Federico Orsi: For the Love of the Land

Federico Orsi’s story is one that deserves to be told from the beginning. Orsi, a successful manager who reached the apex of his career with a job offer that would have propelled him into the world of high finance, decided instead to decline the offer and take over a farm near the ancient house of his family in the Bolognese hills.

We could talk about the appeal of the “terroir” understood as its historical and cultural roots, this place of childhood and the most beautiful memories, or the happy intuition of a man with clear ideas and a vision of the future that borders on clairvoyance.

Vigneto San Vito became Federico’s property in 2005 and since then a process of recovery and conversion has begun in an era that is still very far from realizing the concepts of biodynamics and natural wine. The first step was to plant native vineyards such as Albana, Sangiovese and Alionza to complement the existing Pignoletto: vineyards that represent the history and culture of those hills and identify the territory in an essential way.

From then on, biodynamic preparations, green manure, and a renunciation of any oenological compromise: a hard effort to return the land to the territory and allow Federico to produce the wines he was longing for.

Today Vigneto San Vito is a gem set in the Bolognese hills with lots of beautiful rooms and a nice swimming pool https://www.vignetosanvito.it. In Vigneto San Vito, vegetables are also produced (strictly forgoing any chemical additives) and a rare breed of wild pigs is bred from which Federico makes a tasty mortadella; but Vigneto San Vito is also, and above all, a unique point of reference in the panorama of natural Italian wine production.

Pure wines, as deep as the roots that bind Federico to his land, without tricks and without deceptions, without filtrations, without clarifications, and without sulphites; using only the indigenous yeasts present on the untreated skins of the San Vito grapes.

Merely defining Sui Lieviti as a petnat would fail to encapsulate a wine of such depth and beauty, since the last glasses poured from the bottle, when the pignoletto is thoroughly mixed with the yeasts deposited on the bottom, become so full and fat and tasty that a glass looks like a small and marvelous repast: a sampling of the culinary tradition of a land where food is a cross between art and religion.

Then the barbera Martignone: fragrant and intense, and irresistibly drinkable. An approachable wine that seems tailor-made to bring joy and friendship to every table.

Finally, what impressed us most was Federico Orsi’s stroke of genius, intuition, and inspiration, containing a pinch of Magic with a capital “M”: Posca Bianca, a blend of native grapes produced with the solera method, in which a large tank that never empties is replenished annually with the new vintage, adding to the ever-present base that has been maintained since 2010. A slightly different wine each year that carries the memory of all previous vintages. A miracle. Naturally, a miracle without added sulphites.