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Posted: Wednesday, September 30 2009. 12:25

Tuscan Winery saves Carbon Footprints

With reduction of the carbon footprints being the buzzword, it is commendable to learn that a small and relatively new Tuscan winery, I Balzini is actually taking practical steps and has installed a photovoltaic plant to save electricity and is working towards shaving off the bottle weight by 200 gms, resulting in further reduction.

The small 10 hA estate owned by the Florentine couple Antonella and Vincenzo d'Isanto  started growing grapes and olive groves in 1980 with only 5.4 hAs of vineyards and has three labels of IGT Toscana red wines with first wine released only from the 1987 harvest- the other two labels being a decade apart. Yet the commitment of the couple to pay attention to environment has resulted in the setting up of  a photovoltaic plant on top of the cellars earlier this month. The plant produces 80% of the company's total energy requirements, because of the high levels of sunlight enjoyed by the basin where both the vineyards and cellars of I Balzini are located.

The company producing 40,000 bottles initiated a two-part programme in 2005 to reduce the weight of the bottle from 750 gms to 550 gms, thus aiming for a reduction of 8 tonnes of glass which would not only reduce the cost of a bottle but also transportation costs. Vintage of 2006 is already in bottles that are 100 gms lighter is resting in the cellars. The 2007 harvest will be put in 550 gms bottles completing the project successfully.

This may appear a small saving in the carbon footprints but if the bigger producers making millions of bottles follow the example of the d’Isantos, wine production would have a far lesser impact on the environment, and a significantly lower emission levels, in line with the Kyoto protocol.

While building the new ageing cellar a year ago, adequate attention was paid both to the environmental impact and energy saving. The cellar is fully underground to avoid disturbing the surrounding landscape, and a light capturing system has been created to allow for working with the barriques without the need to resort to electrical lighting.

The three labels, IGT Colli della Toscana Centrale all, are- White Label with 50% Sangiovese and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon; Black Label with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot and the latest Green Label with 80% Sangiovese and  20% Mammolo which is another local Tuscan grape allowed to be used also in Chianti Classico. The products are quality driven well awarded and command good premium in the market.

Balzini wines will not just be a pleasure to our palate now, but also a guarantee for our children's future and a small step in saving the planet,’says Vincenzo.

For details visit their website.

       

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