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WINE & GOOD PRACTICES

Premio Gavi “La Buona Italia 2023” to Ruffino for the communication of “sustainable” wine

Research for the Gavi Consortium on the meaning of sustainability. “Special Mentions” to Gruppo Mezzacorona, Cantina Pizzolato and Ricci Curbastro

Sustainability, in its environmental, economic, social, and cultural meanings, understood as respect for established rules, history, and tradition, is an essential commitment for the world of Italian wine, a choice that no producer can no longer ignore, both due to regulatory pressures dictated by the European Union’s 2030 Agenda, and in response to more aware groups of consumers. An up-to-date way of “doing things well”, which has always been practiced by quality-oriented companies and based on the values of respect and care for the product, the territory, the people who work in the company, the community, the consumer, which does not have an arrival point, but which is continuous research, innovation, experimentation, and technology. And communicating it, builds resilience as well as competitive advantages. According to a survey sponsored by the Gavi Consortium and conducted by Walden Lab & The Round Table (directed by Francesco Moneta) for the Gavi “La Buona Italia 2023”, it is the meaning of a beautiful, but difficult and frequently abused term for Italian wineries. In the edition no. 9, on stage today in Milan, to win the recognition dedicated to the good practices implemented by the wineries and by the Consortiums of Italian wine, is Ruffino, the historic Tuscan brand, today part of the Constellation Brands group, for the ability to communicate its commitment in sustainability (and for which, between 2019 and 2025, it invested 11 million euros at 360 degrees, ed). The Mezzacorona Group, La Cantina Pizzolato, and Ricci Curbastro were also awarded with “Special Mentions” for the special attention they paid to their sustainability and social responsibility projects in the wine industry.
Ruffino has been awarded for the ability to communicate its “green heart”: “it puts first, clearly with the right emphasis, environmental protection, responsible consumption, initiatives of “giving back”, corporate responsibility and welfare and the fight for gender inequality, writing down the values underlying production, and signing, in fact, a credibility pact with the consumer, which the company renews every day, through web and social content. For Sandro Sartor, president, and CEO of Ruffino, “the essence of our commitment has been grasped as well as its concreteness and transversality”.
The Walden Lab, Advisory & Research for a Sustainable Future, and The Round Table for the Consortium of Gavi survey revealed an advanced vision of sustainability, not as a marketing lever, but as an “element of substance” capable of enhancing wine production with direct effects on the quality of the product, its performance, and the company’s image. Communicating sustainability, which is also a long process, often linked to the company’s original founding values, closely linked to even disruptive decisions taken and implemented over many years, means being able to rely on a tool for differentiation, and identity, which strengthens the brand’s reputation, esteem, and trust in it. Because we are talking about esteem and trust, there is a growing realization that greenwashing is a thing of the past and that seriousness, consistency, transparency, and concreteness must be the guiding values of sustainable wine communication. Values that also extend to the governance of manufacturing companies and their impact on the territory of competence: in fact, sustainability is also social, providing for an internal front - corporate welfare aimed at employee well-being, gender equality, and inclusion - and an external front with projects dedicated to the territory and community to which it belongs.
And if the Italian consumer on average is less attentive to sustainability issues than one in Northern Europe, Germany, the United States or Canada, it is necessary to create communication initiatives aimed at informing, raising awareness and educating on the importance of sustainability both through the use of traditional tools (press releases, meetings, events) and digital tools (website and social media) is specifically dedicated to sustainability issues such as the balance sheet or certifications, differentiating them according to the target audience: Social media (Facebook and Instagram) and visits to the wineries for the final consumer; interventions in schools and universities to train/raise awareness among young people; Linkedin and Sustainability Report for “expert” stakeholders; face-to-face events for suppliers and sellers; moments of dedicated training for employees.
Once again, the scenario indicated by the Award and the analysis conducted are the examples to follow - according to the president of the Gavi Consortium, Maurizio Montobbio - we have demonstrated how wine entrepreneurs in Italy communicate sustainability not so much because it is mandatory but because they think it’s the right way. It is a model to be inspired by, even for the smallest producers, and it causes us to reflect: a complex future awaits us, with producers bearing sole responsibility for our actions. Doing things well and saying it afterward will demonstrate an industry’s credibility and ability to renew itself”.
Born in 2015, the Premio Gavi “La Buona Italia”, which WineNews has always followed by being part of the jurors, was assigned by the jury composed of Paolo Anselmi, founder and managing partner of Walden Lab, to Antonio Bozzo, journalist, and author of Prima Comunicazione, from Lisa Casali, environmental scientist, scientific popularizer, and writer, to Paolo Castelletti, general secretary of the UIV-Unione Italiana Vini, from Donatella Cinelli Colombini, founder of Le Donne del Vino and professor of Wine Tourism, to Michele Antonio Fino, professor of Foundations of European Law at the University of Pollenzo, by Simonetta Pattuglia, professor of Marketing, Communication and Media and curator of “Food, Wine & Co.” of the University of Rome Tor Vergata, to Stefano Stefanucci, director of Equalitas.

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