Luca Formentini, owner of Selva Capuzza – one of the best wine making realities of the gardesano territory (it is collocated in the suggestive Desenzano del Garda hinterland) – is the “Green Wine Maker 2022”, a prestigious recognition which was inserted for the first time in the Corriere della Sera guide to the “100 best wines and winemakers in Italy”.
This is also extremely significant news since, in today’s world, any instrument that is used to provide value to those producers who work in the sustainable industry must be closely scrutinized.
In fact, the concept of sustainability, in all its aspects, keeps growing in the consumers’ choices at an international level.
Today, (according to the “Meet the 2021 consumers driving change” by IBM) almost 6 consumers over 10 declare to be willing to modify their purchases in order to decrease the environment impact and, even, 8 out of 10 consider sustainability a very important factor in their choices. Moreover, between those that consider the sustainability as a very important factor, the 70% of them is willing to pay up to 35% more per product if that product grants sustainable characteristics.
There are more and more reasons to give value to those that are seriously committed into the sustainable field, even in the wine world.
But the recognition given to Luca Formentini, at some level, paves the way to a wider conception of the “sustainable production” meaning.
The person in charge of the Corriere della Sera’s guide, in fact – starting from the editorial coordinator, Luciano Ferraro, one of the most influential wine sector socio-economic evolution observers – have found in Luca Formentini a producer that lives sustainability in an “holistic” way. This means that this vision is not limited to a single component of production, but rather encompasses the entire firm, beginning with the attitude and mindset of the producer.
For this reason, it is especially interesting and useful to analyze the “sustainable spirit” of Selva Capuzza’s owner since, in my opinion, it means to finally try and go further the usual stereotype that, in some ways, have been trivializing for the last few years not only the term sustainable, but also, if we may, the whole wider natural concept.
I was lucky enough to be able to deepen, especially during last year, my acquaintance with Luca and his company.
If I had to choose one single adjective to describe him, I wouldn’t have any doubt: “sensitive”. I may be blunt enough to say that he is the most sustainable wine producer I have ever met in my 30-year-long career in the wine world.
I mean sensitive in the deeper meaning of the word: he is able to perceive the most profound values of what is around him and of who is around him.
Luca does not stop at the surface; he shies away from any type of analysis or relation that is not able to go further than the appearances, the grapevine and the atoned for.
It is not always easy for men and producers like Luca Formentini to feel comfortable in the wine field, that often favors a more capricious communication.
Luca’s sensitivity has brought him to a constant research of sense and meaning.
His great passion for music is an example of what I just highlighted above. For a very long time, Luca wanted to “bring” music inside his wine producing activity.
He feared that this might have been trivializing both the creating music meaning, but also the creating wine one.
Today, we can say that this important recognition by the Corriere testifies that Luca was able to put together those values that form part of what we might call the true authentic Selva Capuzza identity.
“Everything is part of a path – says Luca – an approaching process to a knowledge itinerary.
Once a goal is reached, this allows to go further, to perceive things that were not visible before and it is because of that that we can never feel like we have arrived. For this reason, I have never considered sustainability as a goal enclosed to a sole certification. The certification, indeed, may risk to appear as a process’ final word while to me everything is held in a constant travel which is also made of stops, changes, possible mistakes and new awareness”.
In the 1980s, Luca observed the first grasp of the concept of sustainability, and music aroused his interest in some parts.
“It’s true,” Luca continues, “six guitar chords were the ones that sparked up in me the idea that we might make the world a better place by making tiny changes.
For the first time, I was presented with a package including six distinct guitar chords, which had previously been supplied in individual boxes. If we think about it, it’s a minor detail, yet it was the deciding factor for me”.
“In fact, I realized – as Luca describes – that in order to alter the world, we must begin with tiny tangible gestures that are appropriate for everyone and that allow us to track their efficacy in real time. It’s also why I’ve always been dubious of lofty sustainability declarations that haven’t always been accompanied by tangible actions”.
As a result, Luca broadened the notion of sustainability, making it more tangible than what is commonly observed now.
“I would not want to appear far from reality – highlights Luca – but my oriental philosophy studies have increased my spiritual sensitivity of nature. Only with this, in my opinion, it is possible to give to the key factor of our lives the right value, which is a part of our nature and of our life. We will never be able to achieve genuine and true sustainability if we reduce our appreciation for environment in all of its manifestations to a simple business opportunity”.
“It’s the same attitude I had with music,” Luca recalls, “which I never thought of as an esthetic, decorative element; I always thought of music as a connecting tool towards a more profound and sensitive layer where life happens genuinly”. At this link, you may hear a short sample of Luca Formentini’s musical work.
Much of Luca’s “green” nature is preserved in these considerations.
“This holistic vision, in fact, – explains Luca – has brought me to sometimes difficult choices, maybe even countertrends ones regarding the more traditional sector’s trends. Like, for example, choosing, more than 15 years ago, a minimalist image while the great part of wine communication kept going towards a redundancy and opulence that I considered obnoxious and that, first and foremost, brought as far away from our world’s authenticity”.
From this starting point, Selva Capuzza’s blank etiquettes were born “with very little lines to encourage the simple concept, away from being trivial but figured as the essential part of the content that is truly enormous and it is the nature’s place expressed in the product”.
The very same nature that Selva Capuzza expresses today in its environment integration: “The really sustainable etiquette is one that seeks for conservation, rather than transformation” say Luca. “As a result, I’d like to see wineries become less “strong” and more “invisible”, in line with the competition”.
To Luca, sustainability entails continuing to learn and research: “I am not a qualified biologist, but I have a vineyard that I lead in a bio mode to understand what works and what does not work in my area. In this regard, it is critical, in my opinion, not to create anything with the purpose of being sustainable, but rather to understand what we can do to be the most sustainable we can be, interpreting the location with sensitivity and monitoring the overall contest by listening to it. Without this approach, we risk succumbing to models that cannot provide a true guarantee of our environment and health”.
So, according to Luca Formentini, sustainability is a choice between what we wish to achieve and what we are actually capable of doing.
Luca recalls “volunteering” for “Consorzi di tutela” for over 30 years, dialoguing with institutions and groups without ever joining party politics. “I believe that having an open dialogue with the organizations involved in the sustainable subject, rather than just having an introspective perspective on it, has been a transformative experience.
This enabled me to have a very tangible view of sustainability in all of its manifestations, from environmental to landscape to those reliant on sustainability in the ethical and social domains, not to mention the economic part. I don’t believe I’m better than other firms that may take a more scientific approach to the matter, but I’m not embarrassed to have earned this recognition. I know that during the course of my career as a winemaker, as well as my life as a man, I’ve touched on all of the “natural” areas to arrive at the results and understanding that I have today. This, I believe, can only lead to a broadening of the sustainability vision, with the goal of making the traces we will inevitably leave as light as possible, leaving as many futures as possible for those who will come after us”.