Beekeeping in Italy

Life is Bee-utiful at Palazzo Tronconi, Italy

Conserving our Flora and Fauna 

bees in hive

Bees are essential to our eco system. They are responsible for almost a third of the food we eat. Their ecological and morphological characteristics make them valuable in the preservation of our environment. So, as a biodynamic winemaker obsessed with ecology and natural science when the beehives were introduced to Palazzo Tronconi on the 10th May 2017 we were all buzzing with excitement.

beekeeping Italy
beekeeping
apiarist

Not only are we playing a small part in conserving our flora and fauna, we hope to produce  natural honey. We also intend to use the propolis that is produced in the hives for pharmaceutical purposes. The vineyards will also benefit as gradually we hope to abandon the use of copper and use a treatment of propolis instead.

beehive
beehive

For centuries beekeepers assumed that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and winds. Only recently research has shown that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter. In fact propolis adds much more beneficial purpose to the hive, including prevention of diseases and parasites from entering the hive, also stopping fungal and bacterial growth. It has also been used in traditional medicines for thousands of years.

Our honey is almost ready, and after tasting natural acacia honey for the first time, I cannot wait….

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Palazzo Tronconi's First Biodynamic Sparkling Wine

'Ancestrale'

It seemed fitting that we should name our first sparkling wine 'Ancestrale' after the oldest natural method of sparkling wine production.

Sparkling wine was first produced using this ancient method almost 400 years ago by monks in the monastery of Sainte Hilaire in France. 

It is a technique that is very difficult to control and requires great skill to produce but at Palazzo Tronconi we are hoping for a very unique, natural aromatic wine. 

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For the base wine we chose our unknown grape variety 'pampanaro', the hand picked grapes were harvested earlier than normal to preserve acidity. Part of the must was taken and refrigerated for six months. The remainder was left to complete the wine making process. 

In March we blended the two together here at our winery in Arce,  we bottled on the same day allowing the fermentation process to commence, trapping the CO2 in the bottle. 

Unlike other wine and champagne making methods, no sulphites, yeasts and sugars are added to the secondary fermentation. Using the ancestral method fermentation occurs in the bottle using up much of the remaining natural sugar and yeasts to produce a fresh, dryish and delicious biodynamic sparkling wine. 

We are hoping Ancestrale will be available in October to toast our 2017 harvest. In the meantime we have to allow nature to take it's course.