The Italian government and the Brunello consorzio are at loggerheads as to who will take charge of the ongoing crisis over alleged adulteration of the wine.

US government officials meet the Italian Minister of Agriculture in Rome today to discuss trade issues – and to hammer out a solution to the crisis.

The delegation – from the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (ATTB) – will then meet tomorrow (Tuesday) with the Brunello Consorzio and its president Francesco Marone Cinzano.

They will discuss details of the threatened US embargo – which has been put back to 23 June to give producers more time to organise testing – as well as the measures the Consorzio must take to guarantee Brunello.

‘I’m confident that we’ll be able to resolve the issue in a positive manner for all parties,’ Marone Cinzano said.

But it appears that the government and the Consorzio are vying with each other over who will be the ‘saviour’ of Brunello.

While Antonio Bonfiglio, the undersecretary for agriculture, gave his full support to a Consorzio-led testing panel, the Minister of Agriculture Luca Zaia ‘publicly denied having anything at all to do with our quality control panel,’ Marone Cinzano said.

It now appears that Zaia may be forming his own committee to guarantee Brunello quality.

Cinzano said, ‘We Brunello producers want to introduce new standards that would truly guarantee our product for consumers, but unfortunately our initiatives are being frowned upon by many in Italy, even by some of the other DOCGs, who don’t want to change the current system’.

He added, ‘But because a general assembly of the Consorzio is a sovereign body, we will push ahead with our quality control panel, with or without the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, though hopefully with.’

Written by Kerin O’Keefe