A revolution in winemaking

From the beginning of the 1980s we saw the first revolution in the wine world, when it was transformed from a foodstuff into a hedonistic product.

Now, in light of the profound transformations that have changed the system of its production worldwide, it’s time to rethink and rewrite the role of the winery.

Viticulture is among the largest consumers of fungicides and insecticides, and therefore responsible for pollution and damage to the biodiversity of flora (through the use of herbicides and desiccants) and fauna among the vine rows. In the most prestigious wine-growing areas grapevines have become a predominant monoculture, impoverishing the vitality of the soil and eradicating all the other, less-profitable agricultural products, as well as the fallow fields and woodlands that are essential for a healthy ecosystem.

The problems are numerous, profound and historic. If we want to create a virtuous revolution that completely transforms viticulture then we need a collective effort united by a desire for change among all those who love wine.

Wineries can commitments in three precise directions that will have a great impact both on agriculture and the way wine lovers view them.

The first is environmental sustainability, the second is landscape protection and last but not least, the social and cultural role that they can play in the areas they live and work in.

Slow Food, with its more than 30 years of experience in the world of wine at both the national and international level, has followed and in some cases encouraged these changes, and holds that this new role for wineries must be adopted and endorsed by wine lovers, professionals across the industry, governments and society at large.

From the Manifesto, to the Coalition, to the Slow Wine Fair

A solid starting point for this wide-ranging and international effort was provided with the presentation of the Slow Food Manifesto for good, clean and fair wine in Bologna in October 2020. These guidelines indicate a path forwards that wineries should take in order to transform themselves into the drivers of change mentioned above.

And so the international Slow Wine Coalition was born, made up of all the signatories of the Manifesto: its objective is to foster dialog among different wine-growing regions, to embolden its members and motivate them to take concrete actions that support winemakers in this process of growth and transformation, and to encourage them to take these important steps towards a greater awareness of their role with speed and consistency.

Slow Food has started a signature-collection campaign through the Manifesto at the international level; this is a preparatory step towards the meeting of all the active members of the network at the Slow Wine Fair, which will be held in Bologna from February 26 to March 1, 2022. This will be an opportunity to discuss the main points of the Manifesto and the role that grape cultivation and wine production can play in the development of an agriculture that’s sustainable and compatible with the challenges we face in the struggle against climate change.

In order to succeed in creating content and communicating it properly to the wider world the event in Bologna will also have three days of trade meetings with the general public and industry professionals.

Bologna will thus be the theater for an event which will gather over 1000 Italian and international wineries united by their spirit; one that promotes a new productive system in which wineries are drivers of sustainable development, defenders of the landscape and promoters of the social, cultural and economic growth of rural areas.

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