In 2021, researchers from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in collaboration with the wineries Lusignani, Massina and Mossi 1558, will conduct the first detailed study on the two minor native grape varieties of the Piacenza area that are used to produce one of the most popular dessert wines both locally and abroad. Santa Maria and Melara are the varieties at the basis of the production of Vin Santo di Vigoleno. The former is mostly used, despite its low bud fertility, due to its thicker skin and better resistance to rot, especially during the drying phase.
In 2021, the evolution of the maturation of the two varieties will be studied in three different areas and the relationship and balance between the two main components for the production of vin santo will be studied: the accumulation of sugars and the degradation of organic acids. Following the harvest, monitoring will continue in the drying environments, to characterise the biochemical evolution of the grapes even after detachment.
At Lusignani winery, an early defoliation trial is also underway on Santa Maria, in order to verify whether the technique can be useful in producing more sparse bunches, with thicker-skinned grapes that are therefore more resistant to rot.