Carlo Dibenedetto was a winegrower, his son Francesco Valentino Dibenedetto has been a farmer since he was born, and after university he became agronomist.
Since the 80’s Francesco Valentino began to convert his land to organic farming, but he observed that the vitality of his lands was not like he supposed to. That is why in 2000 he implemented biodynamic farming thanks to his studies on Rudolf Steiner’s cultural legacy. After few years of biodynamic he realized that there was still something that could be done. Francesco Valentino studied Masanobu Fukuoka’s thought and finally he implemented a sustainable agriculture, in which all synergies in the ecosystem are linked: the Synergistic Agriculture. This one incorporates organic and biodynamic agricultures, but it also deletes ploughing, which is considered a wrong practice.
This new adventure involved his wife Anna Maria and their four children: Carlo Nazareno, Domenico, Andrea e Maria Clelia. Thanks to their cooperation and constant care, they built the new wine cellar, made of tuff blocks (called tufo in Italian), where the specific climatic conditions give them precious grapes in order to obtain wines with no chemicals use.
Following Francesco Valentino’s vast knowledge and under his leadership, the new generation gave vitality to the farm.
The awareness of Homo Technologicus’ damages in last 50-60 years, leads us to think and keep in our mind the path to follow in order to save our home: Planet Earth. Yes, that is what we are talking about. If someone doesn’t understand that our absolute priority must be to save our planet, this means that he doesn’t understand anything yet!! I’m sorry for him, but unluckily he is still stuck with thinking only about his business, even if it excludes everything else.
The archetype is the natural form of every single thing in nature. Going back to that form is required in every aspect of our life, from nutrition, to global energy crisis and last but not least to the ethical point of view of every choice-action.
- Our nutrition must be focused on “alive foods”, which only come from alive soils. This is the only way to give renewed vitality to our physical and spiritual body. On the contrary, “dead foods” are completely denatured by industrial processes, which are like deadly procedures. The aim of industrial production is to increase the shelf life of the products, leaving aside the nutritional characteristics of food; in a very short time all these matters may result in serious health problems. Going back to the archetypes is the only way to feed our cells, without the devastating and destructive deviance of industrial logic. Few people know the importance of enzymes, present only in alive foods, which are useful to ensure a regular human life cycle. In the cellar of L’Archetipo we don’t use conventional filtration techniques, because by using these methods, all the enzymes involved during the digestive processes are deleted. Despite the forming of lees in bottles, we have great health benefits for our wines, which we recommend decanting before drinking. Moreover, the natural lees present on the bottom of the bottle contains also vitamin B, the same present in food supplement with yeast, which is very useful to our metabolism. Humans eat cooked foods, which have their enzymes completely denatured; luckily wine is one of the few foods that we drink raw!
- As far as global energy crisis is concerned, in the farm of L’archetipo we don’t use ploughing, considered a harmful practice, which leads us to save lots of energy, to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions and to prevent soil erosion caused by that practice. In addition, thanks to Synergistic Agriculture plants reach their balance, which results in healthy vines, so that we have a very low incidence of physiological disorders (or plant disease). Therefore, we have reduced the amount of sulphur and Bordeaux mixture used in our vineyard, which are the only two means of disease defence implemented in our farm. We reached another important synergy in our farm, which could be explained thanks to Rudolf Steiner’s book and his teaching: “The Philosophy of Freedom”. Among various concepts in that book, the most significant one shows us how dangerous it is to move a living being from its own archetype, which is not only the natural habitat but also its morphological development in all its forms (note: living being are not only humans, but also plants, animals, worms etc); moving from the archetype may lead to deprivation of liberty and movements (i.e. just think about ourselves in a cage with our hands tied). We understand the severity of these actions only if we imagine ourselves in that situation, in fact it seems normal do so to an animal, an insect, a plant etc. Depending on our reaction to these thoughts, we can understand how much we still have to do to reach awareness of our actions. Let’s have a general look at vineyards worldwide: vine-rows in order, squared vineyards, perfect pruning during growing season etc. All these practices sometimes become objects of pride and satisfaction, forcing vines to grow up where and how much people want, trampling on and literally ignoring the archetype of that living being. It is like pruning an oak to grow up it like a cypress or vice versa. It’s quite common see these aberrations in every business, which give us a clear information of how human has moved away from nature as far as trample it without realizing it, or even more it becomes an object of pride. If everything is clear, thinking about how vineyards should grow up will be natural; just have a look at how vines grow up, according to its archetype: creeping and climbing. If all human actions are driven by social and cultural background, in L’archetipo we grow up our vines according to these principles; we call this kind of training system: free-standing espalier, in which plants can grow whenever and wherever they want, without human intervention. In a recent Vegetal Neurobiology study, the inventor of lie detector (or polygraph), Leonarde Keeler showed that a plant is able to perceive our thoughts. If they were positive, he observed some peaks in graph, instead if they were negative, these peaks changed completely.
