Aurora is a very special place. It is special not just for its wine – but for its basic idea, its community of people, its commitment to nature, and its location along the Contrada Ciafone in the Marche. Aurora is a way of life.
Aurora was started in 1979 by a group of friends who were industrial workers in Milan and who were tired of being exploited. The five partners decided to move to the country and to make their dream of living together in harmony with nature. We recently had a chance to chat with the parters about how it all started, their approach to organic farming, and their wines.
Sedimentary: Aurora is a very special place. Can you tell the story of Aurora, the partners, and how it all started?
It all began in 1979 when a group of friends began to discuss how to work in a different way without being exploited and working in contact with nature without destroying it. We found a small plot with a ruined house in the hills of the Marche. We started with very little effort and knowledge – but we went ahead anyways. That was in 1979 – we are still working on the land together – but now we have a little more effort and knowledge.
Sedimentary: Your vineyard is situated on a ridge which is very special in the Marche (Contrada Ciafone). Can you tell us more about this area and the vineyards of Aurora?
Aurora: The Contrada Ciafone is a rural area of agriculture in Offida Fiobbo. It sits astride the river and has rolling hills that slope down to the south along the stream. The southern exposure combined with the clay soil (with a good dose of lime) is very suitable for the cultivation of vines.
Sedimentary: Aurora has become an example of organic farming that other farmers look to for guidance and inspriation. Can you tell us what you have learned about organic viticulture over the last 30 years?
Aurora: When we started they did not use the term “Organic” because there were no rules realted to organic farming in Europe. They used the phrases ‘clean agriculture’ or ‘natural’, and then later on there was the term ‘biodynamic agriculture’. In 1987, with other farmers from our region who shared our philosophy , we founded the Marche Organic Farming Association (AMAB). This association was instrumental in drafting the first draft of Agriculture Organic Act of the Marche region – the first one made in Italy. After an initial phase of the total negation of the whole conventional agricultural experience, the association moved to a rationalization of its standards and after gradua changes they became, in our opiniontoo lax, so for the last three years wehave been meeting again with Biodynamic Agriculture.
Sedimentary: You decided for the first time this year to make a Marche Rosso wine this year with no added sulphites. Can you tell us why you made this decision and how the wine turned out?
Aurora: Sulfur dioxide or sulfur dioxide (SO2) has always been the nightmare of organic wine makers, those of early experience, because we know that is a toxic substance which is difficult to do without. It took many years of failed attempts in vinegar and especially the exchange of experience with other wine-makers to be able to make in the last two years, very small amounts of unsulphited wine. The spontaneous fermentation in the cellar has a strain of yeast that produces a fair amount of SO2 (is not correct to say “wine without sulfites,” but “no added sulfites”) that protects the wine from oxidation and keeps the fragrance of the grapes.
Thanks to the partners for their time.
Disclosure: we import Aurora’s wines. To see our latest offer of Aurora wines go here. To see our Producer profile on Aurora go here.