The research and conservation test site for local vineyard and olive biotopes has been set up in a regional state-owned area entrusted to the park authority and located in the town of Galzignano Terme, in the Chiesa Vecchia locality. The entire test site falls within the borders of the protected area of the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills and the SCI (Site of Community Importance) and SPA (Special Protection Area) known as IT3260017 ‘Colli Euganei-Monte Lozzo-Monte Ricco’ in the borough of Galzignano Terme. The entire test area is classified as an Agricultural Promotion Zone by the park’s Environmental Plan.

The test sites are in Via Benedetti in the borough of Galzignano Terme at an altitude that varies from 20 to 40 metres above sea level.

The area around the vineyard and olive grove is partly made up of mixed black locust tree forest on the south-eastern slope; instead, the northern slope is occupied by chestnut forest. A circular walk running round the hill, starting from the public car park near the cemetery, allows visitors to cross a stretch of chestnut forest, a picnic area and – most importantly – the experimental vineyard and olive grove. As well as their experimental value and their importance for the conservation of local biotypes, the vineyard and olive grove definitely have educational value as well, as both the way the terrain has been laid out in grassy terraces c. 1-1.5 metres wide and the types of plants grown there reflect traditional methods of land management and the management of the oldest crops grown in the Euganean Hills.

You can reach the public area and the test site along Via Papa Luciani from the centre of Galzignano, or along an entrance found along the climb that leads to the high cemetery along Via Benedetti, or along the dirt road that branches off from Via Siesa.

 

THE EXPERIMENTAL VINEYARD

The test site entrusted to the park authority has been restored and improved after years of neglect and disuse, with help from the Consorzio Vini Colli Euganei consortium and the Agricultural Research Council’s Viticulture Research Centre (CRA-VIT), with the planting of approximately 1,300 cuttings.

This project aims to revive old native varieties of grapes from the Euganean Hills, both white (Serprino, Moscato Bianco, Pinella, Pedevenda, Dorona) and red (Cavrara, Corbina, Corbinella, Corbinona, Marzemina Grossa, Pattaresca, Turchetta), as well as preserve other native varieties.

In the test site of around 3.86 hectares (nine and half acres), the park authority has carried out work that has allowed the uprooting of old vineyards, the clearing of woods, the repair of narrow terraces while maintaining the traditional shape of Euganean farmland and the creation of a circular footpath that can be accessed by everyone including those with disabilities, complete with a car park and picnic area.

The CRA-VIT has identified the varieties best suited to testing and this partnership will continue with periodic monitoring activities and the study of the different phases of grapevine development.

The Consorzio Vini Colli Euganei consortium is responsible for technical support and will carry out tests involving the microvinification of grapes once the vineyard becomes productive, with sensory analyses to assess the quality of the wine produced.

 

THE EXPERIMENTAL OLIVE GROVE

The olive tree research and conservation test site is located on a south-facing slope alongside old, narrow terraces that have been repaired and are now occupied by experimental vineyards featuring native varieties. The experimental olive grove is adjacent to the native vine experimental test area recently set up by the park authority.

The choice of where to place the olives was made by adopting the criterion – widely applied by Euganean residents in the past – of growing this type of plant alongside vines. Olive trees were planted in two rows bordering the vineyard plots, so as to create a vine-olive pairing typical of the mixed tree cultivation of the Euganean Hills. Moreover, old types of cherry tree and fig that were already found in the area were left on the reclaimed land, traces of a glorious past involving these two species as well, which contributed to the local agricultural economy with their produce.

The experimental olive grove will feature 20 varieties, each of which will be represented by a total of five plants, varieties that are currently cultivated in various different production habitats in the Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol regions. Young, two-to-three year old saplings produced from cuttings will be planted so as to guarantee that they take and grow quickly.

 

Click on the image below to download the aerial photo of the area