Tuscan wine-makers up in arms as authorities attempt to make viniculture more sustainable

Local councils are already enforcing the plan aimed at protecting the water supply and reducing the threat of soil erosion, but growers claim the administration is 'taking agriculture back to the 1800s'

rome

Battle lines have been drawn in the idyllic wine-producing areas of Tuscany as authorities call for stricter regulation of vineyards amid fears that intensive wine production is causing soil erosion and pollution.

The Governor of the Tuscany region, Enrico Rossi, produced new guidelines at the start of July to make viniculture more sustainable and to prevent the production of the area's famous wines, such as Brunello, Chianti and the Super-Tuscans, degrading its picture-postcard countryside.

Stefano Carnicelli, a soil scientist who has advised the region on drafting the plan, highlighted some of the unwelcome effects of the region's wine production. “In Bolgheri the underground water supply is not secure and the intensive use of chemical fertilisers has seen nitrates entering the water,” he told La Repubblica. In Montalcino, the area that produces prized Brunello wines from sangiovese grapes, he said there was a “substantial risk of soil erosion”.

But only now, shortly before this year's grape harvest, have the big vineyards learned of the plans, much to their indignation.

Fabrizio Bindocci, the president of the Consortium of Brunello Di Montalcino Wine, told The Independent that the claims were exaggerated or false and that by failing to consult with them before-hand, there was a feeling among producers that they were “on a war-footing” with the regional government.

“We've only learned about this now. Why weren't we even told it was happening or even consulted?” he said. “This administration wants to take agriculture back to the 1800s. We take regular samples from the rivers and streams near my vineyards in Montalcino and we have not detected pollution.”

Mr Rossi said the region has thus far produced “only recommendations”. But Mr Bindocci said that some local councils in Tuscany were already enforcing the regional viniculture plan and preventing growers from using new vineyards.

The plan also calls on the region's biodiversity to be protected. This received short shrift from the mayor of Montalcino, Silvio Franceschelli. “People come to Montalcino to see vineyards not wheatfields,” he said. Although Mr Bindocci noted that only 3,600 of Montalcino's 24,000 hectares were vineyards, the rest being mainly woodland, fields and olive groves.

Mr Rossi, said he was confident that the region would reach an agreement with the big vineyards. “We only want modern and sustainable wine production, and so I think our objectives are really the same as the producers,” he said.

And Carlo Petrini, the ecological food guru and founder of the Slow Food Movement, backed greater emphasis on a sustainable approach to wine production. “The success of our viniculture should be based on good practice… and because of this there should be planning and development with a sense of limit,” he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - York

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - Y...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us