Earlier this week I met with Paolo Nutricato, a native of Supersano (a town right in the middle of the lower Salento), who with his brother and sister has turned the family winemaking concern, Cantina Supersanum, into a producer of excellent organic wines, a rarity here as elsewhere. Paolo is the local champion of composting and in particular of compost tea. According to Paolo compost tea has dramatically improved the health of his vines. If the wines are anything to go by he is certainly doing something right. He and fratelli are going this weekend to show their wines at VinNatur in Vicenza, an event bringing together 140 producers of natural wine from 7 countries:
Paolo also took me to meet Simona Demitri, one of a group of young Salentini who constitute “Abitare i Paduli.” The interior of the lower Salento was once dominated by oak forest. Clear cutting of the oaks in past centuries led to the creation of marshes (paludi from which the name Paduli) and also malaria. The marshes and malaria are gone and most of the level land is now planted in olives (though judging from their size some of these trees have lived through all the previous phases - see Paolo standing behind one in the photo). The retroterra or inland area of the Salento is relatively ignored by the international tourism that invades the coastal zones in the summer months. Abitare i Paduli instead is promoting the region and in multiple and sustainable ways: bicycle and walking excursions, workshops, an annual competition in biodegradable land art (see the monster in the picture). They even make their own (organic) olive oil.