Honest with the earth today to harvest well tomorrow


Cantina PrimaVena

Hi, I am Stefano Parpaiola, a passionate winemaker from Oltrepò Pavese. My dream was to become a winemaker and fifteen years ago, I started this fantastic adventure carried by passion.

Sure, I had to face many obstacles starting from scratch, but I have overcome them with work, study, will and humility. Every year, I dare more and more, as with the limited-edition CL, that is a sparkling wine refined on yeasts for over 150 months.

For me, wine is an expression of human genius, which has transformed a fruit into a pure but complex pleasure of the senses. Cantina PrimaVena wines will appetize you for the purity, given by genuineness and frankness; and for the complexity conferred by elegance and uniqueness.

Cantina PrimaVena is not winemakers’ leaders, it is a small winery that day after day gives its best to make known the good of Italy in the world.

Decanter World Wine Awards 2022

95/100

Guida Bibenda 2022

The best wines of Italy

Childhood memories

The smell of wine reminds me the carefree days spent during childhood at Grandfather Carlo’s house and the scent of the forbidden of his cellar. In fact, I was absolutely forbidden to enter the cellar and so my grandfather made sure of it by locking it. However, I stormed the ” blockhouse” repeatedly from the window and I involved my adventure friend in the mischief.

I remember clearly how the heady smell of forbidden wines and hanging cured meats enveloped us and how the sweet taste of good fascinated us. Thus, we became expert tasters of Sangue di Giuda and Moscato of the Oltrepò Pavese.

My grandfather Carlo was right: the winery was not a safe place for us children. Indeed, one day many bottles of Bonarda, waiting for the transition from still to sparkling wine, burst and the white wall became a beautiful purple lit to grandma’s delight.

Oltrepò Pavese

The roots of Cantina PrimaVena are in Oltrepò Pavese, because in this corner of Lombardy everything is about wine, starting from the shape. Infact, the Oltrepò Pavese has the triangular shape like a bunch of grapes, moreover it is crossed by the 45th parallel north defined the “parallel of wine”. Precisely, the 45th parallel “is a watershed between too cold in the North and too hot in the South”, because it is equidistant from the North Pole and the Equator. This area is particularly suitable to produce great wines, as Bernard and Dussard explain in the book “La Magie du 45e Parallèle: Latitude Idéale des Grands Vins du Monde”. Moreover, the lay of the land and the microclimate characterized by a strong thermal excursion between night and day make Oltrepò Pavese an ideal habitat to produce quality grapes. Finally, the Apennines’ natural shield preserves the grapes from the dreaded frosts and environmental adversity.

Origins of winegrowing

The presence of the vine in the hills of Oltrepò Pavese dates back to Prehistory as evidenced by the fossil vine sprog preserved at the Archaeological Museum of Casteggio.

(http://www.museocasteggio.it/)

The introduction of vitis sativa and therefore the viticulture was done by Etruscans in the 6th century B.C., who selected and ennobled local wild species with  long pruning on live support.

A first written record of a thriving wine production in Oltrepò Pavese is by the Greek geographer and historian named Strabo. It was about 40 B.C., when Strabo, in the wake of the Roman troops, passed through this area and was struck to such an extent that he wrote: “good wine, hospitable people and very large wooden barrels”.

Next, Pliny the Elder (23 A.D-79 A.D.) cited several times the presence of lush winegrowing in this area. Later, during Lombard rule, viticulture was kept alive by the clergy.

Decanter World Wine Awards 2022

88/100

Guida Bibenda 2022

The best wines of Italy

Honest with the earth today to harvest well tomorrow

For Cantina PrimaVena a genuinely good wine must be born from a healthy ecosystem. Therefore, in the vineyard we do not use plant protection products of harmful class and the soil is left covered with grass, to create a harmony between nature and man’s work.

Indeed, the grassing makes a natural balance in the vineyard between microorganisms and insects of the soil, it also maintains organic substances and protects the soil from erosion.

Thus, we have depicted, with the image of the homepage, the ideal environment where to give birth to a good wine and summarized with the motto: “Honest with the Earth today to harvest well tomorrow”. We have represented many living species, from the largest to the smallest, because they all play an essential role in keeping the ecosystem in balance and they need to be protected for safeguarding collective well-being.

Biodiversity

Oltrepò Pavese, thanks to its environmental diversity and an ideal microclimate given by the location between land and sea, is a land rich in biodiversity. Indeed, there are several species of flora and fauna, as 94 types of birds of which some rare (European roller, short-toed snake eagle and red kite) and 53 species of butterflies.

Wild boars, deer, roe deer and gray wolves live together in the woods; while aquatic ecosystems live on endemic amphibians such as the Red Frog of the Woods and Italian Crested Newt.

Among the rows you can admire different varieties of roses, violets and tulips. Walking through the woods you can see wild orchids and rare trees such as holm oak and silver fir. Preserving biodiversity, with respectful cultivation, is important to strengthen the ecosystem, which will thus be able to react in the best possible way in the face of adversity.  

Roses in front of the rows

The elderly winemakers summarize the purpose of rose plants at the head of the rows with a dialect phrase:La pülgheta la va prima in si rosal”. Roses are beautiful but delicate, because they have “fewer defenses” than vine, so they are attacked by diseases about a week before the vine.

Then, the rose warns the winemaker in time, so that he can intervene promptly before the epidemic breaks out. Intervening in time is essential to save plants, especially if affected by some serious diseases such as oidium and downy mildew, or by pests attaks such as the red spider.

In conclusion, the rose is a real “sentinel” of the vineyard: when it is beautiful healthy it means that the vine is healthy and on the contrary, when it is sick, it acts as a wake-up call for the winemaker.

Cheers !

Stefano Parpaiola