- Every our choice-action and the related ethics should come from one of the Ten Commandments: you shall not do to others what you would not want them to do yourself. This commandment should be applied to all living beings and not just to humans and their relationships. As regard agriculture we can’t do it without taking care and respecting all living beings in ecosystem. Have you ever thought about what happens when somebody ploughs land? It is like a massive bulldozer that destroys your home! How could your life go on? How could you grow up your children without a house? Every living being has its own home! Earthworms, spiders, ladybirds, moles have their own home in the soil. If we plough, we can understand what happens to a rich soil microflora, microfauna, flora and fauna: the largest tragedy. Can the AWARE MAN go on in this darkness?
L’Archetipo was selected and inserted in Triple “A” and its prestigious and exclusive manifesto.
Introduction to the manifesto (decalogue) of Triple “A”
Most of wines produced all over the world are standardized, it means that wines are produced using oenological and agronomic practices which destroy the importance of grape varieties, soil and winemaker’s personality. Standardization makes very similar the wines produced worldwide, which have the same organoleptic attributes and they are unable to be long-lasting. The two main reason from which standardization comes from are: chemicals use in vineyards and selected yeasts in laboratory. Great and exciting wines come from hard farming work, which has almost disappeared; in addition, winemaking should not be unnecessarily interventionist. Vineyards should be cultivated like a vegetables garden. The manifesto of Triple “A” producers’ shows the fundamental criteria of selecting last survivor cellars, which produce wines that may deserve to be considered a myth as it has always been in human history.
Written by Luca Gargano (2003)
Click here and see L’archetipo profile on Triple “A” decalogue:
Triple “A” profile
After twenty years of organic agriculture and five years of biodynamic, finally L’Archetipo reached a balance situation in soils and vines, which is defined in technical terms Synergistic Agriculture. A balance ecosystem can be defined as an ecosystem which has no primacy of a living being’s development peaks over the others. In other words, when there is a predominance of a living being over another, it means that ecosystem is not balanced; for this reason, the aware man should understand the right agronomic practices in order to reach a balance situation between all living beings in that specific ecosystem. We want to emphasize the importance of awareness because in the vision of L’Archetipo, the aware man is: the ones who knows what he eats while he is eating, he knows what he talks about when he is talking, and he knows what to do while he is working. We have studied and applied for many years Rudolf Steiner’s and Masanobu Fukuoka’s teaching – to whom our production is dedicated to – in order to learn how to give the soil life again. This is the basis of our future! For those who didn’t realize what human did to the planet earth in the last 50-60 years, he should know that chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides cause soil desertification; in fact, these substances are very toxic for the microflora and microfauna present in the soil.
To raise awareness we need to know that every dead organic matter can come back to new life; in fact, the process of humification (or composting), which is carried out by microflora and microfauna present in an alive soil, can give a new life to organic matter. When microflora and microfauna are not present in the soil, the life cycle is interrupted. The nature has scheduled perfectly this cycle without human’s help; in a forest for example, the organic matters – which have fallen on the ground (leaves, branches etc) suffer a process called surface composting. This complex and mostly unknow process is a sequence of biological transformations, which is driven by microflora and microfauna, that starting from organic matters produce humus, very important nutritious food for plants. In addition, microflora and microfauna are very different in the ground layers, so that there is a variability of animal and vegetal species in each ground layer. This let us to understand the deep meaning of the book “Ploughman’s Folly”, written by Edward H. Faulkner. The ploughing is a disruptive agricultural practice which changes all balances and synergies between living beings in ground layers, that have been set up by nature with a hard and long work, in which the life cycle enables dead organic matter to come back to life again.
In the vineyards of L’Archetipo ploughing has not been implemented since five years, this has been useful for our vines and all living beings which live inside. Thus, nature can perform its aim: the welfare of all living beings which finally come back to their original archetype. One thing must be clear: unlike popular misconception, living beings are not in competition but, on the contrary, they are in synergy between each other.
In addition, the Earth was born four and a half billion years ago, and all billions living beings, which inhabit it, are considered the most beautiful and extraordinary thing that has ever happened in the Universe. All this is not the result of negative forces, but it comes from positive and synergistic forces where one plus one equals three!
Finally, today anyone could become aware of all disasters caused by humans’ unawareness; if you really want it and, at the same time, you want to understand how to get out from it, come to visit us and our farm. Having a close-up view of our soil and its vitality, let you to completely understand the only possible way to get out from dangerous spiral, in which most of men have fallen into, during this time of great darkness.
