In The Vineyards With: Laura Rizzoto (Balestri Valda, Soave)

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“I’m the wild child in the family,” claims Laura Rizzotto.

Balestri Valda is a relatively-recent, family-run winery, with vineyards and the cellar perched just above the town of Soave, in the Veneto of Italy.

I say relatively-recent but it is worth mentioning that the family are far from being newcomers. They are well-known locally and made their name as contractors specialising in sparkling wines. (i.e. if you wanted to make a wine in autoclave (prosecco-style) but didn’t have the means to do so yourself, you take your still wine to them and they’ll transform it.)

Laura and her father, Guido, work together on the Balestri Valda winery, while her brother and grandfather are still actively making bubbles for other local producers in Soave and the surrounding area.

The Balestri Valda cellar was clearly a huge investment; it is large and spotlessly clean. Currently 65,000 bottles of wine are made per year and it’s predominantly Soave Classico DOC.

The Balestri Valda cellar

At the end of 2016, Laura finished university and moved back to Soave. She’s taking an increasingly important role at the winery and she’s a huge believer of biodiversity.

“My father waits for me to go on holiday and the first thing he does is cut the grass!! It’s not good for the bees. They need longer grass.”

Photo (c) Laura Rizzotto

Yes, did I mention that Balestri Valda make their own mille-fleurs/millefiori honey?

 

Laura is bringing in several important changes to the Balestri Valda winery: firstly, that they are in the process of obtaining official organic certification.

Secondly, their new wine “Libertate” – is Laura’s pet project. It is made from Trebbiano di Soave only – a far call from the traditional Soave (from garganega grapes or a blend) – and vinified in amphora and stainless steel. They’re not quite natural wines yet – I’m used to wines with a little less SO2 – but if Laura gets her way, Balestri Valda is heading very much in the right direction! A winery to watch!



Balestri Valda website and Facebook

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