Vineyards in Italy's Soave wine region have been officially recognised as part of the country's rural heritage.
Italian officials chose vineyards in the Soave wine region from a shortlist of 35 candidates, according to the local wine council.
It means Soave DOC’s hillside vineyards officially constitute a ‘rural landscape of historical interest’ in Italy.
The move may not quite have the grandeur of UNESCO World Heritage status, which was afforded to Barolo in Piedmont in 2014, but the Soave wine council believes its listing will help to better protect vineyards, such as from urban development.
It is also hoped that the move may open up more sources of funding for winemakers.
The Prosecco DOCG heartland of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is also on the Italian rural heritage list.
‘This is a great result for the Soave denomination,’ said Aldo Lorenzoni, director of the Soave and Recioto producers’ consortium.
Based on the Napoleonic land registry, the first map identifying the vineyards of Soave dates back to 1816, the consortium said. Soave was one of the first offical wine denominations created in Italy, in 1931, and the Soave Classico zone today covers 1,700 hectares of vines.
There productive vineyards that are more than 100 years old and still cultivated for winemaking, the consortium said.
‘This accolade lays the foundations for a new approach (especially from legislators), to help redefine the instruments for supporting viticulture in areas in which conditions are similarly special and extreme,’ said Lorenzoni.
‘It is to be hoped that – in the very near future – it will be possible for vine-growers in hilly areas to have access to specific types of financial backing.’