“Winefully wants to offer wineries and customers a special place where wine is not only sold but recounted and lived too, as vector of intense emotions and sociality."

Marcello Russo – Founder 




If we try to imagine the future of wine in its various directions, one of these is certainly represented by the so-called PIWI. Bronner, Solaris, Johanniter, Soreli with white grapes and Cabernet Cortis, Cabernet Regent, Merlot Khantus, with red grapes, to name just a few of the most popular on the market. This is a category of vines that arise from multiple crossings carried out with the aim of combining quality and resistance to fungal diseases. We talk about the future because it is a typology closely connected to the theme of sustainability, so much so that it is also defined as super-organic. PIWIs, in fact, allow us to significantly reduce annual treatments in the vineyard.
Furthermore, these are varieties that allow production very far north in latitude, and very high in altitude, where it is not possible to obtain significant results with other vines. We have arrived, just to understand, on the one hand to cultivate vines in Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and on the other to exceed 800 and even 1,000 meters above sea level.

It is important to underline that PIWIs do not fall into the category of GMO. The crosses are not obtained in the laboratory, but are carried out directly in the vineyard, working with pollination and through a selection of seeds and plants. Same as for the french regions of Champagne and Bordeaux, in Italy have been included in the National Register 36 resistant varieties, both white and red. The latters, PIWI experiments began more recently and the results have wide margins for improvement. White grape varieties, on the other side, are those where the process is more consolidated and considerable quality levels have already been achieved in recent years.
In Italy the PIWI approach is becoming increasingly popular and the number of producers who choose to work with these typologies is constantly growing. In particular, the “Resistenti Nicola Biasi” reality is interesting, a network of companies made up of eight agricultural companies located between Friuli, Veneto and Trentino. At the helm of the group is Nicola Biasi, a winemaker with a professional career dotted with important stages. First the experiences to some reference
companies including Jermann, Felluga, Mazzei, Allegrini, followed by various international experiences in Australia and South Africa and many consultancies between Tuscany, Lazio, Veneto, Friuli and Trentino; then the role of coordinator of the Wine Research Team which, under the direction of Riccardo Cotarella and Attilio Scienza, conducts experiments and innovations, for example studying new wines produced without the use of added sulphites. The idea behind “Resistenti” is to combine the intrinsic sustainability value of PIWI with work oriented towards excellence and the opportunity to make the most of the potential of these new varieties in qualitative terms.

Among the realities of the “Resistenti” network, Nicola Biasi personally leads the “Vin de la Neu” project. In Italian it is the
wine of snow, so called because of the snowfall in October 2013 that arrived coinciding with the first harvest. We are in fact at high altitude, at over 800 meters above sea level, in the Val di Non, an area known above all for its apple orchards. The wine is the result of very high profile work, aimed at totally eliminating interventions in the vineyard and applied to a small surface
area of less than half a hectare. The PIWI variety cultivated is Johanniter, a cross between Pinot Grigio and Riesling. “Vin de la Neu” is fine, expressive, characterized by great clarity. In the 2019 version it has a bright and brilliant straw yellow. The nose opens with citrus tones, intertwined with floral hints and light nuances of exotic fruit. In the mouth it is fresh, accurate, vertical. A tense sip, made even richer by intriguing iodine reverberations. It closes showing great persistence, a further sign of the excellent level that PIWI varieties are able to reach today. “Vin de la Neu” certainly represents one of the highest peaks in the entire category, setting itself as a reference model and demonstrating to all producers who work with resistant varieties how high it is possible to go. In terms of altitude, but above all in terms of quality.


Graziano Nani

Over 15 years in communication, today Graziano Nani is Branded Content Lead in Chora, where he deals with podcasts. AIS Sommelier, he writes for Intravino and curates @HellOfaWine on Instagram. He teaches wine communication at the Catholic University. He deals with the same topic in the podcast “La Retrolabel”, of which he is co-author, and with speeches at dedicated events.



