The oenology sector has grown over the years and moved towards a process of professionalization, bringing the value of this sector up to 14 billion Euros, 5.5 billion regarding export alone. This is precisely why, like all other mature sectors in the wine and food industry, the oenology sector has to deal with counterfeiting, a market within the market. It was therefore necessary to act on the legislative front, through controls on the supply chain to safeguard the companies that operate respecting the rules. Consequently, efforts were made to improve the control system, which resulted in overlapping functions and a multiplication of responsible entities, which have from time to time congested the system. Finally, the approval of the consolidated act on viticulture and wine production sets a change of direction, aiming to simplify the rules, cutting the costs to obtain certifications without cutting down on the control system. Will this be a step forward? We asked the question to Giuseppe Liberatore, director of the “Consorzio del Chianti Classico”. “The regulation is the result of two and a half years of work and the wine industry was directly involved in drafting a legislative proposal that could be approved by Parliament. There was the need to rationalize all the different rules. And, I must say that for once there was full harmony. So much so, that the legislative proposal was acquired in its entirety by the committee of the Chamber of Deputies, although another different proposal also emerged and it was necessary to find a synthesis to avoid a conflict. In the end however the result has been positive”.
What are the keys points in this regulation? “First of all, article 1 recognizes that wine is a patrimony worthy of protection. Another important passage is the implementation of the will to reduce the level of bureaucracy, for example the paper records that today need to be kept in wine cellars and where all operations are annotated. From the first of January this can be replaced by a computerized record, which will speed operations up. When fully working, each operator will see the situation of his wine cellar on video and this will allow easier controls ”.
What will change regarding controls? “A lot will change. Until now, multiple entities responsible for control could show up at the winery at the same moment, each one with its own objective. With the new regulation only one entity will show up and if different responsibilities are involved, the entities will be required to find an agreement on which one of them will perform all the activities, also on behalf of the others”.
The regulation also includes specific changes concerning labelling. “Certainly. The new regulation will avoid the State monopoly on labels, which until now produced them exclusively. The doors have also been opened to other agencies, that however will not be able to subcontract the work and will have to present a tracking record of all the different stages. I do not think that these agencies will be more than four or five in number, but this will be enough to significantly reduce the costs borne by the companies, which today is around 9 Euros for every thousand pieces, but even more if the labels are personalized. It will also be possible to choose whether to utilize them or not, at least for the DOC and the IGT, while the labels will remain mandatory for the DOCG”.
Will this not significantly change the aesthetics of the bottles? “Let’s say that if the costs were to be reduced, the DOC will usually continue to use the labels, which remain a reference for the market, and there will be no need to study other alternatives”.
What will change with regards to sanctions? “There are very positives aspects. Injunctions and voluntary repentances have been included, in order to avoid penalizing those who had been heavily fined for mere material errors. Sanctions for frauds have been kept, as is right”.