Allegrini 2018

Petrini: "wine is in the midst of a new revolution, environment and work are first and foremost"

"Slow Wine Fair" (Bologna, March 27 - 29): Slow Food founder and Libera founder, Don Luigi Ciotti’s message

Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, stated at the "Slow Wine Fair", held in Bologna March 27th-29th, “I have experienced historic changes in the way of producing, promoting and enhancing wine. Today, we are experiencing a new historical moment - ecological transition - that will allow us return to living in harmony with nature. Wine production will play a very important role, freeing us from chemicals, exploitation, and giving winemakers the freedom to make the wines they want to make, in a virtuous way, telling their story, without scores, because dialogue is much more important”. In 2020 Petrini described this revolution in the "Manifesto of good, clean and fair wine" at the "Slow Wine Coalition", the event BolognaFiere organized, under the artistic direction of Slow Food, in partnership with FederBio and Confcommercio Ascom Bologna. It is now taking its first steps and this is the first practical action, narrated by Carlo Petrini, together with Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera, Giancarlo Gariglio, International Coordinator of the Slow Wine Coalition, and Maria Grazia Mammuccini, president of FederBio.
“In the nineteen eighties we created a guide to evaluate the quality of companies, which helped many small producers become winemakers of high quality products. In the Langhe, we experienced the transition of many small winegrowers, contributors to Cooperatives and large companies, at the mercy of merchants, who have become wine producers. Yet, even today, farmers have no power over the price of their products, and they are always the ones that take the biggest loss. However, the small producers of excellent products have changed the social reality of the sector, taking us to another era, where it is more difficult to make bad wine than good wine. And, instead of evaluations, guides must tell the stories of wine producers”, Carlo Petrini continued. According to Petrini, “the new paradigm will be deciding how to produce in harmony with the environment and respect for workers”. The reason for this is “the future customers are the generation that will take to the streets to demand that politics fight the environmental disaster. And they will not ask for scores, instead they will want to know if chemicals are being used or not, and whether workers are being respected. This means that dumping the barrel at the Cooperatives is not enough. The new environmental and social practices cost a little more, but in certain areas, where a bottle costs 50 euros, there are absolutely no excuses. Even where profitability is lower, there is no excuse for unsustainable costs, which the consumers of tomorrow will recognize. Wine must be at the forefront, as it has always been, because when virtuous behavior starts from wine, other agricultural sectors follow it in multitudes”.
Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini addressed the producers directly, “never forget that the main vocation has to be the vineyard, the vine, and not marketing. The distinctive component of any wine producer must be to have a good relationship with the land and the vineyard. If wine becomes a commodity, it is no longer an agricultural product. Therefore, it is no longer wine, intended as a product of the earth, which characterizes the territories. Producers take their territories around the world; it is an enormous responsibility that gives credit to those who have the ability to become an expression of the territory. Good environmental practices today have widespread recognition relative to smell and taste evaluations. Moreover, organic and natural wines, unlike a few years ago, are well made, and express distinctive features that were being lost. Do not be afraid if your wines are not standardized - diversity is an added value, and the result of grape variety, territory, non-invasive practices and awareness that this diversity is a new and positive element”.
Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera, and Carlo Petrini’s historical companion in many battles, joined the conversation and brought it back to the painful level of reality, and a “war that involves all of us, and has made us welcome those suffering, but I wish they wouldn't forget the other 33 wars around the world. Our systems, in Italy and in Europe, make it difficult to welcome people with black skin, and this fact must arouse a conflict in our consciences, but we are now only interested in ourselves. For the past two years, everyone has been talking about peace - but it was an armed peace, because spending on armaments is back on track. Furthermore, there is another war, that of the mafias, now globalized, stronger and more powerful. The disturbing fact is that the Country has moved towards normalizing this phenomenon. But the mafias, which are expanding more and more, are investing in food and agriculture, buying bars, restaurants and hotels. They are undermining the agro-food chain. It is a problem that affects us all, not just one in many”, Don Luigi Ciotti continued.
“We have experienced the Covid-19 storm, but the most dangerous variant is the crime variant. Mafias have money to launder and the power to continue to expand. They arrive with the faces of angels, after having built businesses, because today's bosses are not gangster managers like they used to be. They have penetrated every social context. I represent a "we", Don Ciotti continued, “we must be wary of solitary navigators, because things are done together, sharing strength and energy. Libera was founded after the massacres in Capaci and Via D'Amelio. It is a network that today works all over the world, and has a profound need to fight mafias and violence. One of our key elements was collecting signatures to confiscate possessions from the mafia and corruption, and return them to society, to social use. This is the meaning of our actions. We have fought, but it's not enough. The mafias like to open businesses, but they don't like the land, they just want to show off ”.
