Day two was all about natural wine, Vin Natur and Angiolino Maule of the fascinating La Biancara estate in Gambellara. I met up with fellow journalists. Germany based Kevin Gagnon, Swedish wine writer Per Karlsson, fellow Swede Katarina Andersson, and Palate Press's Mike Madaio.
Angiolino Maule heads up Vin Natur, one of the most important natural wine organisations in the world.
We headed out of Verona and east towards the small town of Gambellara. Although the area is known for the succulently sweet Recioto di Gambellara, our destination was La Biancara, home of the outspoken Angiolino Maule, and his dry, Garganega driven natural wines.
The plan was to delve deep into Vin Natur, the natural wine organisation he heads up and the vehicle through which he seeks to educate other winemakers on sustainable farming and build a forum of information exchange.
Back in the cellar we made our way through a number of wines brought in by other producers, also members of Vin Natur, but relatively local to Gambellara. Daniele Piccinin showcased his delightful sparkling wine produced from the little know, but fascinating Durello variety. Natural sparkling wines rarely capture the imagination, the fizz masking our perception of authenticity perhaps, but nevertheless, this was beautiful. There was nothing flashy about it, no polish, no pretence, just admirable purity and balance.
Vin Natur is still finding its place in the world. It has a lot of members, but its clear not all feel up the challenge of maintaining standards. I mentioned a handful of producers that I knew personally but featured in last year's manual. All of them had lapsed their membership for one reason or another. Generally though, they felt the financial risks outweigh such rigorous commitment to the doctrine.
Despite the obvious commercial challenges for producers, over the long term Vin Natur is a hugely important organisation and should be supported (by producers, consumers, authorities) to keep the project alive. In these environmentally hazardous times we live, respect and commitment for sustainable farming is critical.