Simple yet difficult

Two adjacent Nebbiolo vineyards in the municipality of Serralunga d’Alba; I don’t think comment is necessary …

Just recently, elections were held for the new board of governors for the Consorzio del Barolo. After giving them my congratulations,  I would like to ask them what they think of these photos, which I took in late April in the famous vineyards of the Barolo zone.

I think that we need to speed up the process of implementing the responsible cultivation of vineyards in our area. We all know that the future will be more sustainable only if we do not use chemicals for weeding under the rows and do not use systemic treatments, and this must be the minimum for considering ourselves within norms. Why don’t we set an example and anticipate the legislators? Barolo will be Barolo, only if it is the result of responsible agriculture. Some of you will say, the little producers can do it, but for the big ones it will be hard. To that I respond, a small step (which I consider to be a big leap) has already been taken by Fontanafredda, Fontodi, etc., and so yes, it can be done. There have been biodistricts in Tuscany for years. Why do we, in the Barolo zone, always have to arrive late in the game? Before thinking about the fairs and tastings that we are by now well-skilled at organising by ourselves, thanks to our own abilities and European contributions, let’s think about protecting the Barolo brand out in the world and engaging in intelligent territorial marketing.

When we Barolo producers are out travelling around the world, I have the impression that we are envied by producers of other denominations, as if we represent a priori excellence. Can we start acting like leaders instead of like cautious, “bugianen” (local dialect for ‘indolent’ or ‘stubborn’) Piedmontese?

And what kind of example are we setting for the tourists who come to visit us? Glyphosate in the year 2013? Are you kidding? Go read up on what glyphosate actually does. I am not an extremist, and nor do I think that everyone should become biodynamic or similar, but certainly setting some restrictions that provide an example should be the minimum. The Italian Registered and Certified Designation of Origin labels are ridiculous, we make a show of seriousness with restrictions turned in the direction of respect for the environment.  In Italy, there aren’t many examples because there isn’t much courage or awareness.  Above all, even though it won’t be easy, we must ignore the politicians and politics: we need to look out for the future ourselves, the others will follow us. Let’s respect the territory, the only thing that will save us from the global crisis.