two companies own the trademark colfondo (Drusian and Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene SAC).
    – There already exists a tested model that could serve as inspiration: the term Satén (created by a winery [Bellavista, trademarked in 1990] and then given to the Franciacorta consortium with the understanding that the appellation would guarantee its oversight and regulate production of Satén wines)….
    – Today, the colfondo trademark is under insidious attack and is being demeaned unscrupulously. It’s being liberally and widely used in a wide range of categories (that often don’t have anything to do with the production of Prosecco DOCGG).
    – Of the two private parties who own the trademark, only one currently produces the wine [Drusian].
    – The protection of such a beleaguered trademark by private individuals would be particularly complex and costly.
    – Were it to become a officially recognized production category, efforts to protect it would be expedited.

With characteristic hyperbole, the editors of Intravino have called the move by Drusian an “epochal shift” and “Prosecco colfondo year zero” (making reference to the 1948 Rossellini neorealist film “Germany Year Zero”).

But as interest and enthusiasm for Prosecco colfondo continue to expand unchecked in Italy, the consortia’s embrace of the category would represent a major victory for colfondo proponents.

On his Facebook today, Bele Casel grape grower and winemaker Luca Ferraro called it “the beginning of a revolution.”

Translations by Bele Casel blogmaster Jeremy Parzen.

best glass for prosecco

Bele Casel in Beverly Hills @PizzeriailFico where Italian is spoken

john tierney fico los angeles

Above: Italian is spoken here. Il Fico co-owner studied Italian language, literature, and culture at Stanford University.

We had read the rave reviews of Pizzeria Il Fico in Los Angeles and its Pugliese-centric menu.

We had heard that its authentic-style pizza was among the best in Los Angeles, a metropolis that seems to have more Neapolitan pizza ovens than Naples.

But it wasn’t until we visited a few months ago that we learned that co-owner and wine director John Tierney not only lives and breathes great Italian food but he also was a student of Italian at Stanford University before getting into the restaurant trade.

It’s no wonder that this chic restaurant on the edge of Beverly Hills feels like it could be in Lecce or Milan.

And that’s just one of the reasons we are extremely proud to share the news that Pizzeria Il Fico now serves Bele Casel Prosecco Brut by the glass.

Pizzeria il Fico
310 S Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 271-3426
Google map

Prosecco diaries: June 2014 – giugno 2014

Ancora molto lavoro in vigna per sistemare vigne e cercare di proteggerle dalle infezioni funginee.

In June, again, we spent a lot of time working in the vineyards to fix up the plants and protect them from fungal infections.

Segare l’erba nelle vigne di Monfumo è particolarmente complicato e per riuscire a fare un bel lavoro serve forza, precisione e un poca di esperienza.

Cutting the grass in our Monfumo vineyard is very complicated. To do it right, it takes a lot of effort, precision, and a little bit of experience.

video mowing the grass

5 giugno – primo passaggio per tagliare i tralci di troppo che creerebbero umidità attorno ai grappoli.

June 5 – we made our first pass through the vineyards to prune excess canes. By doing so, we reduce the humidity around the bunches.

flowers vineyard italy

10 giugno – abbiamo controllato tutte le vigne, risultato?

PERONOSPORA inesistente
BOTRITE ha creato qualche rarissimo problema nelle zone più basse
OIDIO primi sintomi su qualche erba mi da da pensare. Nei prossimi giorni faremo un trattamento con zolfo polverulento.
CARENZE di magnesio e potassio in una singola vigna, domani tratteremo con micro-elementi.

Credo che con altri 2 interventi chiuderemo l’annata.

Purtroppo i 2 trattamenti diventeranno probabilmente 4 a causa di piogge intense e ripetute.

June 10 – we made a survey of all the vines. The results follow.

BOTRYTIS has created a few problems in the lowest-lying vineyards.
OIDIUM early symptoms on some of the grass worries me. I plan to treat the areas with powdered sulfur in upcoming days.
DEFICIENCIES of magnesium and potassium in just one vine. Tomorrow I’ll treat it with micronutrients.

I hope that I won’t have to make more than two treatments before harvest.

Unfortunately, those two treatments will probably become four treatments because of the repeated and intense rainfall.

19 giugno – ecco come sono messi i grappoli di Glera.

June 19 – this photo shows the condition of the Glera grapes.

prosecco grapes

Questo invece un grappolo di bianchetta.

Here’s a photo of a Bianchetta bunch.

bianchetta grapes

27 giugno – durante un trattamento notturno il trattore ha deciso di rompersi. abbiamo passato tutta la mattina successiva dal meccanico.

June 27 – during a nighttime treatment, the tractor decided to break down. We had to spend the entire next morning at the mechanic.

vineyard tractor

28 giugno – cena in trattore.

June 28 – dinner on the tractor.

sandwich winemaker recipe

E lavoro fino a tarda notte per recuperare il tempo perso.

We had to work late into the night to make up for lost time.

grape grower hard work

—Luca Ferraro
vignaiolo (grape grower/winemaker)

@SettembreMag, @JacopoCossater’s new English-language magazine devoted to Italian wine

There’s just one week left in Jacopo Cossater’s crowd-funding campaign on IndieGoGo.

If it meets its goal, Jacopo — one of Italy’s most respected wine writers and experts — intends to use the funds to launch Settembre, a new English-language magazine devoted to the wines of Italy.

“A magazine with contributions by great photographers and great authors,” writes Jacopo, “printed on the best paper, which will not only list wines and their ratings but also will attempt to tell you everything that is hidden behind a great bottle of wine. It is a journey to discover all the best that Italy’s wines can offer including photos, interviews, stories, and wine tastings. It is both a magazine to browse on the sofa at home and a guide to take with you on your next trip to Italy.”

Especially with the demise of the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana (which stopped publication in late 2013), there are few English-language resources today devoted exclusively to Italian wine.

Here at Bele Casel, we welcome Jacopo’s initiative and hope that you will support it as well.

Please click here to learn more and to donate.

italian wine magazine


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