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.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Product Development

    £26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests