Thursday, August 28, 2008

Impact of the new EU wine market organisation on wine labelling: a study of "Città del Vino" shows a drastic reduction of wine names for Italy

I found extremely interesting a study recently issued by the Association "Città del Vino" on the impact on wine labelling for Italy of the entry into force of the EU reform of the Wine market on August 1st 2009. And even more interesting now that the debate on wine labelling and the terms of reference associated with it (like for Brunello di Montalcino) is particularly hot in Italy.

According to the projection of the Città del Vino, more than half of the existing DOCG/DOC/IGT in Italy will have to disappear because not compatible with the criteria imposed by the reform that tries to harmonise the different criteria for wine labelling existing at EU level to make them more "consumer-oriented".

This means that wine "Denominazioni"/names in Italy may be reduced from the existing 470 to only 182 and we may lose for example Barbera and that in order to keep "Brunello di Montalcino" we may lose "Rosso di Montalcino" and "Sant'Antimo". The scenario presented by Città del Vino, which takes into consideration the strict criteria imposed by the reform regarding for example the fact that it will be reduced the possibility of denomination in "pyramids", would have a great commercial and cultural impact but this issue has rarely been discussed until now.

It is clear that the positioning of some wine growers (see my previous post on Brunello di Montalcino) that are looking to extend the Terms of Reference for existing names, must be read in conjonction with this element.

For example, if Rosso di Montalcino and Sant'Antimo are going to disappear, what is the commercial impact for wines that are currently using these names?

I do not like the idea to touch at the most prestigious wines in Italy like Brunello di Montalcino in order to make more flexible the conditions for its production (like a modification of the Displinare/terms of Reference), but I believe we should start a serious discussion about the future changes and anticipate them as much as possible. The Tocai/Friulano case has already done enough damage to see a reproduction of this problem (but multiplied by 100 times).

However, I would encourage those who are willing to start a discussion on this issue not to hide the problem or start discussing for example simply the Disciplinare of Brunello, but to open up a large discussion about the impact of the reform and adress one by one the consequences.

I welcome very much the intervention of Valentino Valentini (President of Città del Vino), even if the time is short, the problem is big and the solutions are not many.

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