The health of estate vineyards is maintained through regular organic fertilization, either with humus or manure, according to the year’s needs. The estate practices organic farming but is not certified. Once into the growing season, Voerzio performs a green harvest in July, dropping some 50% of early fruit, leaving around five grape clusters per plant. In August, the grape clusters are trimmed, cutting the “tail” and leaving a bunch that resembles a tight fist. Voerzio believes this remaining portion represents Nebbiolo’s most concentrated, aromatic and richly flavored berries. On average, each plant is limited to one pound of fruit. This labor-intensive, controlled process enables Voerzio each year to harvest grapes of the utmost ripeness and health. (This method isn’t limited to Voerzio’s Barolo vineyards; his Barbera and Dolcetto get a similar treatment.)
Grapes are harvested by hand. Fermentation on indigenous yeasts last from 10 to 30 days in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Malolactic conversion happens also in tank. The estate’s Dolcetto is aged in tank; the Barbera and Barolo cru wines are aged in a combination of French oak barrels, tonneaux and “botti.” Wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, with little added sulfur. Voerzio maintains that his wines require at least five to six years in bottle before they should be opened and enjoyed. Given the wines’ core of ripe fruit and impeccable balance, they can and do age for decades when cellared properly. Many of Voerzio’s Barolo cru wines are bottled exclusively in magnum for this purpose.
There have also been many vintages when Voerzio has chosen to not release wines from certain vineyards, when the quality does not meet his exacting standards.