There are several reasons why Alberto Coffele chose to give the horse an active role in the vineyards.
Once he selected the right horse for its physical strength and character, the animal can be used in all the jobs in the vineyard. This confers a definite advantage in terms of environmental impact, and ever greater effectiveness and yield from a technical and agronomic point of view.
In fact, the horse:
Does not pollute: it does not need fossil fuels to do its work (being fossil fuels one of the main causes of environmental pollution and global warming) and it cannot be charged for noise pollution. It is indeed agreeable to be working outdoor while avoiding the deafening noise of a tractor.
Fights weed and nourishes the land in a natural manner: eating, at least in part, fodder produced in the estate and the weed found in the vineyards (in springtime and after the vintage, when there are no traces left of vineyard treatments), horses produce a very good manure, of higher quality than bovine manure, thus closing a complete biological cycle inside the vineyard.
Prevents soil from becoming compacted, as it happens when a tractor continuously rides over the land. Small tractors can weigh up to 2 tonnes and ride an elevated number of times in the vineyard, making the land more and more compacted as well as destroying its texture and structure (which is what regulates its chemical and physical proprieties). On the contrary, a horse can weigh 0.8 tonnes on average and it distributes its weight on its hooves, not on the entire larger surface of the wheels as it happens with tractors. Today, soil compacting is slowly and relentlessly destroying the land and its living forms. As an outcome, another mechanical treatment is necessary – deep subsoil treatment for oxygenation – that would not be necessary if the horse was used to work in the vineyard as in the past.
Allows many environmental-friendly treatments that, even if more expensive in terms of work-out, can be positively implemented by wineries that are already open to a more eco-sustainable viticulture, aimed at producing higher quality and healthy wines.
Finally, with its slow and silent pace, the horse invites you to know the land and the vineyards better, to observe them in a different way, with even more attention for a better interpretation of the terroir: a truer and deeper relationship to better understand every shade of a landscape that will bring upon a great wine.