INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE

The+Daily+Telegraph+3Today I would like to discuss an article that appeared on La Prima of www.WineNews.it .

Let me quote the text: “This reflection stems from a survey of British citizens conducted by the ‘Daily Telegraph’. Which, following questions about wine and grape varieties, revealed a level of ignorance that might seem puzzling to the “princes of wine production”, but which really isn’t. If 58% of the subjects interviewed think that Chablis is a grape and 57% believe that Beaujolais is a grape variety, it isn’t society’s fault, nor that of politics nor of a wicked fate. We might think that, if someone wants to produce wine to sell on the market, consumers should be educated, with precise training. Not at the point of purchase, but at the point of consumption: To shape knowledge and awareness of their choices. Why not talk about this?”

I am in complete agreement with the proposal put forth by the author of this article. But at the same time, I know that it can only remain a utopic ideal. The statistical reality revealed by this accurate English poll would find an unhappy parallel here in Italy, a country with a centuries-old tradition of wine production.

Given my own experience, I would wager that a survey of this same kind carried out in the Belpaese would not yield very different results. How many consumers would know that Barolo is obtained from Nebbiolo grapes, as with Barbaresco? And how many know which grape is used to produce Brunello di Montalcino?

Certainly, Italian legislation does not facilitate communication on either the national or international level, in that many regulators permit neither clear specification of the grapes used nor that of the exact provenance of a wine, and the consumer can easily lose himself in a labyrinth of captions and notations that are not easy to interpret.

What’s more, if we also add that the president of the Region of Piedmont, Roberta Cota, a few days ago sustained that it would be an excellent idea to use the dialect name for Barolo, Bareu, in the next American promotional campaign, we are all set.

Truth be told, I must say that it often happens that even those who work in the sector, whether due to ignorance or superficiality, do not help clarify things for the final consumer. It is in fact not difficult to pick up a restaurant’s wine list and find the wines listed according to strange criteria, some with the correct name and correct geographical notation, others with only the name of the vineyard, and still others with a made-up name assigned by the producer of the wine.

All that is left to do is hope that the Education Minister, Gelmini, will announce plans to institute an obligatory course in the fundamentals of wine.