As of 24 May 2022, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is the first (and currently only) Italian wine denomination to boast the Equalitas standard’s sustainability certification trademark (among the most important standards of its kind). This accomplishment, which pertains not only to the wine itself, but to the entire region, including its residents, was achieved through a long process that the consortium began many years ago, even before sustainability was as important as it is now.
Between 1985 and 1990, thanks to the consortium’s insight and the municipality of Montepulciano’s support, a network of weather stations was created and installed throughout the entire production area in order to record meteorological data. Based on the conditions that were detected, expert agronomists would then, on a weekly basis, release a “green message”. The network basically served as an operational tool which benefited companies and made it possible to streamline crop protection processes with a subsequent limitation on the use of chemicals.
In the early 1990s, the consortium was among the first in Italy to examine the productive terrain through a zoning project called “Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Zoning and Promotion of the Region”, which monitored the production vineyards from 1992 to 1994. It was conducted by a research group specialised in viticulture from the Agrarian Institute of San Michele all’Adige, with the essential support of the Experimental Institute for the Study and Protection of Florence’s Land.
The climate section was handled by the Experimental Viticulture Institute of Arezzo. The project produced a thematic map for managing the production area which is still in use today and is fundamental to the studies which followed.
In around 2006, in collaboration with the municipal government, a project was developed for the disposal of organic waste from the vineyards, using it for the production of combustion biomass for the energy supply of school and government buildings.
In 2015 the Carbon Footprint project of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano became a national model. The system, which calculates the carbon footprint of the production cycle of a bottle of Vino Nobile, or rather the CO2 emissions created from the production of this prized DOCG wine, was in fact recognised by a group of institutions and companies that operate at the highest levels in terms of quality and the relative certifications, and whose name would then be paired with that of the product. The Montepulciano DOCG’s idea of measuring the carbon footprint and instituting a series of measures which would reduce or compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions was presented on occasion of the preview of the 2014 Vino Nobile by the municipality of Montepulciano (which financed the project), by the consortium of producers, and by Rome’s Marconi University, which oversaw the technical-scientific aspects. In approximately one year the program, which was sponsored by Tuscany, the province of Siena, and the provincial chamber of commerce, transitioned from the planning phase to the experimental phase thanks to a data collection platform that was tested with Marconi University. The producers promptly realised the project’s revolutionary scope, expressing conviction and enthusiasm; the same attitude demonstrated by Gambero Rosso, a leading international voice in the field of food and wine information, which also promised to help
“launch” the news and support the associated promotional campaign. The project was awarded the
status of “Smart Community” in 2015 at Milan’s SMAU.
THE EQUALITAS STANDARD
The Equalitas standard (www.equalitas.it) was developed by the Italian company Equalitas, founded by the associations which are also the company’s current partners: Federdoc (the Confederation of Consortiums for the safeguard of Italian wines’ DOC), Csqa Certifications and Valoritalia (two of the leading associations for wine certifications), the Gambero Rosso Foundation, and 3A Vino.consente). The standard is designed specifically for the wine sector and is definitely one of the most avant-garde at the international level: it’s the only one which also certifies the region, in our case that of the vineyards in which Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG and Rosso di Montepulciano DOC are produced. It’s a very demanding protocol that implies compliance with a high number of environmental requirements (like biodiversity and the measuring of carbon and water footprints) and socio-economic requirements (like verifying that the principles of freedom of association and equal opportunity are respected). Furthermore, Equalitas also demands the achievement of progressive objectives and the drafting of a sustainability report in which the results that have been obtained are presented and communicated.
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