Growing vines and making wine
Planting a Vineyard
It seems so idyllic: once you’ve bought your own home in Italy with a piece of land, you’d like to have your own vineyard (if you haven't already got one). Unfortunately the European Union has complicated this! Nowadays no new vineyards are allowed, so the existing total vineyard surface in Europe cannot increase, to avoid being inundated by cheap wine of poor quality. But if you really want your own vineyard, you can, by using the so-called wine quotas, or rights to plant that have become the subject of a lively commerce. Fortunately we know a trustworthy expert who deals in wine quotas. He finds you a quota and buys it from somebody who wants to close his vineyard. Don't plant more than 10 vines without one or they will literally be pulled up by the authorities and you will never get a quota!
One hectare of wine quota costs about €11,000. At the sale the owner hands over the ownership documents.
Our expert also gave us the following information:
After having bought a quota you have to register it at the “Ufficio del Registro”, with a “scrittura privata” (private act of sale), with two copies.
You take one copy to the Regione dell’ Umbria in Perugia, office Produzioni Vegetali or to one of the local Comunità Montane, and also give them a copy of your property act of the land and a map.
The authorisation to plant is valid for 2 years. If you extirpate (root up) an existing vineyard you have 5 years to re-plant, but if you sell the quota it will be have to be re-planted within 2 years (by the new buyer).
How many vines can you grow on one hectare?
One hectare is 10,000 square metres. Between the rows there has to be a distance of 3 metres, and between vines 1 metre. This means that you can plant up to 3,333 vines in one hectare, with special vines suitable for narrow rows (SO4 or Pausen 1106).
If you need to level off bumpy land to make a flat vineyard, you’ll have to ask permission from the Comunità Montana for ground movement works.
After you have planted your vines you have to communicate this to the Regione or Comunità Montana, indicating the exact cadastre page, piece of land, surface and variety of vines (Trebbiano, SanGiovese, etc).
If you are in a DOC area (Dénomination d’Origine Contrôlée) you can register your vineyard as a DOC vineyard too, obtaining a higher price for your grapes, wine and land. In the third year of existence of the vineyard you have to register on the “Albo DOC” of your Commune (with four copies). The registration is free and you have a chance of getting any subsidies that may be available.
During the month of September the Comunità Montana will come and pay a visit to your vineyard, to check if everything is in order and to give you the DOC label.
Then, after all these efforts you probably will need a drink (or a glass of your self-made wine)!
For more information on growing vines and making wine we recommend 'From Vines to Wines' by Jeff Cox. It is written in English and relates to producing in America but is full of useful information. Read the book then listen to, and watch, the locals! Ask their advice too as they love to pass on their knowledge to eager students!
PS. The legislation changes constantly, so always ask for up-to- date advice. Le Case di Dorrie cannot be held responsible for the information given in this field.