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The Fivi-Federazione Italiana Vignaioli Indipendenti is 15 years old: “now entered the control room”

At BolognaFiere, in the Slow Wine Fair 2023, and place of the next Mercato dei Vini dei Vignaioli Indipendenti, the “party”

“I would like to emphasize the significance of your work: the backbone of Italy, from north to south, is made up of small and medium-sized businesses, many of which are family-run. I want to wish all the members of the Federazione Italiana Vignaioli Indipendenti (Italian Federation of Independent Winegrowers - Fivi) all the best”. Words from the Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida, among the many who wished all the best to the Fivi- Federazione Italiana Vignaioli Indipendenti, which, at BolognaFiere, during the Slow Wine Fair 2023 - and where from 2023 it will stage its main event, the Mercato dei Vini dei Vignaioli Indipendenti, on 25-27 November - celebrated its first 15 years of activity. Since 2008 when, as underlined Carlo Petrini, Slow Food founder, the farsighted intuition of the association was born to focus attention on the work of the winemaker, therefore on man’s relationship with the earth and with the vine. Because “fifteen years have already passed since 2008, the year in which a group of winemakers, orphans of representation, had the intuition and courage to give life to an association that would allow all Italian winemakers and winemakers to protect their interests and enhance their role in the economic and social system. Let’s cultivate our independence, today like fifteen years ago” said Lorenzo Cesconi, president of Fivi.
The association, born in 2008 under the presidency of Costantino Charrère (2008-2013), followed by Matilde Poggi (2013-2022) and Lorenzo Cesconi (from 2022, current president), was born with a few hundred small cellars, and, in the first months of 2023, exceeded 1,500, with a now solid presence in all Italian territories. But the most intriguing figure of Fivi’s fifteen years is not numerical growth, but “the ability to gain accreditation in the sector tables at all levels, nationally and regionally - explains a note - thanks to the strength of one’s ideas and a vision that has never made corporate interests prevail over general ones, in the knowledge that a winemaker works daily in a dense network of social, economic, and cultural relationships that strengthen the territory in which it operates”. As Lorenzo Cesconi affirmed at the Fivi assembly, in November 2022, quoting Charrère, with a strong and clear image: “we have entered the control room, and even if perhaps we are not pressing them yet, we are proud to be there entered with responsibility, consistency and integrity”.
There are 31 Fivi delegations, territorial articulations that facilitate the comparison between the Winegrowers of the same territory and strengthen the dialogue between the Association and the local administrations; more than 300 Fivi points of affection, i.e. wine bars, restaurants and bars which more than others care about the work of winegrowers and offer enthusiasts a very wide choice of their wines: managed by people who, like winegrowers, have made the values of territoriality, craftsmanship, quality and sustainability the pillars of their business; by now dozens of collaborations and partnerships with universities, companies, research institutions that collaborate with Fivi in the Fivi4Future project, with the implementation of activities that contribute to improving the work of Fivi members in the vineyard and in the cellar, to their permanent training and their cultural, technical and economic growth, as well as to achieve the central objectives of the Farm to Fork strategy and the European Green Deal, for a transition of viticulture towards increasingly sustainable practices. There are two national Fivi events: the Sabato del Vignaiolo, on the calendar for 6 May, in many areas throughout Italy, and the Independent Winegrowers’ Wine Market, starting this year, at BolognaFiere from 25 to 27 November.
Many battles have been carried out in recent years, with visions that today as never before are also taken up by Italian politics, as reiterated again by the Minister of Agriculture, Lollobrigida, who said: “among our priorities, there is also the simplification of administrations, as part of an overall restructuring of the national agricultural information system”. And, on the subject of alcohol-free wines, his words are in line with the thinking of Independent Winegrowers: “we need to protect a product that has more than 3,000 years of history from the risk of confusion on the label. “You make a de-alcoholized wine and call it something else”, Lollobrigida explained.
Of great interest is the message sent by Jean-Marie Fabre, president of the Vignerons Indépendants de France, an organization that inspired the founders of Fivi: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who believed and worked tirelessly so that our movement, first in France, then in Europe, could take shape and grow. Today, more than ever, it is our collective responsibility to make the voice and positions of this model of family businesses, of small artisan businesses whose role in the sector is undeniable, heard. Our companies are formidable lungs of the EU economy, of our respective countries, of our territories, where our added value is critical in terms of jobs, development, tourist attraction, and, of course, direct and indirect economic activity. This production model, which draws on traditional savoir-faire and whose products embody Latin and Mediterranean culture, cannot be relocated. An ancient savoir-faire that is so contemporary as to be in line with the expectations of our society”.
Matilde Poggi, president of Cevi - Confederazione Europea dei Vignaioli Indipendenti, reaffirmed the following concepts: “in Cevi I find this strong identity of the Independent Winegrowers, shared by the 12,000 winegrowers who are part of it. A shared identity beyond our personal stories, production philosophies, and local traditions. An identity that grows and gives us the confidence to engage with European institutions as stakeholders, not just of our members, but of all independent European winemakers. Wine in Europe is facing many challenges, but unity is our strength, and our voice is being heard loud and clear, thanks to the support of Fivi, Cevi’s true backbone”.
The presence of Giancarlo Gariglio, curator of the Slow Wine Guide and first Fivi secretary, allowed us to travel back in time to 2008 when it all began thanks to the inspiration of Vignerons d’Europe, a Slow Food event held in Montpellier in 2027. Then there was Carlo Petrini, Slow Food founder, who, as previously stated, wanted to emphasize the association’s foresight in focusing attention on the work of the winemaker, and thus on the relationship between man and the earth and with the vine, fifteen years ago: “This is especially important at this time in history, given the challenges that climate change poses to humanity. I recommend that you implement a community philosophy within Fivi, based on the fundamental concepts of collaboration and sharing because the time for competition has passed. This is what Terra Madre is requesting”.
A wish and advice that represent both the success of the first 15 years and the beginning of a prosperous future. And, as with all significant anniversaries, something tangible and symbolic is required to commemorate them: and so the Fivi-Federazione Italiana Vignaioli Indipendenti logo was redesigned by its author, the graphic designer Pier Zuanon, always reinterpreting it in a “Deperian” key, but drawing it against the background of the number 15 with hand strokes that further emphasize the concept of craftsmanship that identifies Independent Winegrowers.

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