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Italy queen of world diplomacy in defense of wine’s cultural and economic values

From the “Wine Ministerial Meeting” in Franciacorta to Vinitaly, the signal of the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, together with OIV

Wine in Italy is a 13.8 billion euro production turnover sector, 10% of the total agri-food industry, involving 241,000 wineries and 33,000 winemaking companies, with 7.8 billion euro exports. But it is also, or above all, history, culture, widespread wealth and garrison of territories. This is why Italy, can and must be one of the great powers on the front line to protect a product that today, from many quarters, due to the social changes taking place but also to political wills with a neo-prohibitionist flavor, is put at risk. And that is why, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Organization of Vine and Wine - OIV, chaired by Italian Professor Luigi Moio, the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, has called together colleagues and representatives from 30 countries around the world, who will meet at the “Wine Ministerial Meeting” in Franciacorta, April 12, and then set course for “Opera Wine” by Wine Spectator, April 13, and Vinitaly, April 14-17, in Verona, “where we will show the world Italy’s ability to create value around wine, our excellence in controlling the supply chain, but also our history, our wine culture, including through artworks that will come from the Lungarotti family’s Torgiano Wine Museum, and the ability to innovate, with exhibits and spaces that are more to be seen and experienced than to be told today”. Words from Francesco Lollobrigida himself, today, at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, in Cavour Hall. “A non-random name, that of this room, since Cavour, a lover and producer of wine, in creating a united Italy wanted to give it a Ministry of Agriculture from the very beginning, and that food sovereignty, for us, is a right of citizens, who must be able to choose what to produce and what to eat”, said Lollobrigida ( in the coming days a video interview accorded today by the Minister to WineNews, ed.), at the table with Veronafiere president, Federico Bricolo, and in connection with OIV president Luigi Moio, from Dijon, Ice president, Matteo Zoppas, and renowned nutritionist Giorgio Calabrese. And if the latter returned to emphasize how “wine, which is above all water, and is a liquid food, consumed in moderation, within the framework of a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, is not only not bad for you, as some people insist on claiming, but is even beneficial”, Oiv president Moio pointed out that this appointment that brings together the governments of the world’s most important countries for wine in Italy comes at an important time. “We proclaimed 2024 as the international year of the wine vine, to promote the value of the sector from a historical, scientific and cultural point of view. Within this framework, the first International Interministerial Wine Conference was born, strongly desired by Minister Lollobrigida, whom I thank. And which has great relevance not only for its symbolic value, but for the strategic vision of the global supply chain. Today”, stressed President Luigi Moio, “ there is great concern in the sector. Today’s society could evolve toward a model that questions wine, due to changes in the perception of alcoholic beverages, with a radical change in consumption, in quantity, which is sharply decreasing, and in modalities, leading to a drastic drop in consumption. The sector needs to be reassured, and the cultural value that this beverage has had for centuries needs to be passed on to new generations. Wine is a unique beverage, it is drunk in small sips, with food, whose perception it amplifies. Without forgetting that wine is the result of an agricultural act, which binds it in a direct way to the territories of production: viticulture is a garrison for the territories, all of which are grappling, by the way, with a phase of climatic upheaval. There is a pressing demand for security and transparency to be answered. I want to express profound gratitude to Minister Lollobrigida for this appointment, which opens the official celebrations of our centenary, which will close in October in Dijon, with the 45th OIV Congress, with ministers from all 50 member countries”.
Gratitude to Minister Lollobrigida, for a presence at Vinitaly “never so strong and of such quality as this year”, was also expressed by Federico Bricolo, president of Veronafiere, who pointed out that “also thanks to the great work done with Agenzia Ice, with which we have promoted Vinitaly in 15 target countries, there will be 30,000 buyers from all over the world”.
