June 25, 2024

Focus on Castello Monte Vibiano

Stuart Forster takes a look at Castello Monte Vibiano’s long-term commitment to sustainability… 

The Castello di Monte Vibiano is a historic property topping a hill on a 282-acre estate in Italy’s Umbria region. Wine was first produced more than 2,200 years ago on the estate that has been home to the Fasolo Bologna family for six generations. 1998 proved to be a key year in their company’s history. 

That was when it first partnered with an airline to offer olive oil to First and Business Class passengers. Its single-serve portions are now available aboard more than 20 airlines. It was also the year that the company’s 360 Green Revolution project began; the goal was to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

Commitment to sustainability 

“Castello Monte Vibiano was committed to sustainability long before it became fashionable or was widespread,” says Claudio Castiglioni, Brand Manager at Castello Monte Vibiano. The multi-year process of moving towards the objective, without carbon offsetting, involved examining all aspects of the business. Many actions were taken, including installing photovoltaic panels, switching to biodiesel and changing how the land was cared for.  

In 2009 the estate became the world’s first agricultural business to receive ISO 14064 certification, recognising its carbon neutrality. A panel above the cellar entrance now displays how much energy the estate produces naturally. 

Strategic choices are made to ensure the business remains sustainable. Bottles are chosen because of their weight and associated efficiencies. Packing materials are recyclable and reusable. Goods are shipped by sea to minimise the company’s carbon footprint. 

Sustainable viniculture 

“Castello Monte Vibiano was the first winery to collaborate with the Italian Ministry of the Environment to be certified as sustainable,” adds Castiglioni of certification won in 2012.  

Yet wine is just 20% of the estate’s agricultural output. 80% is olive oil. 

Nurturing biodiversity is important and 13 types of indigenous olive trees grow on the estate. Pressings release extra virgin oil and water. The water was long poured onto fields but laboratory research discovered the liquid is a rich source of the antioxidant Hydroxytyrosol. It is used to produce a line of beauty products with that name. 

“We have a product that is second to none,” says Castiglioni referring to the quality of the olive oil produced on the sustainably managed estate. •