I don’t seek out wines that are organic or vegan, but I’ve been asked enough times which of these types I would recommend so that when I was offered the opportunity to sample three from Corvezzo in Italy – a Pinot Grigio, Prosecco and the new Prosecco Rose (the Prosecco DOC was recently allowed to produce a Rose) – I grabbed at it. Just for you. My tasting notes are below, and below that is more information from the winery.
Corvezzo the leading name in organically grown, vegan wines from northeast Italy’s Veneto region…are widely available and line priced at $13.
(Just a note on the bottles for all three: they are not the traditional long-neck bottles but rather shorter and stouter, as well as having embossed rings around each, reminding me a bit of fine Italian EVOO bottles. Definitely eye-catching. Also eye-catching is the statement, “Made with organic and vegan grapes”, on the front labels.)
2020 Corvezzo Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC
100% Pinot Grigio grapes
The color of the wine was the palest yellow side of the rainbow. The fruit aromas included fresh honeydew and cantaloupe melons, orange and white peach. There was also a faint note of cool and clean concrete after a heavy rainfall. On the mouth I noted fresh lemon zest, orange, pineapple, homemade limeade. There was a nice freshness, viscosity and long length. This would be the first white, after a Prosecco, to have as a start to a night of wine tasting.
2020 Corvezzo Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry
85% Glera and 15% DOC admitted grapes
Pale yellow in color; followed by aromas that reminded me of sliced pear, kiwi, fresh mown grass (my favorite aroma, second only to wine), cheddar cheese and wet pebbles. My first impression when I tasted the wine was of a bowl of chilled fruit cocktail with Maraschino cherries; as well as sweet butter, with a mild acidity, juicy quality and a long finish.
2020 Corvezzo Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry Millesimato
Glera and Pinot Nero grapes
I was excited, I won’t lie, about having a new Rose Prosecco, and maybe that’s why this one was my favorite in the line-up. This one had a lovely sun-kissed peach color, with aromas that reminded me of tangerine, lemon-lime, biscuit, wet stones and a sweet perfumy powder. On the mouth I got that same lemon, as well as fresh sliced peaches, yellow apple, Rainier cherry and pear. I felt that the wine delivered beautiful fresh fruit, with a medium acidity and would be a conversation-starter to enjoy with or without food.
Family-owned and run, Corvezzo has the largest acreage in Italy of certified organic Glera and Pinot Grigio. According to owner/winemaker Giovanni Corvezzo, his wines have not only adapted to organic farming – they have thrived, becoming stronger, with better balance and producing higher quality fruit. The signature wine style here is fresh and bright.
“Skins are thicker, and this helps wines develop better aromas. For this reason, I believe that organic grapes have the potential to generate superior wines.” — Giovanni Corvezzo.
Corvezzo wines are imported by Origins Organic Imports, an importer dedicated to seeking out and bringing to market, high quality certified organic wines from around the world. Corvezzo is a natural fit within their portfolio.
It was 2013, and the Corvezzo (“kor-VETZ-zoh) winery was in the midst of the slow, seven-year transition (2010–2017) from conventional to organic farming. Many of the vines, not yet used to an herbicide- and pesticide-free environment, were not strong enough to withstand that year’s rain and humidity. Production dropped dramatically.
These days Giovanni Corvezzo styles himself a “Happy Farmer.” His Glera (the grape responsible for the region’s famous Prosecco) and Pinot Grigio vines have not only adapted, and become stronger, but are yielding abundantly, and producing better fruit. “Skins are thicker, and this helps wines develop better aromas. For this reason, I believe that organic grapes have the potential to generate superior wines.” The key word is “potential.” As a third-generation winegrower, Giovanni knows the work and care it takes to produce quality wines. What is incontrovertible, however, is that those thicker skins better protect the fruit from rain and parasites.
Founded in 1960 by Giovanni’s grandparents, the winery is in the village of Cessalto near Treviso, a sweet spot in the Veneto between the cool Dolomite Mountains and the sunny Adriatic Sea. Though farmers are generally conservative, the Corvezzo family was an exception. The second generation, sons Giuseppe and Renzo, not only expanded acreage but were early adopters in the 1970s of a more sustainable approach, experimenting with integrated pest control. The next decade saw the introduction of strip cultivation and the banning of synthetic herbicides.
Giovanni took over in 2009 and the following year started the transition to organic viticulture. In the winery, animal products were replaced so that today the winery is certified vegan. Wines are fined using bentonite clay. Giovanni is also looking at chalk (gypsum powder) to possibly replace the mildew-fighting copper sulphate used in the vineyard. As Giovanni puts it “What can we do to be even more sustainable? It’s continuous improvement.” And yes, in 2020 the team started looking at going biodynamic! To reduce the carbon footprint, there’s a photovoltaic plant, as well as a biomass plant that produces thermal energy from pruning waste. Of course, recycled materials are used for labels and boxes, and bottles are lightweight.
Today, all of Corvezzo’s 380 acres are organically farmed. Measured by acreage, that makes it one of Italy’s largest sources of organic Glera and Pinot Grigio. Size keeps prices down and Giovanni feels strongly that organic products should be “democratic.” “I buy organic products every day for me and my family. So, when I decided to become an organic farmer, I wanted to offer a certified wine without tripling prices.”
Corvezzo wines are made from a mix of estate and grower fruit. A few years ago Giovanni Corvezzo began sharing his know-how on organic viticulture with trusted growers, and today the Corvezzo team tightly controls what happens in non-owned vineyards. Corvezzo is certified fully organic in Europe, covering both viticulture and production in the winery. But, because of a difference in regulations, U.S. labels state: “Made with organic & vegan grapes.” The winery is not Italy’s largest producer of organic Glera and Pinot Grigio measured by volume; quality always tops quantity at Corvezzo.
The wines not only have the superior aroma of organically farmed fruit, but arguably greater concentration, thanks to those thicker skins. In addition, Giovanni Corvezza believes organic farming gives the wines better balance. The signature wine style here is fresh and bright.
The Corvezzo team is not resting on its laurels; the journey to ever-more earth-friendly production is ongoing. After all, Giovanni Corvezzo has to keep the patrimony safe for his two young daughters and all the members of the next generation. Indeed, Giovanni Corvezzo gives us a challenge. In 2016 a joint report by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM EU) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) stated that converting 50% of EU land to organic farming by 2030 would reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 23%.“Being 100% organic is a mission! Will you help us attain this aim?”
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email [email protected] to ask a question about wine or spirits.