The summer started with very changeable weather conditions, in both rainfall and temperature; the rain was very thundery, violent and frequent, but it didn’t last long. The hot weather started very early, but for the time being, it has only lasted a few days. I have very intense leaf development and good bunches. Of course this climatic situation means having to do all the work by hand, without any mechanical tools, using ten people just in the vineyards, with much higher costs than mechanized vineyard management.

However, the results obtained during the last forty years of cultivating vineyards confirm my belief that to obtain a great wine grape, the vine, leaves and grapes can only be touched by man who knows how to choose which bud, which leaf and which bunch to keep or remove. The wines are ageing well in the cellar and don’t need anything else from man, except tasting from the barrels or topping up.

The excellent cellar environment (humidity, temperature, natural and constant air exchange) bring about a reduction in work and in human presence in the cellar. Certainly microbiological studies and controls, research on the vineyard and grape quality, destemming with selection of the berry size and vinification only with whole berries, allow me to obtain very balanced musts and wines.

The crisis, especially in Italy, has significantly reshaped sales on the national market and this means that I have been able to increase sales abroad, also satisfying the demand of some new clients, which I am pleased about. The Toscana Sangiovese IGT 2006 Soldera wine (100% Sangiovese) has been sold and we are ready to release the Toscana Sangiovese IGT 2007 and 2008 (100% Sangiovese), with deliveries from 1st September 2014. Given the very small availability of the 2007, this time there will be two vintages on sale instead of one.

We have recently organised two round tables at Case Basse; the first on Monday 30th June on the subject “Robotization is changing and will drastically change job offers, especially for young people and this will have an important impact on the economy, social issues and morale of young people, what possible solutions can be conceived in the short, medium and long term.”

The thirty guests taking part agreed on the priority and urgency of dealing with the problem, identifying education in schools (right from nursery school) as the starting point for teaching manual skills (hands, eyes, brain), apart from the heart for passion and imagination, therefore music, drama and manual work. The second, on Tuesday 1st July, entitled “A method for investigating the mental schema, to discover the strengths and weaknesses in research. Presentation, comparison and discussion. Disciplinary interaction in research on Sangiovese/Brunello and its territory: young researchers methodically discuss how to make different skills interact, with the aim of improving research results,” with twenty-five participants who really appreciated the in-depth analysis on sensory analysis, as well as the debate and discussion that followed, which also touched on how to extend the interaction between different university expertise in research promoted by the “International Brunello di Montalcino Case Basse Soldera Award for young researchers”.

I am pleased to announce the nomination of Professor Massimo Vincenzini, microbiologist from Florence University (with whom we have just started the twenty-first year of collaboration and research) as President of the “Tuscan Food Quality Center”, an organisation created along the lines of the Accademia dei Georgofili, with the support of the Minister Maurizio Martina and the Councillor for Agriculture in Tuscany, Gianni Salvadori. The organisation intends to become a centre of excellence in training and research in the food sector. It is made up of thirty-five members, from the scientific world (the three Tuscan universities and other research centres), representatives from businesses in the agricultural sector, in education and professional training, catering, communication and certification. I am sure my friend Vincenzini will achieve great results.

The American biologist Scott Gilbert and the Swedish researcher Heijtz have published studies “on the correlation between intestinal bacteria and mental health”, moreover stating, “it is by now certain that a relationship exists between gut flora, stress processing by the brain and other behavioural processes.” Scott Gilbert affirms, “we can already say with certainty that some neurotransmitters play a fundamental role. Especially serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, which are produced in intestinal bacteria and pass into the bloodstream. We are also discovering the effects of the digestion of complex carbohydrates in the duodenum on the nervous system.” Clearly, the ancient Romans, who already sustained “a sound mind in a sound body”, understood the importance of health. This reinforces, if there is any need, the belief that natural food, without additives and preservatives, that respects the rhythms of nature and the seasons, is indispensable for man to be healthy, both in mind in body.

Finally a consideration on politics and the economy. The European agricultural support programme has allocated 336,997,000 euros to the wine sector, but only 266,397,000 of this is divided between the regions and autonomous provinces, i.e. 79% of the total (decree of 20/06/2014 signed by Giuseppe Blasi); 27,670,000 of this goes to Tuscany, of which 3% for green harvesting, 17% for investments, 27% for promotion, 53% for renewing and converting vineyards. In my opinion these are huge sums, which I hope will be well spent and used, given that one of the ills of the Italian economy is not spending available sums.

What do you think?