Allegrini 2018

Wine sustainability? It is achieved with a multidisciplinary, not “holistic”, approach

At the conference, organized by the Vittorio and Mariella Moretti Foundation, in the cSantissima Annunciata Convent, in Franciacorta

The wine sector is at a turning point: the shift from a generic commitment to environmental protection to sustainability declined in its three pillars - environmental, social and economic - that is measurable and defined by certification. The implementation of innovations to make precision viticulture, upcoming research acquisitions and opportunities for certification, will be key: these are the messages coming from the Conference “Innovation at the Service of Sustainability - A Virtuous Link for the Future of Viticulture”, which marked the resumption of the public activities of the Vittorio and Mariella Moretti Foundation at the Santissima Annunciata Convent in Rovato, Franciacorta, where the Moretti Foundation is based.
“By habit, I have always wanted to share knowledge with others”, said Vittorio Moretti, in his greeting, “and this meeting, dedicated to how innovation can serve sustainability, is meant to be an open table of comparison and discussion among technicians, professors, producers, and government agencies. I am convinced that the territory does not exist except in the sign of plurality. On those of us who live and work within it and on our capacity for dialogue and open-mindedness, its future depends. There are many challenges and opportunities ahead of us. The way of conducting the vineyard can be a virtuous example that, like wine already, directs and guides toward a healthy lifestyle. All technological investments must be considered in the light of sustainability. In their “doing business”, companies have a responsibility to identify how technology can enable new consumption, business and market models so that the products and services they offer are respectful of the three dimensions of sustainable development: ecological (planet), economic (profit) and social (people)”, And if, as Attilio Scienza, professor of viticulture at the University of Milan and creator of the meeting, pointed out, “cultural initiatives are salt even for viticulture and give stimuli to move forward in research and its application”.
But the point, for viticulture, Science explains, is “to ensure sustainability, environmental, economic and social, with all the tools made available by knowledge and research by applying precision viticulture (reducing energy and chemical inputs, maintaining biodiversity, work ethics). To solve complexity, we must replace the holistic approach with a multidisciplinary one. We have guiltily confused organic, which has had the great merit of turning the spotlight on the issue, with sustainability tout court: in New Zealand, 96% of vineyards have obtained sustainability certification and only 10% of wineries have organic certification. In Trentino, almost all wineries adhere to Sqnpi sustainability protocols and only 15% wineries are organic. Sustainability should not only be seen with respect to pest management, treatments, fertilizers and residues, as prescribed by organic viticulture, but must refer to a broader project that also places attention on other aspects including training and communication to winemakers. It is not a matter of a “mark” then, but a tool for recognition and proper management of good practices and production processes. A decisive path to be able to propose to the market with a “brand” that certifies the good agricultural and oenological practices carried out on the farm”.
It is within this framework that the Vittorio and Mariella Moretti Foundation is moving, and its activities aim to popularize and at the same time put into practice in the Group’s estates-the Franciacorta wineries Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi, Petra in Suvereto, Teruzzi in San Gimignano, and Tenuta La Badiola in Maremma, all in Tuscany, and Sella & Mosca in Sardinia-the implementation of innovation. The goal is to arrive at a 4.0 platform for the integrated management of all data to better manage all vineyard operations for the enhancement of farm terroirs, rationalization of resource use, defense of soil integrity and its biodiversity with the use of self-driving robots for treatments and the calculation of environmental “footprints”. On the research front, always for the reduction of synthetic chemical inputs, the Foundation has committed to co-finance the development of interfering Rna to be used for in-field defense in place of pesticides and the creation of quality resistant vines for sparkling winemaking, as well as new rootstocks.
With the knowledge that we are on the brink of a real revolution thanks to research acquisitions and the application of the latest innovations: from small, autonomously guided robots-which will be able to be used in disparate operations, from treatments to harvesting-to the alternative substances and strategies to copper that will materialize in the medium term, to the analysis of the effects of its accumulation in the soil. Still, from the prospect of “chemistry-free” defense opened by the use of interfering Rna (this is a natural mechanism by which fragments of Rna - dsRNA, double-strand Rna - “turn off” the expression of a target gene, in this case the gene that presides over disease susceptibility, ed.), to obtaining resistant varieties, passing through a more refined knowledge of the relationships between plant and soil through the roots, to the effects of soil biodiversity even on musts. Speakers (moderated by journalist Giorgio dell’Orefice, “Il Sole 24 Ore”) such as Diego Tomasi of the Research Center for Viticulture in Conegliano, Ilaria Pertot of the University of Trento, Marco Signorini, a doctoral student at the Free University of Bolzano, Riccardo Velasco of the Council for Research in Agriculture at the Viticulture and Enology Research Center, Gabriella De Lorenzis of the University of Milan, Sergio Savaresi of the Milan Polytechnic, and Luca Toninato, vice president of Enogis, discussed the topic.
“The Vittorio and Mariella Moretti Foundation”, Attilio Scienza stressed, “is a “generator”, meaning it has a role in stimulating and inspiring new models for the development of our Western civilization and society. We are in an era of transition, ecological and environmental, at a difficult time when society is changing its skin and becoming something it was not before. The “generators” are people, ideas and initiatives that produce change. In the future, this action will be of the public and private together”. Who will also have to work on an issue of sustainability that will be confirmed as a key element for the viticulture of the future, also considering the challenge launched by the post-2020 CAP, geared toward environmental protection and climate change mitigation. The second part of the meeting, moderated by Luigino Disegna with Luigino Disegna, was dedicated to the Disciplinare di certificazione nazionale della sostenibilità della filiera vitivinicola (National Certification Specifications for the Sustainability of the Wine Supply Chain), approved on March 16, and to the sustainability protocols - Equalitas and SOStain - on which the evolution of the Sqnpi (Sistema di Qualità Nazionale della Produzione Integrata) standard is based, Stefano Stefanucci director of Equalitas, Giulietta De Biasi of Valoritalia, Alessio Planeta, at the helm of the family winery and representative of the Sostain Sicilia Foundation, Luca Rigotti president of the Mezzacorona Group, Alessio Gragnoli, agronomist and director of Teruzzi in San Gimignano, and Giovanni Pinna, oenologist and director of Sella & Mosca in Alghero. The decree, which is particularly eagerly awaited by all those involved in the sector, systematizes the best practices and experiences conducted in the field of sustainability in the wine sector. For the year 2022, certification will be initiated using the procedures and standards provided by the National Quality System for Integrated Production (Sqnpi), pending the completion of the integration process of the different systems, to be completed in 2023.

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