Allegrini 2018

“Grandi Langhe 2023”: Barolo and wine in the glass, work ethics at the center of the debate

The two-day event that will see 240 wineries as protagonists in Turin, with the new vintages of the great wines of the area is starting, with the “Changes” conference

There are 230,000 unauthorized workers in agriculture in 2022, representing a quarter of the total employed and over 34% of employees in the sector. The women are 55,000. Of over 220 million irregular hours, over half occurred in the southern regions. An underground sector that is worth 157.4 billion, equal to 9.5% of GDP, however down on last year. Here are the data presented today in Turin by Jean-René Bilongo, president of the Osservatorio Placido Rizzotto, invited to “Grandi Langhe 2023” (7th edition, promoted by the Consortium of Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani and by the Roero Consortium, with the support of the Piedmont Region and Intesa Sanpaolo, ready to welcome buyers from over 30 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, and India, wine merchants, restaurateurs and Italian and international importers on 30 and 31 January at Ogr-Officine Grandi Riparazioni, where more than 240 wineries will present the new vintages of the Docg and Doc of Langhe and Roero, and, more specifically, Barolo 2019 and Riserva 2017, Barbaresco 2020 and Riserva 2018; Roero 2020 and Riserva 2019, Roero Arneis 2022 and Riserva 2020) to introduce a current topic on the conditions of agricultural workers. A brave choice of the Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe Dogliani Consortium, which sent industry experts to discuss this issue at the “Changes” conference, solicited by Valentina Furlanetto, Radio 24 journalist and the author of the book “Noi Schiavisti”. The topic was then introduced by Jean-René Bilongo, president of the Osservatorio Placido Rizzotto, who presented the most recent data. In 2021, the Labor Inspectorate conducted 65,686 inspections, nearly 9% of which involved the agricultural sector and 3,000 of which resulted in an irregular response (55%). In the agricultural sector, there were 6,804 workers affected by the offenses identified (11% of the total), with 797 (59%) affected by illegal hiring or labor exploitation. Davide Donatiello, professor of Sociology at the University of Turin, brought the focus to the tent cities of grape harvesters, in recent years, the object of investigation on the hills of Moscato d’Asti, around Canelli: “foreigners employed in the vineyards are now the majority. In the 1990s, Macedonians, Albanians, Bulgarians, and Romanians arrived: they developed trusting relationships with their employers, have regular work contracts, and in some cases even made a career. Political refugees who move in search of work but lack a network of contacts in the area or agricultural skills are a new phenomenon; they are the weakest and most likely to end up in the irregular labor market. Cooperatives, which provide services in agriculture, have taken on an important role: they provide flexibility and less bureaucratic procedures. Virtuous territories that operate with a focus on quality are now looking for workforce sustainability. Synergies are being activated between different agricultural supply chains, such as between fruits and vegetables and vines, and more collaboration between farms is being promoted so that labor can be shared. “We are discussing a topic that is also related to the image of our region, which strives for quality in everything, including workforce regularization - said the president of the Barolo Consortium, Matteo Ascheri - over 4,000 people are employed in our vineyards, of which half are hired by companies. The remaining 50% comes from cooperatives, and this is where we need more collaboration, including from Confcooperative Cuneo, which we asked to create synergy with”. Stefano Quadro, general secretary of Confcooperative Piemonte, highlighted how “only 40% of national cooperatives are members of a representative association. The issue is one of false cooperation. We have started a conversation with the Consortium to keep an eye on the situation in the Langhe”. Monica Ciaburro, member of the Agriculture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, recalled that “the new government immediately put in place a decree on social status which also includes illegal hiring. It is necessary to arrive at a point where illegal hiring responds to a state vacuum. Very heavy sanctions have been introduced today”. “In our office, which is also responsible for the Langhe and Roero area - said Francesca Dentis, Deputy Prosecutor of the Republic of Asti - there are 2,900 files a year, 3 of which for illegal hiring went to trial between 2019 and 2022. Affected workers arrive from Senegal, Nigeria, New Guinea and Gambia. The defendants are Albanians and Macedonians, and no wine entrepreneurs”.
A complex and delicate issue, therefore, that of irregular work in agriculture, which can find a laboratory and a privileged place for discussion, to seek real and concrete solutions, in the territories of great Italian wine, such as the Langhe, which are among those where agriculture has the greatest added value. But, if the theme of work is at the center of the debate, the protagonists in the glasses are “King Barolo” and the great Langhe and Roero wines, which are presented in Italy’s first capital, celebrating a common thread that links their vicissitudes to Italian history, ever since, in the mid-nineteenth century in the midst of the unification of Italy, the Marquise of Barolo Giulia Colbert Falletti and Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour started production in the Langhe. Today and tomorrow, WineNews is at “Grandi Langhe 2023”, in Turin, to taste the new vintages of the Docg and Doc of the Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe Dogliani Consortium and the Roero Consortium (in particular, Barolo 2019 and Riserva 2017, Barbaresco 2020 and Riserva 2018; Roero 2020 and Riserva 2019, Roero Arneis 2022 and Riserva 2020), with which the 2023 season continues, which sees the introduction of the most prestigious Italian wines to the market.
These are presented in Turin, at the Ogr-Officine Grandi Riparazioni, a beautiful former industrial complex of the late nineteenth century, today a hub of innovation and art, where more than 240 producers present the new vintages of the wines of Langhe and Roero and their territory, “in a cohesive and unitary way. We wanted to confirm Turin as the city for our event as a sign of international growth, attracting buyers from all over the world and strengthening ties with the Langhe and Roero areas, as well as Piedmont in general”, explains Matteo Ascheri, president of the Barolo Consortium Barbaresco Alba Langhe and Dogliani. And in this territory, as in few others, important pages of the history of Italian wine and of Italy can be told, through the best tastings of the new vintages of the great wines of Langhe and Roero, and the voice of the symbolic producers of the first territory of the Italian wine Unesco Heritage, where in the mid-nineteenth century, while the unification of Italy was born, the Marquise of Barolo Giulia Colbert Falletti and Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour began the production of Barolo, loved by the Savoys, the first Kings of Italy, and also produced from the President-winemaker par excellence, one of the fathers of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi, up to today. And we will also do it with the tastings in the editorial office for the monograph (March 2023) of “I Quaderni di WineNews” dedicated to Barolo.

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