You’ve heard of organic farming, but have you heard about biodynamic viticulture? If not, then why not head to Avignonesi to learn about this, philosophical form of farming that reflects the ideas of philosopher Rudolph Steiner and his belief that everything in nature is interconnected by resonance or vibe. Located just over the natural border between the Montepulciano and Chianti regions, Avignonesi has been practicing organic and biodynamic methods since 2009, and is hoping to achieve certified status in 2020, which would make them the largest biodynamic winery in the world! On the tour around their 18th Century buildings and vineyards, you will discover Avignonesi’s unique farming approaches, such as growing secondary crops to increase their land’s biodiversity, their hexagonal vineyard – which is a far cry from the neat rows of vineyards you’re used to seeing in grape- growing Tuscany – and how they use ground up quartz and cow manure diluted in water (in a system similar to homeopathy) to fertilize their vines and soil…after they’ve been buried in a cow horn for 6 months to absorb the energy of the sun and soil of course! Of particular interest is also their round vineyard, or vigna Tonda, which was developed to test the perfect density for growing their vines, and is the only vineyard of its kind in the world!
Supposedly, biodynamic methods such as these don’t improve the taste of the wine, and merely to promote a more holistic relationship with nature. Either way, as you can discover on your post-tour wine tasting, Avignonesi’s wines are just as delicious and romantic as the process that brought them into being. We recommend tasting all 7 of their wines (as well as their Vin Santo for which they are famous – don’t miss seeing their Vin Santo temple and drying room, where the grapes are dried on straw mats in a method typical of the Montepulciano region) so that you can compare the differences between their different vintages of Chardonnay, Merlot and of course San Giovese, one of the premier grapes of the region, and one of the favorites of Virginie Sayers, Avignonesi’s current owner.