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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 79, November 2009   
A New Wine Law Coming SoonA New Wine Law Coming Soon  Contents 
Issue 78, October 2009 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 80, December 2009

A New Wine Law Coming Soon


 Last August has been introduced the so called new European CMO reform (Common Market Organization) concerning, as it is commonly known, the world of wine. Despite the many debates this reform has arisen - in particular from the main European wine making countries such as Italy, France and Spain - the reform is now in force and therefore the laws of any single country must acknowledge the new directive by adapting or updating the national laws in force. Of course, also Italy will adopt this new reform and therefore they will proceed with the appropriate changes and adaptations. There have been many points of this reform to be cause of perplexity in the world of wine, including the possibility of adding sugar to grape juice and the production of dealcoholized wine, that is by removing part of the alcohol by means of specific procedures.


 

 A reform that - in the words of the Italian ministry of agricultural politics Mr. Luca Zaia - «Italy did not agree, although we had to acknowledge it» and therefore it will require an adaptation of national laws regulating viticulture and wine making. There are many, in the world of Italian wine, to believe Italy did not so much, in the European parliament, to support its ideas and positions, as opposed to what has been successful in doing France, for example. No matter of the recriminations of the “day after”, the CMO reform is now in force and then there is now only one thing to do and to which we cannot oppose - with the exception of few points - that is to proceed with its acknowledgment. For this reason, at the end of September, the Italian minister of agricultural politics has issued his proposal for changing law n° 164 of February 10th, 1992 - in short, law 164/1992 - the law being at the base and regulating viticulture and wine making in Italy.

 The plan of the minister is to have this law proposal approved within six months, a period in which will be scheduled meetings with producers and the associations involved in wine making. Law 164/1992 regulates the Italian quality system, that is sets, among the many things, the essential points for determining the areas of Denomination of Origin. This law, which has certainly been important in developing and improving the quality of wines in Italy, has always been subject of criticism by many producers. There are many to believe, although it defines the fundamental criteria of quality according to law, it indeed allows different applications with a broad possibility of adaptation of the requisites according to the many circumstances and to make a perfectly legal wine but however distant from the concept of objective quality. Like to say once we have the law, we have to find a way to legally break it.

 There certainly are many to remember the choice of some producers who, by seeing their wines compared to others of evident lower quality, but belonging to the same category of quality set by law, declassified their wines to a lower legal quality. Many producers in the past decided to exclude their wines from the categories DOC (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata, Denomination of Controlled Origin) and DOCG (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita, Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) and to include them in the more generic and, according to a legal point of view, inferior IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica, Typical Geographic Indication). Moreover, many chose for their wines the lowest and the most generic of the categories provided for the Italian quality system: Table Wines. It is not so difficult to agree with these producers' decisions: by seeing the results the law allows to get, it is frequently embarrassing to compare some wines having the legal title of belonging to a certain denomination with other analogue wines and belonging to the same denomination.

 Let's make things clear: this is not a position contrary or against Italy and its wine law, it simply is something proven by facts. And it should also be said in other countries things, concerning the regulation and production of wine, is certainly worst than Italy: in certain countries laws regulating the production of wine are - in the best cases - useless, permissive and vague. This does not however mean things cannot be improved for the real interest of quality, last but not the least, of consumers (who, we should not forget, they are the ones really making a market), instead of clearly favoring the commercial and economical interests of producers and corporations, interests which are legitimate and understandable. In case we consider the current list of wines and areas belonging to denomination of quality in Italy (41 DOCGs, 316 DOCs, 120 IGTs) many of them are pretty disputable, they seem to be more a title determined by an obscure and speculative political logic, instead of something based on the real quality of the territory and its wine.

 That we must safeguard traditions and typical wines of Italy, we all agree on that, there is no doubt about this. Every region, every smallest area of this country has traditional and typical wines and agricultural products. However, this does not mean every tradition and every typical product implicitly expresses quality. Anyway, quality is - just like morality and legality - first of all, a presupposition consciously adopted by the ones who want to follow it, the result and the awareness of a culture. A law, alone, will never set real quality, but it however can define the fundamental factors which must be adopted in order to get it. In the next months Italy will change its wine law by adapting it to the new CMO reform and - like we said - a proposal has already been released. We are sure the minister of agricultural politics will work in the interest of Italy and the safeguarding of its wines. Anyway, as they are working on that, why don't they make the law and the many production disciplinary more concrete and less vague, by limiting the possibilities the same old smart ones use in order to speculate on denominations and against the interests of us all? Also this does mean working for quality, for the safeguarding of traditions and typical products, concepts so dear to Italians, most of the times in words only and not in facts.

 




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  Editorial Issue 79, November 2009   
A New Wine Law Coming SoonA New Wine Law Coming Soon  Contents 
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