“Vinitaly is a very important fair, Italian wine spearheads abroad, there is no restaurant that does not have at least one bottle on the list, and this is thanks to the great work of our entrepreneurs. The nearly 8 billion exports are worth much more than just the economic value. The Ice Agency is alongside the entire supply chain”, said Matteo Zoppas, Ice president, “We are focused on pushing the whole Made in Italy agri-food industry, to create greater development abroad, fostering presence in the world and bringing to Italy, paying at our expense, buyers, managers of major restaurant chains and hotels that can make the difference for so many SMEs that perhaps have a harder time going to the world. And also in this sense we are working a lot with the minister, and with President Bricolo, also in view of the “Vinitaly USA” event in Chicago in October 2024”.
Summing up, starting with the “Wine Ministerial Meeting”, which will be staged April 12 in Franciacorta, was the host, Francesco Lollobrigida. “It is an event that wants to make Italian wine stronger, richer, and more generous, because by promoting wine we promote a product that if consumed with measure is good for you, as science tells us. This nation was born from a political intuition of Cavour, a lover of Barolo, who, in addition to being a politician, was a farmer and boasted of being a wine producer, and wanted to create the Ministry of Agriculture in the birth of united Italy. Production, processing and promotion”, Lollobrigida said, “are the elements that make us strong. Thanks to Bricolo, who does an outstanding job with Vinitaly, also thanks to the work of Agenzia Ice and Zoppas, opening markets and growth opportunities that create wealth, which, unlike what some people think, is not done at the table. What is needed today is a “product diplomacy”, and Italy, for wine, will host the first event of this level, with 31 countries, who speak different languages, have different religions, different productions, but gather around wine to discuss a strategy to safeguard not only its economy, but its culture and consumption patterns, which are under attack. As Moio and Calabrese said, wine is not just alcohol, it is also alcohol, but much more. History says it, you don’t need to quote Socrates, you don’t need to quote Rita Levi Montalcini, who was a great lover of wine and lived to be 103 years old. The Italian model, then, is a model of safety, we are the ones who have more controls, more traceability, we are perceived as “quality” in the world, a field in which we try to win all challenges”.
Stressing on the event, Minister Lollobrigida explained why the choice of Franciacorta: “the proximity to Verona and Vinitaly, which can be reached in an hour, obviously played a role, but Franciacorta is an area that tells an Italian capacity, because, in just a few years, it has managed to make quality, to work well in promotion and to create value with wine, with very high skills in research, science and maintenance of the territory. On April 12, many issues will be discussed in Franciacorta, and a document will be written with research at the center, but also the fight against wine and alcohol abuse, with defensive interventions, protecting the wine, but also “attack”, to explain the beneficial values of wine. And let’s not mix wine and narcotics in the debate as some do, because they have nothing in common. And on this occasion first, and then at Vinitaly, we will let the representatives of the countries know how our businesses create wealth, jobs, but also environmental sustainability and more”, Lollobrigida said. Who then, about the participation of the Ministry of Agriculture in Vinitaly, added, “last year with the Minister of Cultural Heritage, Gennaro Sangiuliano, we brought, for the first time, two extraordinary works of art, Caravaggio’s Bacchus and Guido Reni’s Bacchus, and it was the first time of such a strong presence of art at Vinitaly. This year we will have a pavilion divided into two: a part dedicated to history and innovation, with works from major Italian museums, such as the Lungarotti family’s Wine Museum in Torgiano, which tells, from ancient Egypt to the present day, the way of producing wine, and of consuming it, but also from the Ministry, which has one of the most important agricultural libraries in the world, telling the story of the meticulous study and improvement that agriculture has experienced over time. Then there is a part dedicated to innovation, a multimedia room with three perspectives to look at wine: nature as the best artist, with wine looked at under a microscope creating evocative and wonderful works; then the soil, the land, how these have been formed in geological eras, a fundamental aspect of producing good wine; and then senses, tastes, smells, emotions, told with a 3D film. And again, on April 15 we will celebrate “Made in Italy” day, dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci, by putting on stage students from agricultural and hotel institutes in Italy, who represented the present and future of sectors that are fundamental to Italy”.

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