The garden vineyard of the Masseria Amastuola
From our vineyard, Amastuola organic wine is born
The vineyard, with its extension of more than 100 hectares of entirely organic farming, is situated in the heart of the Mediterranean region, in Puglia (Italy), on a 210 metre plateau, where the microclimate favours organic farming and the soil’s precious minerals and nutrients gives the wine a very special aroma. The vineyard was established on the basis of a project to promote the area towards sustainable development and to remove the spectre of abandonment that is undermining the agricultural future of the Italian south in particular. To this end, the vineyard has revived non-productive land by planting mainly autochthonous vines, with both vines and grapes being lovingly and traditionally cared for in each phase of growth. To extract the excellence of the grapes at each stage of production, we use a combination of the most modern technology with ancient skill and love of the land.
Innovation and respect for the environment at Amastuola’s vineyard
To protect the environment and to save water in years of drought, while safeguarding the quality of the grapes, the vineyard is equipped with a compensating drip irrigation system. Recently too, in collaboration with University of Piacenza, an agrometeorological station has been installed in the vineyard, which uses software to manage and identify periods of parasitic risk and the relative potential for infection of the vines, the current level of protection given by any previous treatment (depending on environmental conditions and development of the plant) and the optimal measure of product to disperse, thus drastically reducing the dosage used.
How the project of the garden was born
Amastuola Vineyard is a unique example of the possible harmony between production and aesthetics. The blueprint of the vineyard is based on the design thought out by the well-known landscape architect Fernando Caruncho, who arranged the stunning 3km parallel waves of vines extending the length of the vineyard and who described them as “waves of time that traverse this landscape since antiquity”.
1,500 olive trees, dated by CNR Perugia to be more than 800 years old, some with trunks over 2.5m in diameter, have been restored to their former glory and organically replanted in 24 islands around the vineyard and along the historical roads of the Masseria. Today, Amastuola farm is accessed by a long driveway, lined with dry stone walls and framed with these ancient trees that proceed along the roadside and encircle you like a silvery-green wall, contrasting with the intense green of the vines and the grass that changes colour with the seasons, giving unique definition to the Project.
Going uphill towards the Masseria the full perspective of the vineyard’s waves gradually unfolds. As you advance, the waves seem to move, playing games with the light and dark shades of olive, and when touched by the wind and the setting sun, they sometimes assume the appearance of brushed velvet.
A Project of International Interest
The Amastuola garden vineyard continuously raises interest worldwide: it is described and reported in both Italian and foreign magazines; it draws attention from both amateurs and exponents of botanical gardens; and it is a popular destination for landscape designers and garden clubs.
Amastuola has also won awards such as the ‘Best Practice in the Recovery of Non-Productive Agricultural Land’ (Umbria Region, 2009), and ‘Best Practice in the Protection and Enhancement of Agricultural Land for Tourism’ (Puglia Region, 2010), and is heralded as a ‘model’ Project in international conferences.
The Landscape Designer Fernando Caruncho
For the design of the Amastuola vineyard we chose Fernando Caruncho, an artist celebrated for his integration of agricultural elements within his gardens. Reinventing this approach, for the first time he designed the entire agricultural landscape as if it was a garden. Both philosopher and gardener in one, Fernando Caruncho doesn’t like to be defined as simply a landscape designer. To him, designing a landscape is the equivalent to the search for the most profound order of things: an order that he captures with his heart and develops with his mind. He who designs a garden has the responsibility to combine the human with the natural; not only to create a work of art of mere aesthetics, but to reach that purity and simplicity, that is inherent in the natural order of being. Space and time are the two important parameters of Caruncho’s work, but geometry is the means of expressing them; the means that relates architecture, landscape and sky. In garden design, geometry is necessary to give form and content to a concept; it is the grammar of the garden itself.
“I remember very well the morning when Giuseppe Montanaro, the genius and Head of the farm, showed me the land where the vineyard was to be born. From there it was possible to see worlds and lives, thoughts and ideas of the generations before, from the Greeks of Parmenides and Pindar, to the present day. It was a cold morning, sprinkled with snowflakes that danced like musical notes, like chords that unite, rising and falling between the mystical symbols of this life. It was possible to feel a certain musicality in that place, a melodic vibration that enveloped it, where time ceased to be linear, and spiralled the past, present and future together in a single moment.
The waves of time translate themselves during the winter mornings as bright strands that make rivers of light, when the sun is lower in the sky and illuminates the dew drops falling from the steel wires that tie each plant. During the spring, the same strands of light revive, giving sense to the splendor of the harvest”.