Here are the questions that I am asked most frequently regarding Organic Production
Should a certified-organic producer be considered better than other producers?
No, absolutely not. Being certified does not mean that you are better than others. There are thousands of producers who are more careful about their environmental impact than we are, and many of these are not certified. Sometimes (in wet or difficult years, for example) there can be the temptation or ‘necessity’ to use chemicals or practises that are not permitted in the European organic protocol; being certified means that we have to resist that ‘temptation’ and we are obliged to respect and believe in the protocol, even in difficult years.
Why are you certified?
There are growers who, though professing to be against chemical weeding, still use the chemicals once or twice a year under the rows of vines, and then try to hide the ‘unexplained’ orange strip of grass (a sign of chemical burning) by turning the soil just a few days (or even hours) after the treatment.
I don’t really like this approach: it is a little too ‘cunning’. There is no obligation for any producer to be organic, but seriousness about what we do must be the basis of our relationship with the consumer in every case. I have not always been a supporter of organic myself, but I changed my mind, and persuaded my father, too (Vladimiro was already a fervent practitioner). We started on this road with the utmost commitment possible. This is why we are certified.
Can the protocol covering organic wines be improved?
Certainly. Today, there are many chemicals and practises permitted in organic wine production that are of no use to those who believe in a non-invasive approach. And this is the biggest criticism of the ‘natural’ world from the standpoint of EU organic regulations, which many judge (correctly) to be too vague. There are great differences in how the controls are conducted, with ‘natural’ wine being especially difficult to quantify and control. In fact, today we do not have a protocol based upon the same controls and methods across the EU. There are enlightened organisations (such as Vinnatur and others) that analyse their members’ wines each year based on their own rules, but we lack a national or European protocol for the definition of ‘natural’. When this arrives, we will be happy to consider it.
Can you get around the rules?
Yes, of course. Just as with any walk of life in civilised society, there is illegality and flouting of the rules. But in this case, the certifying body would also have to be involved, which makes it less likely and increases the security of the guarantee. These days it is very difficult to hide the truth with all the analysis and physical and chemical tests that a wine undergoes. For these reasons it continues to be ever more risky to try to cheat. After all, no-one is obliged to be certified.
Why don’t you put the organic logo on all of your labels?
I’m not interested in telling the world that I am organic. But when I claim to be, I wish to do so with pride, backed by the security of serious and precise controls. The organic logo is an option that we offer to our importers / distributors, who decide, based on their market, to have it or not. You will find it on our labels in some countries, but not others. I am generally against using it, as I see certification more as an incentive to focus on our work, rather than as a marketing tool. In some cases, the green logo is seen in a negative light, almost as a sign that the producer’s attention is more on the style than the content. I don’t want to sell the wines because they are organic, but because they are good wines. And they do not need to be more expensive, because to have organic Nebbiolo in La Morra (it may be different with other grapes in other regions) does not cost more, and the yields are no lower for a small, family business like ours. What matters is that anyone who approaches Trediberri wines believing them to be organic can do so with the knowledge that they are guaranteed so with the controls carried out by a certifying body.
Are you ‘natural’?
We use sulphur dioxide in varying levels depending upon the harvest, and ,sometimes, we fine with bentonite. If one of our wines didn’t finish the malolactic fermentation, we would not hesitate to filter it in order to prevent a refermentation in the bottle. We wish to make wines that we consider good and we do not want to be prevented from adding sulphur or clarifying the wines if this means that we are presenting wines that we do not consider enjoyable. If we do this, we risk becoming slaves to a dogma and losing sight of whether or not we are making a wine that we like. You decide what label you use for us.