Prosecco.it — Conegliano Valdobbiadene

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The historic heart of Prosecco, Conegliano Valdobbiadene, bans the use of glyphosate in its vineyards

The Consorzio of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG has forbidden the use of glyphosate in their vineyards, making it the largest wine zone in Europe to ban the usage of this substance. The ruling was the outcome of several years of research and discussion between the Consorzio that represents the wine producers, and the 15 local councils of the region.
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The Consorzio of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG has forbidden the use of glyphosate in their vineyards, making it the largest wine zone in Europe to ban the usage of this substance. The ruling was the outcome of several years of research and discussion between the Consorzio that represents the wine producers, and the 15 local councils of the region.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many herbicides. Such weed-killers are legally permitted and still widely used in viticulture and other forms of agriculture across the world. However, concerns and legal challenges are increasingly been raised about the health and environmental impacts of Glyphosate.

The glyphosate ban has been made in the context of the Consorzio’s far-reaching, integrated “Viticultural Protocol”. Launched in 2011, the protocol is a set of guidelines tailored for wine producers in the region. The protocol advises producers on how to adopt viticulture that reduces inputs in favour of environmentally sustainable approaches. The protocol is developed and improved following the results and analysis of the environmental status of the vineyards with each year. The protocol has given the wine growers of the region the skills and confidence to adopt ever more sustainable methods in place of conventional viticulture.

Innocente Nardi, President of the Producers’ Consortium, says: “This 2019 edition of the Viticultural Protocol is very important for us. First of all because the ban on the use of glyphosate makes the advice we give to the growers on sustainable, alternative vineyard management, such as the use of mechanical mowing, increasingly necessary. But we are particularly proud that this ban on glyphosate, legally imposed by the local governments within our Denomination, has come about thanks to a close dialogue between the Consortium and these bodies. Our area is a unique test-bed for environmental sustainability in Italy, due to its ability to bring together all of the stakeholders involved. Further proof of this synergy is the gradual adoption – by all of the communes in the Denomination – of the advice contained in the Consortium’s Viticultural Protocol in drawing up their individual municipal regulations regarding the general countryside”.

The next step for sustainability in the region is an ambitious new project to achieve official certification for producers through the independent S.Q.N.P.I (Sistema Qualità Nazionale Produzione Integrata) scheme.

 

About the region

Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is a protected wine region in the Veneto region of north-western Italy. It is the historic heart of Prosecco, first recognised in 1969, and celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019. The sparkling wines made from the region are designated as Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, in recognition of their high quality, restricted vineyard area, and strict production criteria.

 

The various stages of the Viticultural Protocol

The goals of the Viticultural Protocol are to progressively eliminate practices and substances that are considered to have too great an environmental impact – even if they are still permitted under the Italian and European regulations – and to promote forms of agriculture that are as non-invasive as possible, thus pre-empting by several years the virtuous circle that leads towards sustainability. The publication of the Protocol and its gradual adoption by the 185 companies belonging to the Producers’ Consortium have contributed to making the subject of agricultural sustainability a deep-rooted one among the growers in the zone.

The exclusion of all formulations containing products based on Folpet, Mancozeb, Dithianon and various other substances (whose use current laws would have allowed) dates back to 2013, and similar measures were put through in 2016. In 2018 the decision of the local administrations to ban glyphosate was approved. With this new edition, we are putting our “no” to glyphosate into practice, as well as reiterating the need for integrated pest and disease control and providing certain measures for activating it.

One of the functions of the Viticultural Protocol is to put the grower in a position of being able to use the various methods of vineyard management – whether they be chemical or organic – based on the real needs of the vines and of the terrain at any given time. In order to do this, technical and technological instruments for gathering data have been activated for some time: these constantly “photograph” the situation in the vineyard. This situation is then conveyed by the Consortium to the growers so that they can choose the action to take in the field that will have the least impact on the environment.

 

S.Q.N.P.I. Certification

The next step towards an even more sustainable Denomination will be S.Q.N.P.I (Sistema Qualità Nazionale Produzione Integrata) Certification of the various estates in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco D.O.C.G. Denomination, for which all the necessary documentation is already being prepared. This is a system that takes into account all the methods of production and defence against pests and diseases, so as to minimise the use synthetic chemical substances and fertilisers.

In order to obtain and maintain certification, control activities will be organised, such as the implementation of a significant number of analyses on the grapes produced, aimed at ascertaining what the actual use of chemical substances in the vineyard has been.

Specifically, two objectives are being aimed for: certifying 25% of those taking part by 2021 and increasing certifications by 10% in each subsequent year.
All the vinifying and bottling companies will be able to participate in the project, and will therefore have the possibility of using the “bee” logo on their products. The Consortium has involved  Valoritalia s.r.l. as the certifying body.