New EU wine reforms will destroy centuries of winemaking tradition and cause market chaos, say industry professionals in Italy.
Changes planned by the European Common Market Organization (CMO) would replace current appellation systems with two standard European denominations.
In Italy, many fear that entire viticultural areas would be merged, and it is likely that the country’s 316 DOCs, 38 DOCGs and 118 IGTs would be downsized to 182 designations divided between the newly established DOP and IGP denominations.
From August 2009, DOP and IGP will be only the appellations allowed in Europe under the new rules.
Applying the new regulations to the letter, individual denominations and regulations for Barolo, Dolcetto and Barbera, now within the Barolo growing zone, would all become Barolo DOP.
‘Obviously, this makes no sense, and would destroy decades of work spent protecting and guaranteeing our individual wines,’ said Claudio Salaris, Director of the Barolo consorzio.
Subzones would also be eliminated from labels according to the new proposals, and the flexible IGTs would be replaced with the more rigid IGPs.
‘I don’t think a literal interpretation is possible, said Salaris. ‘But we have to work with the EU lawmakers to protect our patrimony and keep our individual winemaking zones.’
Salaris admitted there would be benefits, with a unified EU denomination system providing a ‘great guarantee’ against fraudulent practices.
Written by Kerin O’Keefe