Qqualifications: 1996- 2001 Degree in Agrarian Science and Technologies from the University of Padova, graduating in 2001 with Honours. | 2000-2001 Course in Viticulture and Enology at ENSAM, University of Montpellier. During university Zago collaborated on various research projects in ecological wine-growing for the CRA school in Conegliano (TV = Treviso). He has also undertaken courses and training programmes in Biodynamic agriculture in India (Basil Academy), France (Biodynamie Services), New Zealand and Australia, spending the majority of that time in India and New Zealand.
Career: Zago began his career in 2000, working as agronomist for two estate wineries in the Chianti Classico DOCG region of Tuscany, Fattoria La Massa in Panzano and Castello dei Rampolla (a mixed farm, not just vines) in Greve in Chianti. Zago is currently (2018) overseeing the conversion to Biodynamics of Avignonesi in Vino Nobile. He also has other clients in Tuscany, elsewhere in Italy and abroad. Zago is Technical Director of the Institute of Applied Agroecology (IDEAAA). Zago also teaches biodynamic agriculture at universities in Florence (Firenze) and Padova (Athenaeum) and in different associations dedicated to the diffusion of the principles of the biodynamic agriculture.
Languages: English, French and Italian.
Approach: ‘Big or small vineyards, the approach is the same. Each project is different. A good rapport with the owner is vital. As a consultant you need to know who is in charge of what, eg staff, machinery, budgets etc. Everything must be very clear in terms of exactly who is responsible for what, when, why, where and how. Must have absolute clarity as to your role, and what the client gets from you and what they expect eg. can they call you every day, five times a day. Step one is to eliminate the poisons. Herbicides first. Then work on the human aspect–the workers, owners, managers, and technical staff. Work out how much and what kind of training the staff need, who is prepared, who is not or is unwilling, and who may therefore have to change (job). Sometimes you need new people. The main first step in the field is to get the vines in balance. The key work in the field is the soil. Organic matter: compost and cover crops. Important to make the Biodynamic preparations work by creating a good viticultural base allied to technical knowledge. Climate change: good soil management will help soil filter sudden rain and avoid erosion, and in hot weather will protect the soil and minimise vine stress. More elastic. Try to get the right pH in the wines and work back from that. High pH and low or no added sulfites encourages Brett. Wine pH is rising with climate change. Need to work towards different maturations,’ (‘phone interview with Adriano 07th June 2019).
Telephone interview with Adriano 07th June 2019.
My podcast with Adriano.