Innovation: the quest for sustainability!

Throughout its 70 years Cantina Ruggeri, the historic producer of Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, has never shirked from taking on new challenges. The wonderfully diverse heritage of the territory in which its famed wines are produced is also fertile ground for innovative projects looking at sustainability and ways to protect both the ecosystem and mankind. With great foresight coupled with a spirit of innovation, together with local producers Ruggeri has decided to adhere to the SQNPI certification system and in partnership with a team of experts from Simonit&Sirch it has set up the “Vecchie Viti” project.

Objective Zero Impact

With a focus on sustainability, Ruggeri Winery has launched a new challenge: “Zero Impact”. Gianluca Tognon, Ruggeri’s agronomist explains what this means: “Zero Impact means being increasingly committed to finding the perfect balance by carrying out fewer processes, fewer treatments and fewer applications of fertiliser. In practice, this means employing treatments with active ingredients that tend to have a shorter life in the soil resulting in a reduced impact on the ecosystem.”

The aim is to safeguard the precious territory of Valdobbiadene, Ruggeri’s production area for their Prosecco Superiore DOCG. For this reason, spurred on by its decades of experience and with the full support of the families of local grower-suppliers, in February 2019 Ruggeri decided to join the National Integrated Crop Management National Quality System (SQNPI). Sixty local producers have already agreed to sign up to the protocol, with the aim of involving all the families of local grower-suppliers within a couple of years.

To assist in the process of obtaining SQNPI certification, Ruggeri has employed technicians from Progetto Natura, a firm of agronomists considered to be among the most expert in the cultivation of vines and who have collaborated with Ruggeri on a range of projects for twenty years now. Ruggeri teamed up with them to embark upon both the certification process as well as the development of a consultancy service for local producers, with a view to gradually increasing the wealth of knowledge and expertise that has always been a hallmark of the growers within the Valdobbiadene DOCG area. Last but not least, together with a team of experts from Progetto Natura, Ruggeri is also training key staff within the company, providing them with the skills necessary to be able to take over control and consultancy functions more closely and in complete autonomy.

Thus Ruggeri continues to remain at the vanguard in terms of innovation with its testing of increasingly effective methodologies. Gianluca Tognon went on to explain that “a balanced approach to feeding plants means researching new fertilization techniques that have a reduced impact on the land, coupled with increasingly effective processing systems resulting in the precise balance that our superior-quality wines require.”

Pruning systems for the future

In close collaboration with the families of local grower-suppliers and the team of experts from Simonit&Sirch, Ruggeri has unveiled the “Vecchie Viti” project. Its aim is to safeguard and preserve the health and longevity of its plants in the best way possible by employing innovative pruning techniques tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual vine. For Ruggeri’s older vines, the challenge is to conserve, safeguard and further enhance this incredible historical and monumental heritage which is capable of producing the very best quality wines. “Some of our best vines are over 80 years old, when normally a 25- or 30-year-old vineyard is considered old and the norm is to replace the plants”. The goal is not only to preserve the longevity of the vines, but to extend it to all the vine varieties.

With this aim in mind, Ruggeri Winery has already started a course for its local producers to enable them to study and extend the pruning operations carried out on these precious plants. “The experts from Simonit&Sirch have been impressed by the incredible experience of our local producers and their ability to preserve the longevity of the plants,” concludes Tognon. Out of this collaboration, specific approaches to pruning have been devised that ensure the life of the plant is respected even more, and which prevent disruption of sap in the branches of the vine, thus fostering longevity and efficiency.

In keeping with the company’s artisan traditions, undiminished passion, and thanks in no small part to the collaboration of the extended family of local grower-suppliers, Ruggeri demonstrates once again its unswerving commitment to innovation. A quest for excellence which it successfully achieves and indeed regularly surpasses, and which, now as ever, has been an unmistakeable hallmark of the wine it produces.