Florence, 3/5 December, 2008

“3RD INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON SANGIOVESE: PROFESSOR MARIO FREGONI’S CONCLUSIONS”

“3RD International Symposium on Sangiovese (Florence 3-5 December 2008):  Mario Fregoni’s conclusions”

  1. The symposium turned out to be of a very high scientific level and more international compared to the first two. There were sixteen foreign speakers. Thanks also to the collaboration of OIV, who sponsored the symposium.
  2. Sangiovese was not the only player at the symposium (as in the previous two), since it was compared to numerous international “brother” varieties having similar difficulties in adapting to the environment, producing colour etc.
  3. For the first time in an Italian congress, terroir was widely discussed, both from the point of view of labelling and the relationship between terroir and the quality of wine.
  4. Climatic change has highlighted the need to closely examine future choices in terms of geography, variety, farming and wine-making techniques. The change in terroir would be a loss of originality of wines.
  5. Genomics studies represent hope for the future, since they could provide more resistant varieties to abiotic and biotic stress.
  6. Sensory analysis was another novelty at the symposium, since the theme was developed over a whole day, which turned out to be fundamental for assessing the typicity of terroir wines, as well as the final exam of vine-growing and methodological experimentation. It is a valid completion of instrumental analysis.
  7. Precision viticulture has confirmed it is interesting as a tool for studying terroirs, grape varieties, their physiology and grape ripening. Precision viticulture may also be useful for rationalising the vineyards and their management, in order to reduce the impact on the environment.

Finally let me put forward two proposals arising from the symposium:

  1. a) We need to exploit the terroir more on the label and lessen the use of the variety. To this aim there has been a proposal to introduce the classification of the terroir into the denominations of origin (mainly in Tuscany, undoubtedly the most culturally mature region and sensitive to the evolution of laws and to the terroir), based on geographical and soil differences, the history and merit of the winery and other criteria emerging from the production area.

The current Italian laws allow this, but in the 164/92 reform new ideas could be inserted, arising from the experience of other countries, particularly Burgundy, an example of world success in the classification of terroir and its use on the label.

This would go against the international situation of using the name of a vineyard to distinguish enological differences. However, the terroir can be juridically protected, whereas the grape variety can be copied all over the world.

  1. b) The second proposal concerns the edition of a book on Sangiovese, of a technical nature, mainly aimed at producers, with the simplified use of the scientific results from the three symposia on Sangiovese. Obviously the work will require the collaboration of many authors.