“Cooperatives have opened businesses on confiscated lands, freeing them and giving people work, which means restoring dignity to people, and this is wonderful. The Centopassi Winery, like others all over Italy, is marvelous. The products have an extra added value: legality and justice. Unfortunately”, the founder of Libera said, “the gang master hiring system numbers are negatively impressive in all agricultural sectors, and, we cannot forget the new slavery phenomenon. Although many people have been working to right this wrong, there are still many companies in which work takes on forms of slavery. There are laws in place, and they are good, but there are not enough controls, and thus the desperation of the most fragile is enormous. In this regard, linking residence permits to work is profoundly wrong. Pope Francis has narrated the story of how his father left the Asti area, from the vineyards, to go to Argentina. At that time, working the land did not provide an adequate living. The ship on which his grandparents should have sailed, but due to a fortuitous series of events they had to postpone their journey, was the Mafalda, which sank and hundreds of Italians drowned. Today’s stories are the stories of yesterday ".
Giancarlo Gariglio, coordinator of Slow Wine Coalition International, presented the first results of the spotlight Slow Food dedicated to the three pillars of the "Manifesto of good, clean and fair wine" - environmental sustainability, landscape protection and the social and human role of the winemaker. “We want to give shape to our work with documents inherent to the merits of the conversation, as we have done with online conferences that have been held over the past few days. The conference on sustainability revealed the need to give vineyards a longer life, because replanting a vineyard every twenty years is certainly not an ecological choice, first of all fighting wood diseases. And then there is an urgent need to reduce the use of fungicides, because 60% of those used in agriculture are used in viticulture, a supply chain which, however, only covers 3% of the National agricultural area. Further, it is necessary to take care of the life of the soil and reduce the water footprint, through investigating the possibilities resistant vines offer. Finally, technology and adopting advanced machinery are priorities, because obsolete equipment leads to enormous waste, which we can instead cut 80%”.
The conference on landscape, instead, revealed “the winegrower is the primary player in the development of rural landscapes and also its first defender. Cultivating biodiversity, and favoring various native grape varieties is fundamental. Perceiving climate change is the winemaker’s priority as it pushes him to make quick and difficult choices, albeit sometimes wrong, such as irrigation and cisgenesis. Finally, we must keep in mind that wine is a community, yet there is still not enough said about social justice. It is important for wineries that have joined the Manifesto to learn to collaborate on projects that share machinery and manpower training. Furthermore, professional training of collaborators and the correct contractual relationship are necessary. Unfortunately, from a legal point of view, this is not the case, since 70% of contracts for foreign workers lack some transparency. Cultural and social growth develops by involving the inhabitants in production areas, and putting the village heritage center front. Lastly, it is necessary to offer business models adapted to different crops, and help farmers who produce other products, so the community grows and the landscape is protected”.
FederBio is also together with Slow Food, and as the president, Maria Grazia Mammuccini told us, it is “a natural alliance. The law on organic farming has been definitively approved and it is a fundamental step for the number one Country in the world of organic vine areas, and Slow Food has played a central role. Organic farming is a decisive component for good, clean and fair wine. The agriculture sector is in difficulty, due to the increase in cost of raw materials and the markets are chaotic. This emergency situation is holding back the ecological transition, which instead we should accelerate, not slow down, because it is the real solution to meet today's needs. Good, clean and fair wine is indicative, as viticulture has always been the leading edge of innovation, and consequently of sustainability. At this stage, it is essential to create alliances, like those with Slow Food and Bologna Fiere”. The message from Stefano Patuanelli, Minister of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, reiterated the challenging moment for the Italian as well as the International agro-food sector, which has set new priorities on food safety. Further, it has emphasized the need to take action to contain the high increases in food safety, raw materials and energy costs. “Now more than ever we need to feel united as a Country, as Europe and as a community, and to face the challenges the primary sector must deal with in a coordinated and consistent manner. In this context, the “Slow Wine Coalition” network and the wine production chain that you represent today constitutes a clear testimony of integration and the direction we must continue to pursue”.
The core of the "Sana Slow Wine Fair" event (March 27 to March 29, in Bologna) revolves around the Slow Food "Manifesto of good, clean and fair wine". The final words (and advice) of two philosophers of our time, namely Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, and Don Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera are significant, “today producing wine is an art form. It keeps ethics and aesthetics together - the good and the beautiful. Have fun, make wines you like, free yourself from standardization, be virtuous in your relations with the land and with your collaborators. Live joyfully, but keep your eyes open, never consider yourselves immune from responsibilities”.
Focus - The speech by Valerij Petrov, president of small Ukrainian winemakers, at the opening of "Sana Slow Wine Fair"
The "Slow Food Wine Coalition" plenary assembly, at the opening of "Sana Slow Wine Fair", also hosted the president of the small Ukrainian winemakers, Valerij Petrov, who, in a video-testimony (here), described the difficulties they have experienced because of the ongoing war. “The situation today is very difficult and I am very worried that the enemy soldiers will strike the farms. It has already happened in Kachovka and Cherson, where entire companies have been robbed and destroyed. Furthermore, in this war situation it is impossible for us to sell our wines, which is why we are asking producers from all over Europe to help us export them. Slow Food Ukraine is by our side and everyone is helping us as much as they can”. A fundraiser has been launched to support the Slow Food Communities in Ukraine, which you can support by visiting this web page.

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