This Organic Winery In Italy Operates On Off-Grid Technology

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May. 28 2019, Updated 5:45 p.m. ET

Like most farming, producing wine can be a strain on the environment in terms of water consumption and carbon emission production. Salcheto, an Italian winery, is working to incorporate a more sustainable approach to the age old art of winemaking. The company blends organic and biodynamic viticulture to produce wine that is not only high quality but innovative.  

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Located near Florence and Siena in Montepulciano, the Salcheto winery earned its name from the stream which winds through the valley and marks the boundary of the estate. Based in the historic Vino Nobile district in Tuscany, winemakers have been producing wine in the area for centuries. Run by Michele Manelli since 1997, this winery has been able to grow from a classic farm sharecrop into an innovative company despite the deep-set traditions of the surrounding area. The winery has parted with typical production models and successfully established new environmentally sustainable practices and built sustainable features into the property. 

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Today its efforts have paid off with not only award-winning wines but an environmentally sustainable company. With an off-grid wine cellar and environmental estate management model, the winery can keep track of its eco footprint. Salcheto has been able to incorporate sustainable practices in a few ways. Apart from the energy efficient cellar system, the vineyard also produces its own compost which acts as a natural fertilizer. The company maintains the soil through a biodynamics system, and they source all their wood materials from responsibly managed forests. 

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The winery’s bottles are also designed to be eco-friendly. They created the “Bordolese Toscanella” bottle as a nod to a traditional design and shape. The company claims it is also the lightest and most eco-friendly wine bottle available on the market. Lighter bottles are essential when trying to keep carbon emissions down since heavier bottles require more energy to transport around the world. 

Salcheto is also the first wine producer to have certified the carbon footprint of a wine bottle. The company’s website offers their customers a CO2 calculator which helps them see the emissions linked to each bottle. Salcheto currently offers red Tuscan wines such as such as the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. 

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Salcheto manages its ongoing environmental sustainability efforts based on specific indicators. They work to minimize gas emissions from any energy or materials created by their winemaking process. As a result of their efforts, Salcheto is able to use 54% less energy than traditional wineries. Salcheto also closely monitors its water footprint to keep water use as low as possible.

To round out their sustainability initiatives, the company produces their own honey from the beehives on their vineyards which help pollinate the plants. The winery’s logo also bears the symbol of the willow tree which the team continues to plant at the property as a sign of their commitment to sustainability. The property encourages eco-tourism with its 13th-century farmhouse which offers nine rooms for guests to stay.  

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