Elisabetta Foradori is one of the most famous wine producers of Trentino region. Her story seems the typical story of the daughter of a wine grower who holds the reins of the winery after her father’s death. But things are not so easy. The story of Elisabetta Foradori is a great story of change, research work, passion, bravery.
I met her on a rainy day of April, but clouds and cold didn’t take out the fascination of the work in the vinery: a man was repairing something in the yard and I couldn’t help thinking how that yard can be in a ferment during the grape-harvest.
The exceptionality of the land pulled away from the Noce river, a native vine which had to be re-discovered, a vinery inherited maybe too soon… Elisabetta Foradori studied at Istituto Agrario San Michele and then, helped by her mother Gabriella, began to run the family winery in the ’80s. Her first aim was to make the most of Teroldego vine, which wasn’t exteemed as it is nowwadays. Elisabetta Foradori concentrated on this vine and she was one of the first ones who did it. The first evidence of Teroldego in Piana Rotaliana dates back to 1383, but during the centuries many things changed, for example in 1700-1800 one of the most important economic activities was the cultivation of silkworms, with the consequent put aside of wine production.
In 1984, when Elisabetta Foradori began to work in her own winery, her efforts were all aimed at the selection of varieties of Teroldego. The following step was to let public know the wine and to work on oenologic process, i.e. work in the wine cellar in order to reach a special wine. These efforts were awarded by 3 bicchieri (an important award given by Gambero Rosso guide), and it was a period, as she told me, “in which receiving a 3bicchieri could still change your life“.
Foradori became a world-famous name of quality; it was a really interesting situation -economically- and change could be dangerous. But in 2000-2001 Elisabetta Foradori decided to change the whole system of her vineyard; she understood that all the efforts made in order to re-discover Teroldego vine needed a new approach to the whole growing/production process: she took up the Stainerian theory.
These last 10 years have been crucial because the biodynamic approach isn’t easy, there aren’t rules to follow but it’s based on the observation of nature, on the integration of the relations that are in the vineyard. “It’s a method that lets me take life in the agricultural practices“.
Not using pesticides and the like is not easy, but it’s more difficult when you are surrounded by wine growers who spray every kind of poison in the air… In this extent the role of the wine cooperatives could be determining because they could impose strict rules but they don’t do it (while in South Tyrol it happens, for example in Tramin wine cooperative).
The risk of such a radical repositioning was not being understood by the consumers. “Fortunately it didn’t happen, there’s a movement which moves from the bottom and which asks exactly the product we do“.
Foradori produces 3 different wines: Foradori (Teroldego DOC, a production of 130,000 bottles per year, vine grown in Mezzolombardo), Granato (100% Teroldego with a different aging, 40,000 bottles per year) and Myrto (a blend of Sauvignon and Incrocio Manzoni, 20,000 bottles per year). The wines are better and better every year and that’s the most important answer to the question whether the choice of changing the production system was right.
Foradori winery is formed by 8 people (between the work in the vineyards and in the office): it is a small group that exports in 30 countries. The wine is certainly a prestigious one, and thanks to it Teroldego is well-known in Italy and abroad.