Giacomo Rallo backs the reform whose concrete aims are protecting and promoting the territory.
After devoting a life to fighting what he calls “the Dark Ages of Sicilian wine”, that is, bulk sales of a large part of the island’s production to other bottler regions needing to improve their wines’ structure, Giacomo Rallo is now more than ever the spokesman for a reform movement that concerns all Sicilian winemaking and definitely requires institution of a “DOC Sicilia”.
“A territory so rich in history, culture and wine vocation deserves greater protection than what is currently offered to quality vintners dealing with many markets. The IGT Sicilia has had its day”, Giacomo Rallo states, “ although it was fundamental in spurring some of our wines to higher quality. It’s no longer acceptable that the quota of Sicilian wine bottled remains at about 20% and that all the rest is prey to speculations of every kind, to the detriment of the consumer and to whoever makes and bottles wine in Sicily.
Let’s put this behind us to give the entire system more perspective, trying to achieve critical mass in a global economy that is increasingly competitive. Today we are enjoying a miracle performed by just a few wineries that have given Sicilian wine credibility throughout the world, and it’s time for involvement from other producers, large and small, who believe in the territory and want to defend it by creating jobs, image and added value. This could also help us get past the recession”.
The majority of vintners, trade associations and unions share this position. Already underway is the process that in just a few months will see the start of the transitory DOC Sicilia stage that won’t put current denominations of origin on the shelf but will require individual consortiums to make a choice: accepting new production regulations transforming current DOC districts into subzones or abiding by the old ones.
What will be discarded is the IGT Sicilia, and this is the main concern of an undecided minority, hesitant to accept a revolution that introduces new and higher standards of quality.
In fact, the production regulations draft being worked on envisions a significant reduction of yield-per-hectare – from 16 to 13 tons for white grapes and from 16 to 12 tons for the red – but also more efficient standards for blends, greater product traceability and above all compulsory bottling on the island.
“We cannot give in to emotional dispute about the DOC Sicilia, we have to concentrate on content and the aspects that are most concrete. The DOC Sicilia should be a tool for forceful decisions, for improving quality, for reading the market and for promotion. Only thus” Giacomo Rallo goes on to say”, will the new DOC be able to project the values of a land with extraordinary potential, never forgetting that a great wine is always born in a territory rich in traditions, landscapes and nature.
Our experience at Donnafugata tells us that wine is a product aggregating the values of a territory; an umbrella DOC will represent not only the quality of the wine but also the identifying qualities of a territory, attracting new inflows of more knowledgeable tourists, conscious of their destinations and respectful of the material and immaterial assets of our island”.
The DOC will have great impact on promotion and information strategies for Sicilian wine, on the one hand guaranteeing a unified image for fine Sicilian wine usable on every market and, on the other, effective protection for the consumer, made fully aware of the value of Sicilian wine, the reliability of its production processes and the vocation of its production territories.
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