Allegrini 2018

“Wine, act fast. And let this be a turning point in bureaucracy.” Piero Antinori’s appeal

The virtual forum, signed Assoenologi, with Minister Bellanova: “we work on many measures, but the decisions of the Government are collegial”
Marchese Piero Antinori

“In the United States, the government has given funds to agricultural enterprises, equal to the cost of personnel for two months. A mortgage, which becomes a subsidy if you can prove, over the next two months, that you have maintained employment levels unchanged”. This was said by Piero Antinori, one of the great names in Italian wine and the leader of the country’s first private winery. “I called my counterpart in France, to adopt a joint position: 30 million euros allocated by the EU to help farms are very few, even if they become 80, as it seems. We closed an agreement with the Regions for voluntary distillation, to be financed with 50 million euros taken from European funds. We are talking about voluntary distillation for PDO and PGI, but also for table wines - among the ideas also put forward by Assoenologi, “as long as it is followed by the reduction of yields”, or like green harvest, “which, however, is controlled there’s no one trying to break the rules”, recalled Cotarella -, and I propose to allocate 100 million euros to this measure. Let’s talk with the Ministry of Economy and the Government, because then the decisions will be taken in a collegial way, we’ll see”. Words from the Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Bellanova. On the one hand, the speed of intervention and decisions that, for better or worse, become concrete, on the other a policy that, considering the declared will of the individual Minister in question, for better or for worse, lives on announcements, mediations, decrees to be published and then explained and so on, with the immediacy of the interventions, and the need for their rapid effectiveness that, as these times demonstrate, remains only on paper, so much so that “to date, throughout Italy, only 57,000 people have had access to the Cassa Integrazione”, recalled the journalist and wine producer, Bruno Vespa.
This is the extreme synthesis of the reflections coming from the virtual “round table” broadcast on Facebook by the Italian oenologists, led by Riccardo Cotarella, where voices of business and communication, together with Minister Bellanova, alternated. That on the possible non-refundable measures mentioned in view of the “April Decree”, even though we are now in May, and on others, such as the extension of fiscal deadlines by one year, explained: “I am working with the Ministry of Economy and Finance on measures that must meet the needs. There are horizontal ones for all businesses, but there is a big issue: many people say that the agricultural sector has been in activity and does not need intervention, but it is not so, the sector has guaranteed normality and food for all, but there is a piece of the supply chain where the highest quality is conveyed, for wine and not only, and it is that of catering, hotels, wine shops, which is stopped. And this, together with the export stop, has caused great suffering: we must intervene now, but also in view of the recovery. Italy, must continue to be the luxury food of the world, because in the low quality, in the price war, we are losers. This is also why I have asked ICE to make a greater effort for the communication campaign of Made in Italy, but also for this we need more resources. We need targeted interventions, at this time politics must also be able to choose who to help”.
But the real help, for today and the future, as Piero Antinori pointed out once again, is a real bureaucratic simplification. “I appreciate the Minister’s intentions, this personal commitment. But I would like to make an observation: any measure that will be implemented by the Government will be welcome. It is good to talk about a medium and long term strategy, the promotion will be very important because the risk of losing market share gained in 50 years of hard work is a crime. But I appeal: the agricultural sector, and not only that, has an absolute need for simplification, and I believe that the pandemic may be an opportunity for a historic commitment, for an epoch-making revision of the bureaucratic administrative model that is overwhelming us, is a precondition for the effectiveness of all measures. There has been a lot of talk about simplification, but it has been on the agenda of every government for 30 years, and not only has it been successful, but things have become more and more complicated. We have to do it, especially small companies can no longer do it. We entrepreneurs feel a bit like insects in a sticky web. If we take advantage of this opportunity to solve the root of the problem and modernize the country, this situation will not have been entirely negative”.
A message about everyone, while looking at China that is starting again, “especially through digitization, which is one of the keys to overtaking the wines of Australia over France, considering the advantageous tax regime,” recalled Silvana Ballotta of Business Strategies, but also to “support tourism and wine tourism, sectors among the most affected because today among the motivations to travel in Italy, wine and quality food are worth more than art and culture because Brunello today beats Colosseum,” said provocatively Donatella Cinelli Colombini, producer with Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and pioneer of the Movimento del Turismo del Vino. And, again, while looking at a new communication of wine, smarter but of quality, the critic Luca Gardini and the journalist Luciano Ferraro of the “Corriere Della Sera” recalled. While from the world of distribution, a concrete proposal comes from the voice of Daniele Colombo, wine & spirit manager of Esselunga: “the wine, which on the whole has been on sale, pays 22% VAT. Increasing it to 4%, for example, for the period of emergency, would help producers, distributors, and consumers”. But an ad hoc decree would be needed, be discussed, mediated, published, clarified, applied. And perhaps, then, it would be faster to find a vaccine for the Coronavirus.

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