The concept of “passito“, in its essence, is very simple. While generally fresh grapes are used for the production of wine, in this case dried grapes are used. Less water, therefore, and more concentration, which means a greater quantity of sugars. The bunches change color, becoming golden if berries are white, or brick color in case of red berries. The aroma, the concentration of sugars and the density of the juice itself all increase. The roads that explore the wide typologies of raisin wines branch off in different directions, let’s see which are the main ones.

A first subdivision concerns the drying method. We can talk about natural withering when it takes place directly on the plant, allowing the grapes to dehydrate spontaneously, to then be picked with a postponed harvest, which is defined as “late”. Artificial drying, conversely, is managed by the producer. The grapes are harvested, as usual, but instead of pressing them, they are dried. The process takes place in special dry rooms, where ventilation is essential: it can be either naturally caused by the environment or induced by special fans. The objective, in any case, is to protect the bunches from mouldering, which is why they are always spaced apart, sometimes hung on racks, other times placed on straw beds or boxes. There are still some places where, as happened in the past, the grapes are dried under the sun. For example, Pantelleria.

When we talk about winemaking, the technique does not change compared to what typically happens for other wines. The wine is obtained, from the must, by the action of yeasts that transform sugars into alcohol. What changes in sweet wines is that during fermentation not all the sugars are transformed into alcohol. In fact, they are very concentrated due to drying, so much that they interrupt the action of the yeasts once they exceed a certain alcohol content. In some cases, fermentation can also be interrupted artificially by lowering the temperature, by adding sulfur dioxide or through specific filtration. The result, in any case, is that we will find residual sugars in the final product.

Wines made from dried grapes have the characteristic of being sweeter and softer, because with dehydration the acidity that characterizes the grapes decreases. Even from a chromatic point of view they show particularities: depending on white or red grapes they embrace a spectrum of colors that goes from gold to amber, up to orange and mahogany.

When referring to the world of raisin wines, we tend to think about sweet wines. However, it is important to remember that dry raisin wines also exist. They are made with raisin grapes, yes, but they contain no sugar, because it has been transformed entirely into alcohol. Two examples: Amarone della Valpolicella and Sforzato della Valtellina. We have dedicated one of our previous articles to this specific typology.

There is also another particular way of drying grapes. It comes from the effect of a mold – Botrytis Cinerea, or noble mold – which attacks the grapes and transforms and dehydrates them. The resulting wines are called “muffled (muffati)” and are characterized by truly unique scents. In this case too, it is possible to deepen the topic thanks to one of our articles already published.

A final case study concerns Ice Wines, produced in cold places such as Canada, Germany, Austria, and in general in the Alps. The bunches, in this case, are left on the vine until freezing and harvested late, when the temperature drops below zero.

Returning to the more classic dessert wines, and talking about varieties, for this methodology we often tend to use aromatic grapes; among these we remember Moscato, Malvasia and Gewürztraminer. It is precisely with the latter that the South Tyrolean winery Hofstätter produces its Rechtenthaler Schlossleiten, obtained from a late harvest. The peculiar
climate of the area where the vineyards are located, characterizes the grapes with an important acidity. In the glass this translates into a vein of surprising crispness, which definitely distinguishes Rechtenthaler Schlossleiten in the panorama of dessert wines. Another key feature is the low alcohol content, which stands at around 7% and makes it much leaner than the average for the type. The palate is persuasive: it recalls honey, apricots and dehydrated fruit in general. Interesting idea to taste it at the end of a meal, perhaps to accompany a dessert or a selection of blue cheeses.


Graziano Nani

Over 15 years in communication, today Graziano Nani is Branded Content Lead in Chora, where he deals with podcasts. AIS Sommelier, he writes for Intravino and curates @HellOfaWine on Instagram. He teaches wine communication at the Catholic University. He deals with the same topic in the podcast “La Retrolabel”, of which he is co-author, and with speeches at dedicated events.


