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Allegrini 2018
WINE TERRITORIES

Alta Langa, wine producers will plant suitable trees for white truffles

The Consortium project led by Giulio Bava has seen record numbers. Sales were up +42% in 2021 compared to 2019, and growth potential is high

Sometimes the combination of great wine and food goes far beyond the dish, and becomes good for the territory. Thanks go to the wine producers, who are more and more aware and are more often investing well beyond their own company borders. This is the scenario in Alta Langa, a territory of excellent Piedmont Classic Method sparkling wines, closely linked to the White Truffle of Alba and its International Fair. Giulio Bava is head of the Consortium, and is also head of an interesting initiative that involves the Alta Langa winemakers who will dedicate a portion of land to planting symbiotic truffle trees, in partnership with the National Center for Truffle Studies.
“The beauty of the link between Alta Langa and truffles”, Giulio Bava explained to WineNews, “is that it goes far beyond communication, events and culinary moments that put our wines as the principal players of dinners and lunches, starred and not, based on truffles. We producers are not “only bottle sellers”, but are also a denomination, a Consortium within a territory, and we want to take care of our environment. Since truffles are not simply a “spontaneous” product, but must be treated and followed up, because they do not grow in abandoned areas but in well kept ones, we decided to engage the almost 80 winegrowers in the Consortium. We have asked them to make time and land available to plant mycorrhized plants, thereby creating ideal conditions for truffles to live spontaneously. We will be inspecting the land and woods soon to evaluate how to go forward together with, of course, since we are wine experts, the National Center for Truffle Studies, who have the expertise. The Alta Langa Consortium has promoted the project, and is curating it.
On the other hand, here in Alta Langa, human presence is not as significant as in other areas. There is a biodiversity of woods, pastures, hazelnut groves and vineyards, and the aim is to preserve the diversity of crops. Furthermore, it is very important that a wine Consortium is going to be planting trees”.
The project aims to give back to the territory a little of what the territory has given to a wine leader of extraordinary growth, according to the numbers of the Consortium. There are 50 sparkling wine houses, associated with the Consortium, which produce 80 different Alta Langa DOCG wines; 90 winegrowers, 300 hectares of vineyards (1/3 Chardonnay, 2/3 Pinot Nero) and + 42% sales compared to the 2019 pre-pandemic values. The Piedmont bubbles closed the year sold-out, which bodes well for 2022, when there will be 350 hectares of vineyards, and an estimated production of over three million bottles.
“Today we have estimated the turnover in consumption”, Bava added, “to be around 30 million euros, while cellar stocks linked to the aging period of wines (minimum 30 months of aging on the lees, to be regulated), have lead us to consider the value of the economic weight of the Alta Langa appellation between 60 and 100 million euros,
which is the new name of a great Piedmont tradition. The classic method was born here (it was the first Classic Method to be produced in Italy, in the mid-nineteenth century, in the “Underground Cathedrals” now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ed.). We have re-started with new vineyards, further up the hill. Growth is conspicuous, but we are still at small numbers, and we have long lead times, so we are naturally inclined to imagine things projected much farther ahead. It takes at least 7 years from planting a vineyard to the bottle”, Bava commented. He is at the head of a wine Consortium that will also take care of the environment where a precious fruit such as the truffle grows, and the truffle "hunting and quarrying" in Italy has recently become UNESCO heritage.

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