Allegrini 2018

Flood in the Marche, large damage to agriculture and beyond. But substantially “save” the wine

Michele Bernetti (Istituto Marchigiano Tutela Vini). “Wineries and vineyards have no particular damage, and the harvest proceeds well”
Marche, flood disaster, but save the vineyards of Verdicchio and beyond

While continuing to dig in the mud to try to start again in the territories of the Marche affected by the Misa flood which submerged Senigallia, Ostra, and not only, the count of the victims, for now, stops at 11, with 2 missings. A tragic balance already as it is, to which is added the discouragement of those who have lost houses, cars, shops, bars, restaurants, and companies to be put up where possible, and to which, as often happens in these cases, less and less frequent, the controversies against the bureaucracy are coming out which, as also supported by the order of the geologists of the Marche, brakes those interventions that could prevent them. Because there were not only more than 400 millimeters of rain fallen in a few hours to do damage, but the flood of the flooded rivers, and the mud. The wine, all in all, was saved, except for the Boccofosca Cantina di Ostra, which has been submerged, and where at least the refrigeration systems for grapes are slowly restarting, however in a full harvest phase. But beyond this limited situation, the wine sector overall has not had great damage, as evidenced to Winenews Michele Bernetti, at the helm of Umani Ronchi, one of the most important Marche realities, and of the Istituto Marchigiano di tutela Vini.
“The first thought is for the victims, of course, that are many, like those of an earthquake, and for many other sectors, not only catering and tourism, but also craftworks from the territory, which have been affected in a very significant way. Wineries and vineyards all in all were saved, we made a tour between the wineries, and there seem to be no particular critical issues because almost all the cellars and vineyards are on the hill, and the disaster was made because of the full of the Misa, not so much the rain, which was however exceptional. Indeed, we, as a sector, should try to support those that have been affected more. But, apart from some limitations, in short, there are no big critical issues, not even for the harvest, which is towards the conclusion for Verdicchio and for the white berry varieties, which have surprised for quality and quantity, as well as also the red varieties, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in the lead, and for which the harvest is increasingly closer”. “All in all the wine sector is safe, but for many, it is truly a disaster. The images we see on TV do not give the dimension of the misfortune in the affected territories”, adds, for his part, Alberto Mazzoni, director of the Istituto Marchigiano di tutela Vini, who adds: “The situation is serious and severe, it will take years and less bureaucracy to try to get up. There are still submerged fields. But we must act: if the banks of the rivers are not managed, if they do not clean, if the plants are not managed, if the immobility is not exceeded that, on this aspect, it has been in the last 30 years, it does resolve nothing”.
As mentioned, remaining on the wine front, the only truly affected reality, to date, is that of the Boccafosca winery.
“I would like it to be a good morning of harvest, as it had to be in this period, instead it is the day of the damage count. The entranced water swept via mobile, wines, products ... flooded offices, tasting room. For now, we do not know which machinery will restart ... we are waiting for them to dry to restore the current”, read on the Facebook profile of the cellar on September 17, the morning after the flood. Then the incessant work, also thanks to the volunteers, and the things that slowly start again, but far from normality. A situation that directly affected the cellar, but, indirectly, also other prominent companies in the area, such as the Velenosi Vini of Angela Velenosi, which has a part of storage and processing right in the Boccafosca winery. “After the August hail that hit us hard, this disaster also arrived, in the middle of the harvest. There have been workers who have lived dramatic hours, to which we are close. We have stopped everything from Friday, we still need to finish the Verdicchio, there are the grapes of the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba that must be collected. We have seen that the cold refrigeration at least is restarted, we will see how it will go. The thing that comforts me was the solidarity of many producers that I called, and who, despite the full harvest, also made available to us tanks and cisterns in case of need. It is hard, but we will start again also this time,” commented, to Winenews, Angela Velenosi.
As always happens in these cases, however, not everyone is affected equally. On the only agricultural front, for example, if viticulture comes out unharmed, according to Coldiretti, in areas affected by bad weather “the autumn sowing of barley, oats, and wheat is at risk on the land where all kinds of waste have been piled up and open chasms also impracticable for the tractors”, and damages for millions of euros for “destroyed crops, but also greenhouses, irrigation systems, equipment, tractors, and other agricultural vehicles and food processing plants, but also water wells full of mud, unusable with the dewatering pumps that cannot remove the slime”.
“Coldiretti is committed to offering assistance to the affected companies and asks the institutions to act quickly in this dramatic emergency situation”, says Maria Letizia Gardoni, president of Coldiretti Marche, underlining, however, that “we need funds and legislation in derogation to simplify a bureaucratic burden which, as it is today, would lead to total paralysis and therefore to the abandonment of the territory”. But also, in terms of other economic activities, looking closely, in this case, at restaurants and wine bars. And if, for example, famous restaurateurs of Senigallia such as Mauro Uliassi, with the three-starred Uliassi of Senigallia, and Moreno Cedroni, two-starred with La Madonnina del Pescatore, but who in the center of Senigallia also has Anikò in fact have not had any damage, in the opposite, dozens of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops closest to the flood suffered major damage. Among these is also the historic Enoteca Galli di Senigallia, led by Osvaldo and Guido Galli, together with the family, for over half a century.
“Half a meter of water entered and it completely destroyed the floor below and also caused significant damage to the room and the vault, so much so that there are 2,000 ruined bottles of wine” they said. “The only positive fact - explain the Galli - is that fortunately the bottles floated and did not break. But many labels are heavily damaged and therefore it will be difficult to recover them. It is important to reopen the wine shop as soon as possible, we are doing our best. Since the night of the flood, we have never interrupted the restoration of the space and above all, we have worked to recover most of the wines, some even of great value. At the moment it is not possible to make an overall estimate of the damages but they are certainly very large. In 52 years of activity here at the arcades of Senigallia - adds Osvaldo - I have never seen such a thing. When we walked in in the middle of the night to find out what had happened to our shop and saw all that disaster, I was seized with a feeling of deep sadness. It went well that the water drained quickly”, explains Guido Galli, whose wife, Monica, urges a structural intervention: “for example, expansion tanks would be needed, as promised for years, in order to avoid such disasters. But, in the meantime, the work of cleaning and removing the mud from the bottles must be completed before it is too late”. “And if we fail to retrieve some excellent wines for the place - concludes Guido - it will mean that we will open them and toast for the reopening of the wine shop ...”.

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