Claudio Plessi, his vineyards & his mission
In 1958, Claudio's parents bought a vineyard (Belussi) and he began his life as a winemaker by wading in wine grapes up to his chest and stamping his feet. At the time, most of the grapes were sold to a cooperative in Settecani but some where kept for the household wine.
As he got older, he decided to study agriculture and so at the age of 18, he went off to school - first in Reggion Emilia and the Parma & Piacenzi. His studies were wine grapes & wine but also old olive tree species and indigenous cherries in Emilia as well as chicken breeds of the area.
In 1986, he took over the vines of Belussi - those same ones that were planted in 1958; the following year, he was one of the founding fathers of Il Salto - a consortium of organic and biodynamic farmers. As a professor of agriculture and biologique believer, he continues as a pioneer & champion of the biological movement in Emilia.
When in 2004, he planted 3.5 hectares around his parents' home, it was with indigenous varietals ~ this has become the foundation for his unique sparkling and still wines today. All vines stand in the plain, on a mixture of clay and lime, over which a fine layer of sand has settled. He allows whatever wants to grow between the rows and harvested late by Emilian standards but he knows his grapes and he knows what he can coax from them. Claudio's mission to educate and to return the indigenous varietals to this place continues as he plants more ancient varietals including Grappello & Sgavetta.
In the cellar, single varietal production is practiced to allow the distinct characteristics to shine. All wines are natural & organic. Claudio is also a member of the Vignaioli Artigiani Naturali (association of natural wine-makers), whose objective is producing integral and vital wines using hand-picked grapes from one’s own vineyard.
All wines ferment on indigenous yeasts, sulfur dioxide levels are low and other additives or enological adjuvants are not employed in the wine-making process.
Sparkling wines are once again fermented in bottles without sboccatura (process of disgorging the yeast – lees), according to local traditions.