Allegrini 2018

For Asti “Oggi è Festa!”: the Consortium celebrates 90 years with an immersive and emotional exhibition OPPURE Asti Consortium celebrates 90 years with an immersive, emotional exhibition

Quoting the advertising slogan coined by Armando Testa in 1959, it is a journey through the past, present and future of one of the oldest Denominations

If Asti is a pioneer of the Piedmontese and Italian sparkling wine tradition, it is also thanks to its communication campaigns, which have made the history of Italian advertising and made the aromatic made-in-Italy sparkling wine par excellence recognizable all over the world. From the first advertising images to posters by great artists such as Leonetto Cappiello and Armando Testa, from the black-and-white television Caroselli of the 1950s to the commercials of today, anchored in the collective imagination also thanks to the involvement of Hollywood stars and international stars and, last but not least, of Alessandro Borghese, TV’s most beloved chef, now an ambassador of the Docg, and of the world’s greatest tennis players, thanks to the partnership with the Apt Tour that makes Asti the Official Sparkling Wine in the most prestigious competitions. These are just some of the “tidbits” of “Ninety Years of Bubbles”, the exhibition at Palazzo Mazzetti in Asti, which WineNews previewed (video online in the coming days), and with which for the Consorzio dell’Asti Spumante e del Moscato d’Asti Docg “ Oggi è Festa, quoting the famous slogan coined by Armando Testa in 1959: from today through October 16, the exhibition traces and celebrates 90 years of the Consortium’s history, written with Italy’s most famous sparkling wine houses, starting on December 17, 1932. Waiting to toast on December 17, 2022, on that same day almost a century later, just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s Festivities of which Asti has always been the “king”. An emotional and immersive journey through the past, present and future of one of Italy’s oldest Denominations, which was born in the same territory where Italy was made, in the glasses of politicians and heads of state, VIPs and movie stars, sports champions after a goal or a feat, and, above all, in the most beautiful and special moments of Italian families: it is also recognized by the Asti Cup, a true Italian icon. But today, Asti is also one of the most contemporary expressions of made-in-Italy bubbly, one of Piedmont's most celebrated DOCGs that, thanks to its countless occasions for consumption now year-round, from aperitifs to cocktails, has more and more fans around the world and of all generations. A Denomination, which has gone in its history from 2 million bottles in the post-war period, to 40 already in the 1970s and which today exports 90% of its production. “In 2021, Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti Docg reached 103 million bottles produced, of which Asti accounts for 60%”, Giacomo Pondini, director of the Consortium, explained to WineNews. “Among the main markets are the U.S., Great Britain, Germany and Russia for Asti Spumante, while for Moscato the U.S. and Korea”. The exhibition, curated by Pier Ottavio Daniele and in which names such as Giancarlo Ferraris, Andrea Triberti, Massimo Branda, Luca Percivalle, Zeta Solution and Designstudio25 collaborated, opens a space for reflection that is not only celebratory, but useful for highlighting the contribution of cultural and economic growth that Asti has made to the world of Italian wine and beyond. “This prestigious milestone demonstrates the longevity of the Asti Docg, which with the passage of time has been able to renew itself by following the changes in society and the market, developing technological innovations, always in synergy with the producers who have been working with dedication and passion in the area for generations”, stresses Consortium President Lorenzo Barbero. “Ninety years for a Consortium is an important milestone, and the Consortium of Asti is a historic Consortium as is the Denomination, recognized as Doc in the 1960s and then Docg in the 1990s”, adds Pondini, “but it is the fruit of a sparkling wine tradition that is located in the territory of Canelli and that has given life to Asti Spumanti since 1865 when Carlo Gancia experimented with the first Italian Metodo Classico sparkling wine that was based precisely on Moscato grapes. It is important to retrace the steps that producers in associate form have taken over these 90 years and the milestones they have achieved, for the goals they want to set for the future. The exhibition tells the salient features of the association that has carried on the protection, supervision and promotion of the Denomination. And we felt it was especially appropriate for the consumer audience to highlight the historical moments of communication and what has been done by the Consortium and companies to promote it from the turn of the century with posters that recalled the Art Nouveau style to the Carousel of the 1950s, to the advertisements of recent decades featuring George Clooney, Naomi Campbell and Alessandro Borghese”. Almost a century long, the history of the Consorzio dell'Asti Docg is in fact rich in testimonies that tell of the values of the hundreds of winegrowing families who have been cultivating the Moscato Bianco grape for decades, preserving a place symbolic of the history of enology and scientific discoveries related to the world of wine, which exists only in the heart of the Docg: Canelli’s “Underground Cathedrals” cellars, tunnels and halls dug for miles and miles into the tufa of the Asti hills in past centuries, where, after learning Champagne sparkling techniques, in 1865 Carlo Gancia began producing “Moscato Champagne”, experimenting with the Champenoise Method and natural refermentation in the bottle with the sweet grapes of Moscato Bianco, author of the first Italian Metodo Classico. Later, in 1895, the first method of sparkling winemaking was also born with the “presa di spuma” and natural refermentation in autoclaves patented by Federico Martinotti, director of the Istituto Sperimentale per l’Enologia in Asti, adopted years later by Frenchman Eugène Charmat, who built and patented them. And, even today, it is here that, thanks to constant and ideal humidity and temperature, rare wines and sparkling wines appreciated worldwide are aged, from Gancia to the historic Bosca, Contratto and Coppo. A peculiar phenomenon, which culminated in the early 20th century when there were more than 50 small industries that dealt exclusively with wine production, leaving the cultivation of vines in the hands of farmers, and already at that time exporting wines all over the world. Just in these days, the new stage in this long history is the 2022 harvest, “which promises to be of great quality from several points of view”, the Consortium director explains, “first of all for aromaticity, which is a fundamental aspect for an aromatic grape such as Moscato Bianco, then for the particular weather conditions of this year’s growing season that have meant that there is a distinct aromaticity in the grapes, which producers will now have to transfer to Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti. We are also positive about the quality of the grapes”. The background is a territory with 9,900 hectares of vineyards cultivated by something like more than 1,000 companies, in Moscato Bianco, in 51 municipalities, between Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo, where Asti Spumante Docg and Moscato d’Asti Docg are born. And a territory that Asti carries in its name and in the world, from the city of the great playwright Vittorio Alfieri, of the historic Douja d’Or festival and the famous Palio, to the “sorì”, the vine-covered hillsides with slopes of even more than 50%, where mechanical means cannot be used and work can only be done by hand. Enlightened by “The moon and the bonfires” that inspired Cesare Pavese, and recounted by Beppe Fenoglio, and the first Italian wine landscape recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site with the Langhe and Roero, it is precisely on the “sorì” that the future of the Docg is being played out in a project that aims at a real “zoning” and that sees the Consortium and the “Municipalities of Moscato” united. “The “Sorì Eroici” project is a very important project to give visibility to the work of the producers in the heroic vineyards of Asti and Moscato d’Asti”, Pondini concludes, “they are called “sorì” because they are sunny hills that, thanks to their exposure, always “smile” at the sun”.

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