Our viticulture is no exception to these rules, but is a ‘wanted’ sector by the industry thanks to its large consumption of pesticides ‘also manufacturers other diseases’ and to the productive capacity forced on the land through aggressive monoculture (hence the increasingly strong need to have access to external input to continue to produce).
Viticulture is also authorised and encouraged in environments that are unsuitable for vineyards and where it is possible to produce only thanks to the high consumption of agrochemicals. This reflects an important part of the italian industry, but in Europe, the situation isn’t much different.
We cannot, at least in the short term, substantially change this situation, which gives rise, among other things, to considerable economic gains.
Yet with foresight and respect for the economic value of the companies, it is possible to create a healthier and more “organic”viticulture and naturally obtain in thecellar wines made without the intervention of additives. This choice is very challenging, very professional and not applicable in every single viticultural environment, nor does it guarantee production consistency. It is therefore immediately clear that it is a choice that can only be made by a select few and that inevitably has an important value, which in turn the consumer must be able to recognize.
Natural wine producers cannot continue to ‘talk in circles’ saying they are better because they might find themselves left high and dry. There are excellent producers of “non-natural” and delicious wines that have shaped the history of italian wine and much more. Those who silently work well and with mastery in the vineyard and in the cellar with added SO2 values that are lower than many products offered by “natural wine” producers.
In our great viticulture we don’t do our main duty enough. That is to get grapes capable of being transformed into a stable wine. We can’t be content to not produce well in the vineyard and then fix our mistakes with several interventions in the cellar, including some that are harmful to our health, to achieve durability over time of wine.
For all the reasons mentioned above, it’s always helpful to remember the definition of WINE (EC Regulation 479/2008): “wine is the product obtained exclusively from the total or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, crushed or not, or of grape must”. So if we do not move away from the legislation, it makes no sense to go and search other natural wine definitions that provide for additional interventions, even more so when they are harmful to our health.
|Example of additives and permitted practices in the production of wine|
It’s worth noting that italian institutional bodies, worldwide economic points of reference in the sector such as Vinitaly, have initiated a contest (Free Wine) to reward wines that contain a maximum total sulfur value of 40mg/lt. It’s curious to observe how other events and associations dedicated to “Natural Wines” yet accept wines with much higher SO2 values.
|Data updated February 29, 2016|
This further demonstrates that there is still a long way to go and that it’s difficult to supply the consumer with products that really adhere to the definition of the word “WINE” before it’s taken over by some ‘joker’.
And I would like to conclude with a prescription from the Medical School of Salerno: “mens laeta, requies, moderate diaeta” (happy mind, rest, right diet).