|Comparison of cultivation methods: historical on the left vs. larger fields planted along the maximun hydraulic slope on the right|
|The beginnings of mechanisation in the vineyard|
Modern mechanised agriculture from the ‘60s onwards has begun to cancel out the shapes that hundreds of generations of farmers designed into the countryside. Is this simply an acceptable price to pay for a more efficient farming technique or can we once again do better?
In regards to vine networks, we will focus on two important examples: Piedmont and Tuscany. In the first case, the rows mainly follow the contour line, giving the landscape ‘rounded lines’. In the second case, the rows follow the hill’s maximum slope (vertical ploughing (rittochino)) with straight-line geometry.
This last network is often attained through the demolition of historical walls and terraces with the aim of creating the most efficient cultivation with maximum mechanization.
The recent vineyard renewal must, however, be more aware of the warnings and teachings of Landeschi, which are still relevant. In any case, maximum cultivation efficiency cannot neglect to consider hydrogeological and environmental constraints, altering the flow of surface and ground water and exposing lands to a striking loss in fertility. In a region of the most spectacular historical agrarian landscapes, new viticulture should surely be able to reflect on the sustainability of production and the fact that land and storm water management are, first and foremost, an ancient cultural heritage, just like the taste of a great aging wine.