Grapevine & Wine 05/04/2010

A happy beginning for the Apulian small-tree Academy

A step forward for maintain the tradition style and way to culture the vine has been finally made

Apulia is a great wine producer region of the South of Italy. It is a true referring point of the wine world. One of the reasons of this success is the so called small-tree (it. “Alberello”), i.e. a traditional way to culture the vine tree in dry and poor regions. For this reason is a very ancient form of culturing widespread in the South of Italy.

This culturing style is characterized by a limited development of the tree. As Professor Mario Fregoni, one of the greatest world experts of viticulture, said, the small-tree style is the true history of wine. As a matter of fact, according to Fregoni, “preserving the small-tree of Apulia means to save the high-quality viticulture”. Recently a group of wine producers of Apulia created the Apulian Small-Tree Academy to preserve it.

Then, under the Notary Francesco di Gregorio seal, the Academy was created. The Academy is provided with a Scientific Committee and has among the founder members the Due Palme Wine Cellar President Angelo Maci, which is one of the most convinced founders of the Academy.

According to Angelo Maci: “We know that the managing costs of small-tree vineyards are definitely bigger than the pay-off, and that in many cases the conversion to a newer wine culturing is necessary. All the same, the preservation of our vineyard territory and of our traditional culturing techniques is our only true weapons to compete against other producer countries”.

Angelo Maci

The same effort was paid some years ago with the Olive culturing of Apulia. “We ask for the small-tree of Apulia the same attention that was paid to the age-old monumental olive trees; we need to preserve and safeguard the small-tree vine. We need an annual contribution for each hectare that should be paid to the farmer in order to preserve the landscape”.

This is the reason why Angelo Maci, President of the Due Palme wine cellar and of the Willow of Salento Association, put so much effort in the creation of the Small-Tree Academy. The Academy is open to all the wine producers that employ the small-tree technique, to agriculturalists, enologists and researchers.

As Maci underlines, “it is worth noting that in countries like Australia, 50 hours of mechanized work are necessary to manage one hectare of vineyard; in Italy we need at the same purpose even 1,000 hours! This should make us think about our competitors. Our strength point has to be quality and the close relationship between our wine and the history and the culture of our land”.

di T N