Patrick Uccelli of Ansitz Dornach explains his philosophy on biodynamic and organic farming in his vineyards in the Val dell'Adige area. Patrick works in this way to find himself and what humanity means. He became part of the world of wine in 2001, with two degrees in viticulture and winemaking.
Ansitz Dornach consists out of three small single vineyards at their family estate in Salorno, in the Dolomites of Alto Adige.
Patrick explains all about the structure of his vineyards, embedded in the hills of the valley: in the upper part the red grapes are similar to Burgundy, Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir). In the lower part of the vineyard they grow white grapes: again, Burgundy varieties like Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) and Chardonnay, mixed with Manzoni Bianco, a cross between Pinot Bianco and Riesling Renano. And then there's a piece of land dedicated to white resistant varieties such as Solaris, Souvignier gris and Cabernet Blanc.
Salorno is the last place across the river Adige where their mother tongue is German (as it used to be Austrian territory), on the other side of the river, only 3 kilometers away, Italian takes over.
The valley, Val dell'Adige, is mostly characterized by calcareous soils, but Ansitz Dornach has a particular soil composition of yellow and red clay, with some iron oxides present. Their soils is well-drained, deep and rich.
When talking about his wines, Patrick prefers the term 'salinity' over 'minerality', a well know expression in the wine world, as the latter one is hard to describe. He describes his wines as having a complex saltiness.
The Ansitz Dornach winery is biodynamic ever since Patrick started there. Patrick doesn't necessarily believe in the biodynamic methods per se, but he fundamentally believes in his personal view on reality, the balance of natural acquisition and labor in a deeper meaningful way.
Patrick plays around with different vinification methods, experimenting like an artist. Using different techniques, like fermentation and/or aging in small or big barrels, which changes the maturation (time) of the wine, he's like a sculptor who works with different materials like marble, wood and ice. It's an artistic freedom he thoroughly enjoys.