Conegliano Valdobbiadene is the largest zone in Europe to ban the controversial chemical weed killer ingredient
SOLIGHETTO, June 5, 2019 – The Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. announced a complete ban on the use of glyphosate in the ninth edition of its Viticultural Protocol document, which was presented in Treviso. The Viticultural Protocol is a document that proposes and promotes a virtuous system of integrated pest and disease control for vines. In 2019, it reached its most significant goal: a total ban on the use of glyphosate, regardless of whether Italian and European regulations still define it as a legal substance. Conegliano Valdobbiadene is the largest zone in Europe to forbid the use of glyphosate, the most controversial chemical substance of the last few years, which continues to be utilized in a very large number of agricultural areas in Italy and around Europe. This ban is the result of a long and detailed process of synergy and cooperation, between the local councils of the 15 Municipalities within the Denomination and the Producers’ Consortium.
2019 also marks the year that the Consortium celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, and the Denomination of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is thrilled to mark the occasion by finally attaining this, its most important objective, and is making plans for environmental certification.
As usual, the presentation of the Protocol is also an opportunity for the Consortium to take stock of the results that have been achieved, but also to look towards the future and decide on what the next steps will be.
“This edition of the Viticultural Protocol is very important for us,” affirms Innocente Nardi, President of the Producers’ Consortium. “First of all because the ban on the use of glyphosate makes the indications we give to the growers with regard to alternative vineyard management methods, such as mechanical mowing, increasingly necessary. But we particularly consider this ban on glyphosate, imposed by the local governments within the Denomination, to be an objective reached thanks to the constant dialogue there has been between the Consortium and these bodies. Our area is a unique laboratory for environmental sustainability in Italy, due to its ability to include all of the actors 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 when drawing up their individual municipal regulations regarding the countryside.”
The Viticultural Protocol has, since its launch in 2011, gradually become an increasingly significant point of reference for the Consortium’s members, and is the cornerstone of the sustainability-related activity of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Consortium. The results obtained are due to its wide acceptance are leading growers to take further steps forward on the path towards sustainability.
The Various Stages of the Viticultural Protocol
The goal of the Viticultural Protocol is 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, on the other hand, promote forms of agriculture that are as non-invasive as possible, thus pre-empting by several years the virtuous process 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 deeply-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, the Consortium is putting its “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 instruments constantly “photograph” the current situation in the vineyard. This snapshot 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.
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 defense of crops against adversities, so as to reduce to a minimum the use in the vineyard of synthetic chemical substances and also rationalize the practice of fertilization.
In order to obtain and maintain certification, control activities will be organized, 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.
This certification represents a great opportunity for the region, in particular because it translates into an increase in the perceived value of the Denomination. Specifically, two objectives are being targeted: 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.
About the Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
The Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is the private body, founded in 1962, that guarantees and controls adherence to the production regulations for D.O.C.G. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. The sparkling wines produced on the hillsides between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the Province of Treviso, obtained Denominazione di Origine Controllata status in 1969 and the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita in 2009. The production zone includes 15 municipal areas: Conegliano, San Vendemiano, Colle Umberto, Vittorio Veneto, Tarzo, Cison di Valmarino, San Pietro di Feletto, Refrontolo, Susegana, Pieve di Soligo, Farra di Soligo, Follina, Miane, Vidor and Valdobbiadene. The Consortium, whose current President is Innocente Nardi, has its headquarters in the village of Solighetto in Pieve di Soligo. It groups together 185 sparkling wine producers and includes all the categories in the production chain (vine-growers as well as vinifying and bottling companies). It operates principally in three areas: protection of the product, its promotion, and sustainability of production. It carries out these tasks both in Italy and abroad, promoting knowledge of the product through educational activities, the organization of events and relations with the press.