What Price?

An autumn of price rises, an autumn marked by a leap in bread and pasta prices. Is it now the agricultural sector’s turn to become everyone’s favorite whipping boy? And what about wine? What is it doing in this crazy commotion where raw material prices are going sky high?

It is a complex matter because in recent years the gap has widened between the most highly regarded terroirs and those considered second or third class. With the 2007 harvest, a kilo of Nebbiolo grapes from Barolo fetched the same price as 10 kilos of Dolcetto: it is an economically unsustainable situation and doesn’t have much justification given that the efforts of the vineyard worker are much the same.

The consumer and the market probably do not have the means to discover the quality and characteristics of less celebrated terroirs and native varieties—faced with an increasingly complex supply of wines, help is needed.

There are, for example, producers who make Grignolinos with massive personality and commendable respect for terroir, but the same applies to Tocai, Soave, Verdicchio and many other varieties.

One of the Slow Food movement’s aims has been to give proper recognition to wines that meet rigorous quality criteria at a reasonable price. In principle it seemed a tough challenge but has been amply achieved.

On Saturday October 27 the seventh edition of the Guida al Vino Quotidiano (Guide to Everyday Wines) listing 5000 labels costing less than eight euros was presented in Turin.

It covers a vast range of products from all parts of the country: the publication clearly aims to make the public aware of the many small producers who normally struggle to gain access to the wine market.

A fascinating picture of Italian wine emerges. It does not include the famous names, which are ruled out due to price, but is rich in biodiversity. In listing almost forgotten varieties and little known terroirs, the guide invites wine lovers to discover what authentic treasures the Italian winescape can offer.

Everyday wine is a possible new cultural and social phenomenon of the future.

First printed in La Stampa on November 4, 2007

Adapted by Ronnie Richards

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