Students were guided students of the Sustainable Food Systems class through the vineyards, grotto, and winemaking facilities by Ludovico, one of the three Botti brothers who founded and run the enterprise. He explained the sustainable practices that make Trebotti unique as well as general information about winemaking before inviting the students to a tasting and lunch.

The purpose of the visit was to demonstrate how grassroots actors can contribute to sustainable rural development. After 200 years of viniculture in Venice, the Botti family started its Azienda Agricola in Lazio, comprising a winery and canteen, in 2003. Trebotti has since become recognized as one of Italy’s premier organic winemakers and engages with other small-farmers in a variety of sustainability initiatives and networks to promote regional agriculture (some of which can be found here). Of the many sustainable practices that they learned about, the students were most excited by Jane the donkey, who serves as a living fertilizer and contributes to the winery’s compost. By forgoing synthetic fertilizer and employing various low-tech and ancestral methods of production, Trebotti’s carbon footprint is 30% lower than that of the average winery. However, due to hail and intense rainfall caused by climate change, the company was unable to produce its rosé and sparkling wines for the past two vintages.

After the tour of the grounds, the class enjoyed a generous spread of bruschette and other finger foods prepared by Ludovico’s mother while sipping and learning about Trebotti’s most prized wines. Upon departure, the morning fog had mostly cleared, allowing the students to enjoy a beautiful overlook of the hilly countryside. The Center for Food Studies is grateful for the Botti family’s hospitality and looks forward to more site visits with future M.A. classes.

Author: Eva Reynolds