Official Response To Soldera Interview By The Consorzio Del Vino Brunello di Montalcino

The following text was published on the website of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino.

The Consorzio del Brunello di Montalcino considers the statements made by Gianfranco Soldera in the Corriere della Sera today, extremely detrimental to producers and to the territory in general, and would like to clarify its position with regard to these unfounded accusations in order to avoid further slander that damages Montalcino and the image of Brunello in the world.

To begin with the proposal by the President of the Consorzio to donate to Case Basse the “wine of solidarity” with a bottle and a label different to the normal one now deemed “unacceptable and offensive, a fraud for the consumer”, yet yesterday it was pronounced worthy of “our heartfelt gratitude”. The Consorzio emphasizes that it was meant as a symbolic gesture of solidarity since at the time, according to his own assertions, it was believed that his entire production had been wiped out by the act of vandalism and that with the income he would be able to make a donation to the kindergarten or to the old people’s home. Now we find out that this is not the case (Soldera has announced that there are 7000 bottles per vintage), but the significance of this gesture of solidarity remains and we find it offensive that it should be seen as a fraud.

The reason for this is also that this act and all the inferences fomented by it are considerably damaging to the image of Brunello and its territory, while at the same time they continue to guarantee a media platform of visibility for the victim who keeps on making unfounded accusations.

The same applies to the idea that has been formulated according to which the Consorzio does not want to carry out research since it decided to invest 150 000 € engaging the biggest wine research centre in Italy, the Edmund Mach foundation in San Michele all’Adige. The research was developed along three branches: the development of methods that look into the DNA; the study of the anthocyans to establish the varietal origin, and the research of stable isotopes that enable the tracing of the geographic origin of Brunello wine. After several in depth considerations Dr. Stella Grando, the head of genetics at the Istituto di San Michele all’Adige, confirmed that the DNA method on which Soldera is so insistent, is not applicable since the results are not reproducible and can not be counted on for establishing the purity of a wine, as the combinations of DNA can not be accurately quantified. This prevents a dependable and widespread control of the whole production.

As for the “multiplication of bread and fish and no territory” we want to make it clear that in an area of 24,000 hectares, vineyards cover only 15%. Moreover it should be pointed out that since the year 2006 the Montalcino producers have of their own accord reduced the production per hectare of their Brunello, from 80 to 70 quintals and later from 70 to 60 quintals in 2011 in view of a further improvement in the quality.

We will not go into the fact that the reasons for the sentence and the motivation of the act of vandalism are not convincing but we reiterate that what emerged from the inquest clearly points to the absence of any connection between the act and the territory and according to the investigation the act was the result of a situation totally dependent on problems connected to the estate itself.

Most importantly we feel the need to repeat once more for the sake of clarity and the peace of mind of Gianfranco Soldera that, contrary to what he thinks, nobody in this territory and even less in the Consorzio has ever spoken of anything other than 100% Sangiovese, which is what the Rules require and what we all respect.

Since 1967 we have been following the compliance of the regulations, the controls and the research. Whoever talks of something else or of fraud without any proof, deeply offends the territory, the community and the producers, our common heritage that is Montalcino and its Brunello, with the sole aim of enhancing his own image by trampling on the territory and on the other producers.

We therefore welcome with pleasure the words of the Mayor of Montalcino Silvio Franceschelli, according to whom “at this time particularly we must value the territory and the entrepreneurial heritage that it expresses, a veritable excellence in the international panorama. If anyone uses the visibility offered by Brunello to enhance only himself at the expense of the territory, whoever he may be, should be condemned without hesitation”.

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