It is interesting to understand why Pinot Noir is so loved, sought-after, and in some way revered by enthusiasts from all over the world. Part of its charm comes from the difficulty in cultivating its vine. It is a delicate and precocious variety, anything but versatile: suitable for specific places and climates only. The point is that when the right conditions exist, including the hand of men capable of enhancing the grape variety, the results can reach extraordinary levels. Pinot Noir also has the particular ability to enhance the characteristics of very small areas, so the micro-differences that exist between them, in a precise and multifaceted ways. A drop of a few meters in height, or a minimal discrepancy in soil level, is enough for two parcels, even very close together, to bring essentially different wines into the glass.

The homeland of this vine is France, and in particular Burgundy, where it express the highest quality levels. It can then be found in various other areas of the world characterized by cool climates and significant temperature ranges. These include Germany, Austria, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, especially in Oregon and California. Even in Italy it can be found in different regions. In Oltrepò Pavese, where historically it is used to produce sparkling wines, as well as in Franciacorta. In Friuli, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo. Lately it has also spread to the south, in Campania, Basilicata and Sicily, in the Etna area. And then it is found almost everywhere in the Alps: in South Tyrol, in particular, where it is also called Blauburgunder, various producers have been able to create wines that stand out for their texture and expressiveness.

Pinot Noir is a historical presence in South Tyrol, where it has been cultivated for over two centuries. To describe the qualitative peaks that it is able to reach in this region, it is necessary to explore the area of the villages of Egna and Montagna, and in particular the Mazzon plateau. Here, at an altitude of between about 250 and 450 metres, there is the Mazzon Vineyard, where in the mid-twentieth century some producers began to focus precisely on this vine. We are talking about a vineyard that covers about 60 hectares and boasts a particularly friendly position for the cultivation of Pinot Noir. Mazzon faces west. The mountains to the north perform a very important function, because in the early hours of the day they protect from the sun’s rays, avoiding excessive heat. Furthermore, they shelter the vineyard from the harsher winds that come from the north and east, leaving room instead for the Ora, the mild breeze that blows from Lake Garda. The vineyard then enjoys an excellent amount of light, which extends long into the afternoon. When the sun goes down, temperatures drop abruptly, determining the right range which is fundamental for the quality of Pinot Noir.

Mazzon features about a dozen South Tyrolean producers, who manage to obtain results of considerable interest. The wines of the various artisans who work the vineyard show some common traits. Among these a clear, fresh and sparkling fruit, often intertwined with spicy notes, for an overall profile capable of giving satisfactions after just a few years, and at the same time multiplying them over time. Among the names of these realities, Gottardi stands out, today led by Elisabeth Gottardi, who in the 1980s began a specific work on Pinot Noir, and over the course of a decade has managed to obtain levels of absolute excellence.

“Riserva Mazzon” is produced by the winery exclusively in the best years, working the grapes of the oldest vineyards. 100% Pinot Noir, ages for one year in new barriques and 14 months in large barrels, to then refine for 6 months in the bottle. The result is a complex red, a typical trait of the wines that come from this important vineyard. The 2016 vintage presents itself to the eye with a bright, shiny red. The nose smells of wild berries, with a particular inclination towards strawberries; in the background, spices and medicinal herbs. In the mouth it articulates a rich structure, with a graceful, elegant tannin, integrated with an aromatic profile of great breadth. Long, persistent, fresh and savory tolls chase and prolong the pleasant sensations on the palate. Immediately intriguing, it also has the right characteristics to remain in the cellar and evolve its profile over time.


Graziano Nani

Over 15 years in communication, today Graziano Nani is Branded Content Lead in Chora, where he deals with podcasts. Sommelier AIS, he writes for Intravino and takes care of @HellOfaWine on Instagram. He teaches wine communication at the Catholic University. He deals with the same theme in the “La Retroetiquette” podcast, of which he is co-author, and with speeches at dedicated events.