Allegrini 2018

First, Don Giacomo Cauda and now Ruchè Producers Association, which invests in territorial marketing

Positive results of the first step of the project involving wineries, companies, municipalities of the small but historic DOCG of Castagnole Monferrat

One of the many stories that Italian wine has to tell and one of the most unusual ones is the small wine-producing gem, Ruchè, in Piedmont, precisely in Monferrato. It is solidly linked to the name of Don Giacomo Cauda, ​​the winemaker priest who in the first half of the 1960s recovered the abandoned vineyards of his parish in Castagnole Monferrato. When he tasted the grape he realized that it had the potential to produce quality wines. He was the first one to make wine from Ruchè in purity and sell it in bottles. “May God forgive me“, he said in the later years of his life, “for having sometimes neglected my ministry to dedicate myself body and soul to the vineyard. I would finish saying Mass, change my clothes quickly and get on the tractor. But I know that God has forgiven me because with the money I earned from wine I created the oratory and renovated the rectory”. And, he did not listen to those who thought him delusional, mad and a dreamer, like the ecclesiastical authorities who did not look favorably on him being an entrepreneur. He instead found the support of his mayor, Lidia Bianco, a woman of culture and an esteemed poet, who in the past had worked at the Agricultural Institute in Asti. In 1987, the “Parish Priest’s wine“, that depicted an angel with open wings on the label, obtained DOC status. Meanwhile, several parishioners did not move to Turin to work in factories, began to plant vineyards and produce wine, meeting the favor of the market. In 2010 it was granted DOCG status. A “miracle” the result of a common idea for the territory, the 7 Municipalities of the Province of Asti (Castagnole Monferrato, Montemagno, Grana, Portacomaro, Refrancore, Scurzolengo and Viarigi), home to this small production of Italian excellence, and thanks to the Ruché grape that brought them back to life, today are known all over the world.
“A family of 1 million bottles” is now carrying this story forward, as the Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato Producers Association defines itself. The association was informally established in 2001, by a group of producers, the Ruchè Producers Association, and formally founded in October 2015. Today, it counts 22 companies and 25 wine producers, including names such as Bergamo, Brava, Ferraris, Marengo and Montalba, just to name a few. Besides grapes, they are cultivating a territorial marketing project to promote the hills of Ruchè around the world. The first semester of activity closed on a positive note. In fact, the first steps of the project, promoted by the Ruchè Producers Association of Castagnole Monferrato, in collaboration with the Consortium for the Protection of Barbera d’Asti and Vini del Monferrato, and developed by Agricola Multimedia and Love Langhe Tour Over, boast numbers such as 500 photos taken during 25 company visits, 28 institutional videos, more than 70 tailor-made tourist offers and dozens of employees involved in company experiences, as well as consulting individual companies on hospitality and communication. Among other things, the Association’s aim is to create a coordinated image for the companies of the denomination - not only wineries, but also restaurants, accommodation facilities and all the shopkeepers - and to form a network ready to make the most of the tourist potential in the area.
In addition to the 22 associated Ruchè wineries, all seven municipalities of the DOCG (Castagnole Monferrato, Montemagno, Grana, Portacomaro, Refrancore, Scurzolengo and Viarigi) have joined and have co-financed the investment for a wide-ranging activity that will prepare the UNESCO heritage area to more cognizant tourism.
“The year-end report is excellent and promising”, said Luca Ferraris, president of the Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato Producers Association, “and the producers have demonstrated they are available and ready to make the quality leap that a wine tourism area like ours needs and deserves. Thanks to everyone for the work already done and for what still needs to be done”.
Over the next few months our agenda will include completing the booking portal, outlining a coordinated image, continuing the production of multimedia material and creating tourist offers. We have also organized a training course, aimed at defining coordinated guidelines for hospitality, and an educational tour guided by sector experts to present the area and its experiences on an International level.

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