Let the sun shine over Rodaro's "Picolit Solar"

Paolo Rodaro is a winemaker of a long family tradition, whose winery is located in Spessa di Cividale in the Colli Orientali del Friuli Doc wine area. His estate consists of approximately 108 hectares of land,  40 h of vineyards with an average annual production of 200.000 bottles of high quality wines. The grape varieties he cultivates are the most typical of the territory, Friulano (ex Tocai), Malvasia, Ribolla gialla, Sauvignon, Pinot grigio among the white wines, Schioppettino, Pignolo, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Refosco dal p.r., Merlot among the  reds, and Verduzzo friulano and Picolit among sweet wines. The Picolit I will talk about is not the "pearl" of the oenology from Friuli (NE of Italy), the dessert wine obtained throw the drying of grapes, but is a photovoltaic park Rodaro has recently inaugurated in his winery. However, I couldn't visit Rodaro's winery without having a glass of his great Picolit, so I've added my tasting notes at the end of the post.
The "Picolit Solar" is a photovoltaic system of 928.41 kW that covers a surface of 2.5 h of land and it's the biggest one realized by a farm in Friuli Venezia Giulia region. In a time of so much debating about energy and about the problem of security related to nuclear power stations, I thought it was interesting to interview Mr Rodaro about the reasons of his new project. That's what he answered me.
Paolo Rodaro in front of the "Picolit Solar"
Can you tell us how you got the idea for this project? 
P.R. The project was born for the need of diversifying the company interests. At the end of 2009 I came to know about the fall in panel prices and the possibility of incentives in the photovoltaic market. I discovered also that,  in agriculture, energy from renewable sources generates agricultural income. Moreover, the economical crisis  caused a drop in wine consumption of about 40% with a consequent intensification of the competition.  That's why I decided to build a photovoltaic power system on the ground. For that type of system, however, I had to ask permission to 27  institutions,  involved especially in environment and to public administrations. Not all the communes agree in giving such permission, luckily the commune of Premariacco, where the system is located, gave me the go ahead, so I have to thanks the openness of these administrators and all the others that didn't thwarted us.
Can you give us some technical data about the system?
The energy power is of  928.41 kW, which should produce about 1 million and 200 thousand kWh per year, that is to say it should cover an energy demand of 15 companies like ours. We have indeed an energy demand of 70/ 80.000 kWh per year. The system costs us 2.550 euro per kW turnkey.
According to your experience, what is the situation in Italy about the photovoltaic market? Can it be a valid alternative to traditional  sources, especially for companies, which have a bigger investment capacity?  
P.R. Investing in the photovoltaic sources without incentives is too expensive, even  considering the income from the sale of energy. I don't think that this can be a unique solution, but is part of those energy solutions that are still in their infancy. When we inaugurated the system, I told the Major of Premariacco that this is an open park. I hope that some schools will come to visit it and maybe one student will become curious and be the next researcher in this field. We have to open the mind and stimulate to think "alternatively". However, I don't think that we can live without oil or nuclear power, but it is possible and desirable to became a little independent from these sources. If we decide to pursue the nuclear way we have to be conscious of the problems we will have to face. I am here from six generations  and a potential loss of radiation could mean I have to leave my land, my vineyards, everything, forever. We have to work a lot more on security, but, according to me, we will have to face the nuclear problem sooner or later.
I tasted Rodaro's Picolit 2008.  The appelation is DOCG,  the highest quality level for Italian wine. The grape variety is 100% Picolit,   a native and very tradition grape from this area, which name means "little stalk" in the dialect  language from Friuli, having indeed the stalk very small.  The peculiarity of this grape is that for a defect of pollination the grape gives only few acinus, so that when they come to maturation they are very sweet. The grapes are  dried in small crates, then fermented and refined in small oak casks. The color is a wonderful "jewel" gold. It reminds me of a   hot and sunny summer morning...The nose is delicate, elegant and intense with notes of raisin, melon, apricot, butter, honey and marron glacé. The sip is sweet, rich, creamy, with a perfect balance between freshness and smoothness. A very long finish. 

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