The wines of L’Archetipo are the highest expression of the vines, which are grown in Terra rossa soil next to the Apulian Murgia plateau; they are not technical wines, in fact starting from soil, vines and the processing of grapes, we try to leave unchanged the taste, smell and colour of our wines.
A very important issue in oenological world in last twenty years is: whether or not to use selected yeasts, which could be the responsible for taste standardization, removing a wide variety of flavours and aromas. For this reason, L’Archetipo decided to use only native yeast, which are grown in our land, with specific climatic condition, and so completely used to live in an ecosystem in which the synergies between microflora and microfauna are very important, so that they give our wines an original taste. This authentic expression of our lands is also obtained because our wines are not filtered, in fact this practice could change the taste and flavour of a wine after ageing. For this reason, L’archetipo suggests decanting wines before drinking, so that to appreciate the real taste of a clean wine from first sip.
Next to the wine cellar there are about 20 hectares of vineyards (320 meters of altitude) located at the foot of the Apulian Murgia plateau, which was created by the accumulation of Terra rossa deposits that came from karst processes and from erosions of the calcareous hills (known with the name of Murgia). In our vineyard grape varieties like Primitivo, Negroamaro, Aglianico, Greco, Fiano, Susumaniello, Marchione and Maresco find the maximum expression because they are perfectly adapted to the local soil and climate conditions, in fact they have been cultivated since thousands of years in this land and for this reason defined autochthones grapes.
We cultivate these vines according to their archetype, a training system called free-standing espalier (better explained in the section of modus operandi) without absolutely ploughing the land; density of 4545 plants per hectare, and vines were planted 2,20 meters between the rows and 1 meter within the rows (planting pattern: 2,20 x 1 m). In these conditions, the yield per hectare is from 6 to 8 tons of grapes per hectares, and the range of one kilo of grape per square meter is respected; a lot of recent studies show that a low yield per hectare, and in particular one kilo of grapes per square meter, is the basis for obtaining full-bodied wines with great flavours, taste and aromas. Furthermore, the elevation of our vineyards (320 meters of altitude) ensures diurnal temperature variation, which is very important to produce polyphenols in grapes; these compounds are very useful for our metabolism and for a better preservation of wines. In addition, in our vineyard there is perennial coexistence between lots of living beings – micro-organisms, protozoa, algae, lichens, yeasts, fungi and bacteria – in perfect synergy with worms, earthworms, arachnids, insects and obviously with vines and grapes.
To better understand what does it mean, just think about a whale in ocean which feels good if it eats fishes in good health, which eat smaller fishes and so on until oceanic plankton – the diverse collection of organisms that live in the sea; that’s to say, the whale feels good if there is a plankton in good health! If the plankton dies, the whale dies as well! In the soil there is the same situation, also because the law of life says: nature only works if there is synergy between living beings! We now fully realize the wrong teaching received in lasts decades, which induced us to believe the equivalence between microbe and disease; it’s time to overturn this wrong vision, becoming aware that superior life forms are inextricably linked to inferior ones. On his deathbed, Pasteur recanted his theory of microbes, and he recognized the correctness of Claude Bernard’s research, which stated that: “the microbe is nothing, the soil is everything”. That’s to say that a living species has no effect out from his natural habitat, but it becomes important under certain conditions. Just think about a virus epidemic in human population, the individuals with susceptible immune system could be immediately attacked by virus, while the individuals with a good immune system could overcome epidemic almost without realizing it. The same principles can be applied to plants, in fact based on their vitality in terms of immunological integrity, the plants could present high or low susceptibility to pathogens.
With this integrated vision, the grapes of L’Archetipo are full of native yeasts and these are very important for winemaking; the process of primary fermentation with native yeasts is more difficult and completely different than fermentation with selected yeasts, which are standardized and so equal all over the world. The use of selected yeasts is still a necessary evil in conventional farming, because all native yeasts die, due to the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides; so, the primary fermentation would be very low and problematic without selected yeasts. Only a “clean” farming allows us to entrust native yeasts for the alcoholic fermentation; in fact, with Synergistic Agriculture, the grapes of L’Archetipo are full of alive and vital yeasts, which are ready to perform a great and complex transformation from must to wine; this wine is a premium one that expresses the fullest and the most adequate concept of Terroir.
Every place with a specific interaction of factors, has its own unique and unrepeatable fingerprint, as well as all living beings. If vine growers and winemakers completely understand and respect all these principles, they will produce an artwork, instead of take part of conventional agriculture and winemaking which produces industrial and standardized wines. In modern world we need to fully understand Homo Technologicus’ disasters and we need to follow the only way to save ourselves; in L’Archetipo we are proud of our job and mission: try to save our ecosystem which is threatened by the biggest unawareness of humans.