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Allegrini 2018
THE SPEECH

Towards the harvest, Assoenologi: “don’t panic, there is no alarm about excesses and the market”

Riccardo Cotarella: “there are wines more in difficulty, stocks are less than in 2019. Unjustified alarms that damage the producers”
ASSOENOLOGI, HARVEST, ITALY, RICCARDO COTARELLA, WINE, News
The President of Assoenologi Riccardo Cotarella

The harvest begins, and as has always been the case, the wine producers, this year more than ever, are keeping their feet firmly planted in the vineyard and their heads towards the wine market. And if the worries linked to the pandemic remain, at least the good news has arrived that in the USA, a strategic market for Italian wine, no new tariffs will be introduced on the Italian wine production. Also for this reason, while the first bunches have already been harvested, as already told by WineNews, from Sicily, where Settesoli, in Menfi, started the dances, and Franciacorta, one of the historical territories of Italian bubbles, it is right and proper to keep a high guard, without giving in to easy and unjustified alarmism.
This, at least, is the vision of Riccardo Cotarella, president of the Italian enologists. “As Assoenologi - he explains to WineNews Cotarella - we want to say loud and clear that we believe that the current situation is not such as to create unfounded alarm, and not supported by the reality of the facts. It is not true that we do not know where to put the wine. Several factors say so. The stocks in the cellar, on the whole, between wines, musts and fermenting wines, at the end of July 2020 are lower than those of July 2019, and we must count what will go to distillation, and what will not be produced as a result of the green harvest, and in any case we are talking about important quantities. Especially in those Regions where the Region has chosen to add its economic contribution to that established by the Ministry of Agriculture. Our harvest forecasts will be released on 23-24 August, but I would say that, in general, we expect a harvest on average with the last few years, in the norm, quantitatively. Considering all this, not only we are not pessimistic, but we also have a minimum of optimism that comes from another aspect: the current situation, despite the closure of 2/3 months of the Italian and foreign markets, especially in the catering sector - where overall wine consumption has not collapsed, at least in quantity, editor's note - shows us that wine has a special feeling with the consumer, even if it is not a necessary good, it is a good for the mind and the pleasure of the senses, otherwise it is not explained that this dark period of the market has not affected the cellar stocks. Of course there are wines that suffer more, others less, but we do not approve certain alarmisms, not only because they do not reflect the truth of the facts, but also because they hit the most important link in the wine chain that are the producers, who would be penalized in the value of their wines by alarms not supported by reality, we want to make it clear to the producers, out of respect for the truth and their work.
A clear message, with Riccardo Cotarella also looking to the future: “we are certain, very certain, that at the end of this nightmare, which we hope will be near, wine will be the primary element of the humoral rebirth, of life, of sharing, of mutual support of mankind, and so let us approach the harvest with this spirit, which is not blind optimism, but analysis of the facts, certain that wine has overcome other difficult moments like this one, and that from each rebirth it has been able to get the best out of both quality and image”.
As far as the quality of the harvest is concerned, however, it is not possible and serious to take a position to date, explains the president of the Italian enologists.
“We will come out with precise and detailed forecasts in the last decade of August, our sections are “human sensors”, because the winemaker visits the vineyard daily and has the real pulse of quality and quantity. We wait to make forecasts too early, because as we know, a climatic phenomenon is enough to change the cards on the table.
As said, although with many differences from zone to zone, we think that the quantity is in line with that of 2019, the quality as we have been saying for years is unpredictable, it is like a trio to the lot. We should not talk about regions, but about territories and companies, it is enough to change the exposure of a vineyard and the quality changes. We cannot talk, as others do, about a quality that is always exceptional or very good. It's true, Italy guarantees production of exceptional quality, but this is also thanks to the work of the enologists who deal with climate change, but we cannot make general evaluations”.
Finally, a consideration, on one of the issues that in this pandemic era grape harvest is holding firm: the lack of manpower in the vineyard. “It is a real problem, especially in those territories and vineyards where mechanical harvesting is not possible, and where, in any case, the highest quality is sought, which manual operations help greatly to achieve. There is a great lack of foreign labor, which arrives every year from countries like Romania, which at the moment are in great difficulty on the COVID front”.

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