Standing Behind PAN in the fight against pesticides
2012 was a big year at Il Palazzone.
We saw the completion of our new cellar and its first year of harvest. This construction project was a massive undertaking, and we went to great lengths to implement green practices in its design and construction, from sourcing stones from an on-site quarry to adding cisterns to collect and purify rainwater to re-use for washing.
While we make environmentally engaged decisions in the vineyard every day, we solidified out commitment by joining 1% for the Planet and pledged to donate 1% of our total sales to an organization that promotes sustainability and environmental issues. The search was on for a charity that was in line with our views and position on farming. As we do not use chemical pesticides, and the few treatments that we make in the vineyard are base metals allowed by the EEC directive that governs organic farming, it seemed like a great fit to donate 1% of our revenue to Pesticide Action Network – North America (PAN). PAN is a wonderful organization that lobbies against and educates about alternatives to chemical pesticides commonly used in farming. Besides seeking policy change, they act to engage the community about how pesticides are detrimental to health and dispel the myths about pesticides.
One such campaign they are working on is to understand the complexities of “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD), which is essentially when bees disappear and abandon their hives. Montalcino, while renowned for its wine is also la città del miele or the “city of honey”, and the town takes particular interest in the health of bees and their role as pollinators. As the UN reported, of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. A major suspected cause of CCD are neonicotinoids, a toxic pesticide known to be particularly dangerous to honey bees and which nevertheless has taken over the global insecticide market since the 1990s. Fortunately, Italy has already acted to ban these pesticides, but PAN continues to work and lobby governments around the world to take action to save the bees, who as pollinators, play such an important role in the world’s food supply.
Besides our commitment to 1% For the Planet, our general manager Marco has recently sourcedvinco, or offshoots of willow trees. This is a traditional method of tying back the vines, used before the invention of plastic ties. The dual benefit, besides using what the earth has already provided, is that the vinco are much gentler on the vines, as they simply snap when the vines outgrow them.