Allegrini 2018

Wine must preserve the environment, and support the whole local community: the “vision” of Morellino

From “Rosso Morellino 2022”, the message of Consortium and producers, who work compactly for their territory, between production and tourism

A new productive impetus and all the richness of a territory (from the sea to art, from spas to winery tourism) that is a candidate to become among the most interesting wine tourism destinations in Tuscany, discovering the different interpretations of Sangiovese of Maremma: here is Morellino di Scansano, a vital DOCG, which is trying to turn the national and international difficulties of recent years and the climate crisis into an opportunity for innovation, thanks to a still partly unexpressed potential, focusing on sustainability and precision viticulture, wine tourism and foreign markets in which to make known a “little treasure chest” of wine with an eye to the smaller and more fragile realities. Thus, from the talk show “Rosso Morellino 2022”, in Scansano, in recent days, where wine is the medium to preserve the environment, and support the whole local community, in the “vision” of the #Consortium and the #producers, who work compactly for their #territory.
“Linking a product to its territory means having a star striker who makes the whole team grow: this is true promotion, which brings wealth to the whole community, not just one company or one wine. And in Scansano you are succeeding”, captured the Councillor for Agriculture and Vice President of the Tuscany Region, Stefania Saccardi. And the councilor’s metaphor is fitting, because every communication from the talk show “Rosso Morellino 2022” (moderated by Lorenzo Tersi at the head of LT Wine & Food Advisory) remarked on how much the ongoing projects in which the more than 40 members of the Consortium participate are aimed at preserving and raising awareness of a small, healthy appellation full of breathtaking views. Starting from wine tourism to water management, from precision viticulture to the development of foreign markets: every collective effort today is directed at transforming the national and international difficulties of recent years and the climate crisis into an opportunity for innovation with a focus on the smallest and most fragile realities. Because we must not forget that sustainability rests on three fundamental and interconnected pillars: the environmental, the social and the economic.
The numbers of the Consorzio del Morellino di Scansano, for starters, are more than positive (taking into account the context in which the whole world is facing from 2020): in 2021 there were 9,200,000 bottles produced with the DOCG label, with a production value of about 51 million euros, 80% distributed in Italy and the remaining share mainly in countries such as the United States of America, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. In the modern distribution channels, Morellino di Scansano recorded volume growth of 5.3 percent, as well as in value, with +6.7 percent thanks to a 1.2 percent increase in average price. The trend in bulk wine also notes a continuous rise since 2019, with the price per hectoliter of Morellino di Scansano Docg hitting 330 euros in 2022: a 47 percent increase over the previous year.
Positioning in the foreign and Italian horeca channel is excellent and the presence on restaurant wine lists is increasing. 1,500 hectares of vines for 216 producers and demand that, in the last two years, has exceeded supply: however minor, the appellation proves to carry high in the world the name of a region with a strong vocation for wine and strongly represented in foreign markets like Tuscany. Or, at any rate, the president of the Morellino Consortium, Bernardo Guicciardini Calamai, is optimistic, “because we resemble those small casket appellations that even abroad have been successful in the long run. We are a hidden gem of the Maremma, compact and vital, growing steadily and gradually, which must keep its attention high. On rising prices, for example - caused by the increase in raw materials, energy and speculation - which is difficult to transfer to a channel like Horeca. So we need to hold on, focusing on direct sales, including through the web, or developing the foreign market more. And then by networking with the territory: because wine tourism is a resource that can bring well-being to all and develop different economies in cascade”.
Scansano, Campagnatico, Montiano, Pereta, Montorgiali, Roccalbegna, Magliano in Toscana, Semproniano, Manciano, Rocchette di Fazio, and Montemerano; the Etruscan ruins of Ghiaccio Forte and the Roman ruins of Villa Aia Nova; the Scansano Archaeological Museum, the Abbey of San Bruzio and the Castle of Montepò; and Saturnia and its hot springs. Morellino di Scansano covers 65,000 hectares that touch the sea to the west and the mountains to the east and contains villages and vineyards, woods and spas, gentle slopes and expanses of fields.
“A remarkable and to most unknown wealth that the Consortium has decided to promote, making itself the director of a wine tourism destination program, channeled into the visitmorellino.com website. Clearly starting from the wineries”, specifies the Consortium’s director, Alessio Durazzi, “to involve all the players in the area: spas, restaurants, hotels, bike tours and trekking on foot or on horseback, which tourists can plan and book directly from the site or from the phone app, new this year”. This is the social sustainability part, which serves to reduce the trend of depopulation, lack of services and inconvenience, which inevitably faces those who decide to live in the countryside rather than in the city. But for this to happen, it is essential that this tourism is deseasonalized and that the climate problems that this area also faces be solved: such as the water crisis.
From this perspective, academia has long been involved in finding answers to the climate challenges that have been ongoing for some years now. From the Equalitas certification to the “Morellino Green” project (which has networked the entire territory with electric charging stations to enable an eco-sustainable mobility experience via car or bike), the Consortium is striving to preserve the scenic beauty that ultimately flows into a quality wine. “From rootstocks capable of resisting water stress, to soil balance to precision viticulture: every action we take to pay attention to the environmental context is only reflected in the peculiarities of the grapes and the aromas they develop. And this is, after all, what binds a wine to the land from which it comes”, say Professor Claudio D'Onofrio and researcher Giovanni Caruso of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Agri-Environmental Sciences at the University of Pisa. Precision viticulture helps in this sense: not to remove the producer from the vineyard by over-digitization, but to enable him to interpret an incredible amount of data from a complex system as is the vineyard and its pedo-climatic context. A system that collects, processes and makes otherwise hidden information readable.
A system that is sustainable from these three pivotal points -economic, social and environmental-has a difficult life, however, if it is not adequately supported by the public agencies that regulate common life. Not only declined in economic supports, but in forms of collaboration that can facilitate the resolution of old and new or cyclical problems. “The massive arrival of public and European funds (such as those of the Pac or the very current Recovery Fund) always alarms the Guardia di Finanza, because they attract illicit infiltration that can bring smaller and more fragile realities to their knees, especially in vast and sparsely populated territories like the Tuscan Maremma. The 110 suspicious reports received in 2021”, recounts Colonel Cesare Antuofermo, Commander of Grosseto, “also involved the oil and wine sector. Extortion and racketeering did not specifically concern the Tuscan Maremma, but law enforcement agencies do not let their guard down and also cooperate closely with the Consortium, in case of extortion from the dark web, for example”.
Bureaucracy can also bring to its knees (or discourage the start-up of) agricultural activities. The state, the European Union and regional and local governments must therefore make it easier for companies and associations that want to change and innovate, especially in the area of “sustainability”, because in 2022 it is now unavoidable from any national or European regulation or support. “We can simplify the paperwork for agrisolar, incentivize not only in words the recovery of abandoned areas or finally resolve the unsurpassed diatribe between desirable wild grazing and the problem of ungulates. Politicians often have a partial view of reality”, concludes Stefania Saccardi, Councillor for Agriculture and Vice President of the Region of Tuscany, “and do not realize that today companies are struggling even to co-finance investment calls. If we really want to overcome this complicated moment together, today we must have only one goal: not to waste this difficult phase”.

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