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06 Nov

The Organic Oasis in Montalcino

By: SVS Categories: Reviews and Awards, Wines, Organic

What better way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Col d’Orcia’s Organic Certification than becoming the only Tuscan winery to obtain both the Equalitas Certification and Slow Wine Chiocciola. Col d’Orcia was established more than 350 years ago and was purchased by the Marone Cinzano family in 1973, who began the organic and sustainable practices in the vineyards and winery.

Equalitas Certification

The Equalitas Certification that was attained validates Col d’Orcia as a sustainable winery for vineyard management, production, aging, refining, and bottling in glass bottle of still white and red wines. Along with the daily and deliberate dedication of Col d’Orcia to sustainable practices, they have established the perfect integration of the winery with the territory and local community.

Slow Wine Chiocciola

The 2024 Slow Wine Guide recently awarded Col d’Orcia with the Chiocciola, a symbol given to wineries for the way in which they interpret organoleptic, territorial, and environmental values in line with the Slow Food philosophy, along with the excellent quality in its offerings. They have also bestowed upon Francesco Marone Cinzano, owner of Col d’Orcia who began these sustainable initiatives, a special award for Lifetime Achievement.

This year, Col d’Orcia also celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Organic Certification. The process of converting to organic agriculture started in 2010, not only in the vineyards but also in the olive groves, cultivating fields, parks, and gardens, and concluded in 2013 making Col d’Orcia an organic oasis in Montalcino.

Sustainability is a core concept which has always inspired the philosophy of Col d’Orcia, from the activities of winemaking, sheep and goat farming, as well as beekeeping to the cellar and cultivation, in addition to the agriturismo.

As a sign of the continued commitment in pursuit of balance between mankind and nature, this year the first Sustainability Report was drawn up, a document which outlines the winery’s goals, the achievements attained, and the future commitments to the environment, the employees, and the local community.

Among the main standards, which guide the winery towards a more responsible future, making Col d’Orcia an upstanding model where tradition and innovation coexist on an organic farm and winery, are notably:

1. Caring for the environment and protecting its biodiversity: through farming according to the principles of organic agriculture, the green manure method and the use of organic products, including using lighter glass for the wine bottles, recycled and 100% recyclable packaging cardboard, and the progressive substitution of foil capsules in favor of polylaminate ones; the construction of energetically efficient buildings, for example by using local stones in the renovation of our buildings or the use of solar panels since 2017; the adoption of good practices to protect water reserves by using a drip irrigation system and installing an advanced biological
wastewater treatment plant; respecting the recycling guidelines for waste disposal; protecting the forest resources of the 90.64 hectares of woodland which is essential in contributing to the absorption of CO2from the atmosphere as well as in guaranteeing the survival of local flora and fauna; the provision of ad hoc measures to protect biodiversity, the countryside, and the ecosystem of the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Attention to employees and associates: through training programs for employees with the goal of enhancing professionalism and excellence; attention to equal opportunity; development of a safe and positive work environment, for instance through a survey on the working atmosphere that allowed us to get some very good insights which the company can improve on; a company welfare program; introduction of the Amfori BSCI Code of Conduct in 2019, which has allowed us to formalize a communication policy for everyone involved in the company (employees, external associates) in order to guarantee that clients are never misled by company correspondence.

3. Support for the local community: promotion of the territory through guided tours, tastings, and locally sourced food experiences; collaboration with local educational institutions and universities for work experience programs and educational projects which allow for the development of practical and professional skills in the field; membership in associations for the promotion of wines in foreign markets; participation in the Fondazione Territoriale del Brunello di Montalcino to reinvest part of company profits to benefit the territory with a special regard to the public health sector, to culture, and to the recovery of historical and artistic legacies; founding member of the “Committee for Organic Montalcino”, started in 2015 to promote the development of organic agriculture and animal husbandry in the municipal territory of Montalcino; continued research and development in partnership with universities and research institutes, such as the one started in 1989 with the Department of Horticulture at the University of Florence aimed at examining important viticultural topics which subsequently became actual research topics for the entire Italian winemaking sector.

About Col d’Orcia:

Col d’Orcia is a historical winery on 540 organic hectares of land, 149 of which are vineyards, located in the Municipality of Montalcino. Owned by the Marone Cinzano Family since 1973, it contributed to the attainment of the DOCG for Brunello di Montalcino and the DOC for Rosso di Montalcino in the 80s. In 1992, Conte Francesco Marone Cinzano was entrusted with the winery after inheriting it from his father, Alberto, and contributed to the growth in vineyards on the estate to the current 149 hectares: 106ha of Sangiovese Brunello, 7.5ha Sangiovese Sant’Antimo, 9ha Cabernet, 6ha Merlot, 4ha Pinot Grigio, 3ha Chardonnay and another 3ha of Moscadello, 2.5ha Syrah, and 1ha of different red-grape varieties.

The winery produces 15 organic certified labels and in addition to their vineyards, they also have 5,500 olive trees, some of which are even over 400 years old, covering the hill from Sant’ Angelo in Colle down to the Orcia River ranging in altitude from 200 to 350 masl.


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