Nestled in the rolling hills of Tuscany in Italy, a new vineyard is using the ancient Chinese art of feng shui to make its wine in harmony with nature -- and give it an extra marketing zing.
"We have created a feng shui cellar in order to retain a bond with nature," Solene Genot, who manages the Caiarossa vineyard with her husband, Dominique, told AFP on a visit to the picturesque area in central Italy.
Advertisement"The cellar is located in a place where the energy is highest -- half way between the top of the hill and the bottom of the valley," she said.
"Even the colours of the building -- red on the outside and yellow on the inside -- are the colours of nature, the sun and the earth."
Caiarossa is in the village of Riparbella in a region called Val di Cecina close to the Mediterranean Sea and the historic port of Livorno.
It was bought in 2004 by Dutch businessman Eric Albada Jelgersma, who also owns two vineyards in the Bordeaux wine region in southwest France.
In its marketing literature, the wine company talks about "the luxury of Mother Nature, which man has helped to produce."
"The inspiration for the winery comes from geo-biological architecture and Oriental Feng Shui discipline," it says.
The vines are spread out over 16 hectares (39 acres) and annual production is around 70,000 bottles, with 70 percent going for exports, Dominique Genot said.
"It's a young vineyard, it's still expanding," he said.
"We are trying to make the most natural wine possible. We don't use any tannin or enzymes. We don't use chemical products, not even weed killer, and we work with manual, natural methods, not mechanical ones," he added.
"We wanted a wine that is an expression of the territory. I think that this could be the future for independent vineyards, while larger companies that cover hundreds of hectares would have difficulty implementing it," he added.
The cellar is on three levels, with a conveyor bringing in the grapes.
"Feng shui is used in our case so that we feel as good as possible when we work in the cellar. It has large spaces, large volumes and a lot of natural light," he said.
His wife added: "It's true that technically the large windows in the cellar are not practical since it is cold in winter and hot in summer. But the light brings a positive energy."