Fattoria Lavacchio was built in 1700 by the noble Florentine Peruzzi family. By 1840, the property was sold to the Marquises Strozzi Sacrati and was owned by the influential family until 1978, when my family took over. Since then, the farm has become a family owned vineyard, devoted to the cultivation and production of organic wines, olive oil, truffles and vegetables preserving its traditions and practising biodynamic farming.
It is located on the hills of Pontassieve at 450 metres of altitude, only 18km from Florence and is extended on a total 110 hectares with different crops, divided into 22,5 hectares of vineyards, 44 of olive groves, 6 hectares of wheat and 9 of truffle forest! The name derives from an ancient Tuscan word “avacchio” which means “pond” as our land used to be full of ponds where the wild animals used to drink or roll themselves into.
Our winery is part of the renowned Chianti Rufina wine appellation. Chianti Rufina is a historic wine producing area, one of the most important in Tuscany, located to the north-east of the city of Florence, on the slopes of the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines. It is the smallest of the seven Chianti subregions and it is often considered “the highest of the Chiantis'' (for its quality and geographical position).
Amongst the farms in the Chianti Rufina cultivation area, we have been the first ones to embrace organic growing programs and to produce wines without sulfites. We have always cultivated biodiversity and worked in a sustainable way but in 2018 we have started to adopt the biodynamic principles and have introduced the 500K and 501 preparations to give life to our soils. While preserving the best organic agricultural and productive traditions, we have been constantly evolving by combining the methods that the elder people who were working on the farm taught us, with the most advanced technology in order to offer wines of outstanding excellence. We are continuously researching new systems to ensure an increase in the quality of our products and services.
We have renovated some of the country houses in cosy suites, apartments and independent villas for our guests to enjoy the offerings of our on-site restaurant and several activities.
We are aware that our role is important and that it is necessary to develop a global approach in order to guarantee sustainability and improve continuously. This is why we could not stop at “just” farming organically and we soon started to adopt sustainability-oriented practices and our motto became an “organic lifestyle”.
Water, for us, is very precious. We do not receive water from the town and need to collect it through rain water collecting systems and from 2 wells. For this reason, we do neither water our vines, nor our olive trees. We have adopted systems that tend to reduce the hydric consumptions without compromising the quality of the produce. For example, biodynamic farming has increased the organic substance in the soil, the reactivation of biodiversity and the grassing (innerbimento) of the vineyards and the olive groves have reduced the evaporation of water of the soil. In 2017 we joined the project Terra&Acqua as a pilot company, in cooperation with the University of Florence, to measure the water footprint in agriculture. Aware of our role and aiming for continuous improvement we decided to be constantly monitored and bring our contribution in establishing a correct use of water in viticulture and olive cultivation. The result was that 2 litres of water are needed to produce 1 litre of wine and 20 litres of water are needed to produce 1 litre of olive oil. These results have led to the drafting of technical specifications and a point of reference for all the wineries and olive oil producers interested in undertaking a sustainability path. Of course we not only stay below the limits but are also constantly trying to do much better.
At that point, in 2018 we decided to join the VIVA sustainable viticulture project for which we are constantly checking various indicators (air, water, territory and vineyard) with the aim of reducing our footprint (not only water) and improving year after year following the principles of sustainable development. The project VIVA aims at the improvement of sustainability performances of the vinicultural chain through the analysis of four indicators: Air (climate footprint), Water (water footprint), Vineyard (assessing the impacts of vinicultural production practices) and Territory (economic, social and cultural impacts). They give us a guideline with the purpose to clearly define, as regards the wine sector, a univocal concept of sustainability and to promote a common vision related to impact measurement methods and results communication.
In 2019, we started cooperating with Adriano Zago, agronomist and wine maker, pioneer in biodynamic agriculture. Thanks to him we have started adopting biodynamic practices aiming to certify the whole farm in the near future. Although biodiversity was already highly present for its multi-cultures and because we have been farming organically for decades, with the introduction of biodynamic preparations, green manure practices, composting all of our by-products (pruning residues, stalks, lees….) our soil is revitalised and we are slowly attempting to recreate its biodiversity. After only 2 years we have started to see the first results with the appearance of spontaneous plants and harmless insects (ladybugs, cicadas and fireflies).
“It is fundamental to think of sustainability as a path and not a point of arrival, towards a continuous improvement.” Adriano Zago, agronomist and wine maker.
Human resources are very important to us. We have built a strong team during all these years and without each one we would not be here today. We organise constant meetings with a glass of wine in hand, several updating courses on safety and health guidelines and have introduced a proper training program for all the staff as those who work in the company must be involved in understanding what they are doing. We have a team of 6 people all year round helping us out with the production of the olive oil and wine. During harvests, which are done by hand, extra people come and help just like in the old times. For the olive picking the “brucatori”, locals who take a work break from their usual jobs to harvest the olives, get paid in oil to cover their annual family need. The same people come year after year and harvest the same olive groves as if it was theirs. On weekends our kids and friends join too as the olive harvest is a real feast. For the grape harvest, we work with a local trustful company that provides us a specialised and professional team of men. We check that they are regularly hired and paid in accordance with the law as the social aspect is important to us.
We do not produce our own energy yet, as the regulations regarding the safeguard of the landscape do not allow us to put solar panels or windmills, but we buy renewable energy.
We look forward to the enhancement of identity of the territory in which we operate and the safeguard of cultural heritage, promoting agricultural educational activities (as we are a didact farm) and wine-and-food tourism.