What It Takes to Make Organic Prosecco & Pinot Grigio: Interview with Giovanni Corvezzo
Prosecco and Pinot Grigio are two immensely and increasingly popular Italian wine styles all around the world. Both come, for the most part, from the North-Eastern part of Italy, and the Veneto region in particular.
While many producers simply enjoy the global trends of easy and increasing global sales, one winery, the Corvezzo Winery, has decided to take a distinctive approach using various environmentally-friendly production practices, and producing exclusively organic wines across their whole range, including many successful organic Prosecco and Pinot Grigio wines.
To learn more about how one finds himself becoming the #1 organic Prosecco and Pinot Grigio vineyard in Italy, I have asked the owner of this half-a-century-old family winery, Giovanni Corvezzo —who calls himself the Happy Farmer—, to tell us more about his approach to viticulture, winemaking, business, and organic wine.
When did you first consider yourself making organic wine? Was the family tradition at Corvezzo Winery involved in the inception of the idea?
Giovanni Corvezzo: Yes, the family tradition was involved in the development of the business idea, even if my father and my grandfather didn’t produce organic wine; however they used to pay attention to the environment.
I have been considering myself an organic farmer since 2017, the year when my whole vineyard obtained the organic certificate.
Most people do not realize that you do not become ‘organic’ from one day to the other, and that it takes years of conversion and a whole new approach to viticulture. Can you tell us when you started and finished your conversion, and what was involved for you in the process?
GC: The organic conversion of my vineyard began in 2010 and finished in 2017. It meant an organization and also a cultural change for all the people involved in my company. It was necessary to invest in technology in my vineyard and in my winery, but also in my staff training.
Beyond the term ‘organic’ and its certification, you seem to take a more general environmentally-friendly approach to wine production. What other measures do you take to reduce the impact of your winery on the environment, and why?
GC: I’ve got a photovoltaic system, in order to reduce production of Co2 and the consumption/use of electricity. In other words my Winery has a lower impact on pollution.
Besides, dead branches obtained by pruning are used to produce caloric energy through a biomass system.
Why do you call yourself the Happy Farmer?
GC: I called myself the Happy Farmer because being a farmer is different from being a happy farmer: giving a better soil to people makes me happy.
Some people only drink organic wines, while others are still a little ‘scared’ with the word when it comes to wine. You’ve made non-organic wine before your vineyards’ conversion, and you now only produce organic. What difference have you found it made to your wine?
GC: Referring to an organoleptic point of view, I realized organic wine is better than conventional wine, because the grapes are better; they are also healthier than conventional ones.
Finally, talking about Prosecco and Pinot Grigio specifically —which are wine styles that are often considered quite simple, easy-to-drink, and affordable—: do you find that wine drinkers in this market segment are receptive to the concept of ‘organic wine’?
GC: Yes, I think that wine drinkers are receptive because organic wine aren’t elitist, they are accessible to everybody.
Which countries in the world do you find are the most interested in organic and environmentally-friendly Prosecco and Pinot Grigio wines?
GC: The nations that are most interested in organic wine are all countries of Northern Europe , especially Germany, the UK, Sweden, Finland, and Norway.
But the consumption of these products is increasing in Italy, too…
A Quick History of the Corvezzo Family & Winery
The history of the land surrounding Cessalto, which has been well-known since the Roman age for its fertility, is inextricably linked with the wine-production tradition of the Corvezzo family.
In the early 1900s, Giuseppe Corvezzo had been working the land for Cessalto’s Venetian Nobility until 1960, when his son, Giovanni, founded the first family’s winery in the current location.
Then, in 1970, due to the knowledge and skills of Renzo and Giuseppe, Giuseppe’s grandsons, the family increased the cultivated area to a total of 140 hectares.
Renzo was a pioneer in the sustainable wine production field back in 1981. At that time, he introduced the integrated pest management in order to reduce the use of pesticides.
Today, thanks to the vision of Renzo’s son, Giovanni Corvezzo, the commitment of the company to a more sustainable wine production is stronger than ever.
The company’s team has worked hard in order to complete the process of organic-conversion of the vineyard started in 2010.
The vineyard organic conversion has been completed in 2017, and now Corvezzo is setting a new benchmark in Northern Italy’s organic wine production, especially for organic Prosecco and organic Pinot Grigio.