martedì 1 novembre 2016

From soil to wine - an Abstract for RAW WINE NY 2016

Soil is a complex living organism, not well known and dynamic. We are all subordinated to it, that means that we depend on a thin layer of the Earth and on the water that rains on it..
The grape and then the wine are both strictly dominated by the soil, responsible of the originality and the great value of the wine (we clearly refer to quality wine that is not a price-based commodity).
The ability to combine suitable soil with most appropriate grape variety is crucial and requires expertise and experience. The environments for achieving remarkable and durable wine are the real proof of its feasibility;  if the appropriate conditions in the soil are met, the result will be like in a library, where you can choose from a series of historical vintages: while certainly some will be lacking, as a whole a defined period is like an “orchestra” playing a symphony with infinite nuances.
Soil texture, mineral properties and organic matter are the main factors affecting the possibility to be able to achieve great quality in wine;  the biological soil quality (BSQ) evaluation is an important criteria that also speaks about its sustainability.
If climatic, environmental and varietal factors are taken into consideration, the confrontation with the vine pathogens is a lot simpler and manageable.
Grape ripeness is a real critical factor to achieve: we have variability in the vineyard, between plants and even in the bunch. When speaking about ripeness we must also include stem and leaves. The best conditions for harvest include temperature fluctuations and the presence of “autumn-like” season.
Modern management is often more a requirement than a rational choice causing early decline of the vineplants, therefore responsible of shorter duration of the vineyard that can be exhausted in 20-25 years. Thus we should rethink about the plant’s wellbeing and its duration, with advantages in wine quality, in beauty, culture and heritage.
Beauty and handcraft are fundamental and economic values in wine production. The true wine artisan is a custodian of cultural values, promoter of the beauty of landscapes and harmony of wellbeing, a creator of synergies with other economic sectors to pursue all-around value, not just in wine; and to establish a story of wine excellence.
The artisan wine producer is the manager of his project, full of complexities, where he must have the total mastery of his grape production. This does not mean however his total personal involvement in all vine and wine activities.
Historically, great and durable wines have been mainly obtained from prepared and educated people, and the future of organic wines as well is closely related to culture and the need of recovering resources. The path of artisan ‘natural wine’  is a strong, costly and risky decision and commitment to it must be conducted with great honesty and professionalism .  

We must be certain that healthy food and wine remain the best friends of our health.

domenica 23 ottobre 2016

自然なワインの規定づくりは必要か?

ワインに関する規定ははるか昔からあり(プリニウスやコルメッラの著作など)多くの歴史的文章にその記述が見られる。
過去3世紀様々な基準が徐々に制定され定期的に改正されてきた。前世紀において世界のいたるところでワインとぶどう、ワインづくりに関すること細かな法律が制定されてきた。このために(大学や研究所、個人企業など)高等研究機関が様々な地域に設立され生産者やワイン業界に多大な貢献をもたらしてきた。
多くの研究成果を整理するための強固な組織づくりや、外部との比較のため国や地方自治体の関与が必要となり世界的に信頼さる国際機関O.I.Vが生まれるに至った。ここまでの道のりはすでに終わった研究でも今後行われる研究の信頼性と重要性を担保するにあたってもとても重要である。
ワインに関する法律は微細なところまで定められており自然なワインの規定について語る際にも完全に無視することができるものではない。
自然なワインの世界に入るにはそれに相応しい専門性を有しこの世界での長く豊富な経験を有する人々からの有益な協力が必要だ。
人類はその歴史の中で絶えずぶどうを栽培しワインはいつも人と共にあり、事実、自然なワインは農業の歴史と共にあった。これはなにもワインがいつも美味しいものであったということではなく、大多数のそれには熟成に向かないことも含めて多くの欠陥があった。農民のワインと言われる類のものは欠点ばかりで良いところは殆どなく、上手にワインを作れるのはごく僅かな生産者だけだった。
その後技術的科学的な知識によってワインの品質が飛躍的に向上したものの、残念なことにその知識とテクニックが濫用され、輝かしいワインの歴史には似つかわしくない造られたワインを濫造する輩も出てきてしまった。
ワインづくりに関するどんな規定であってもまずはどこでどうやってぶどうが栽培されるのか」から始まらなければならない。そして細かな栽培方法や最も重要な点である収穫時期の決定も含めて詳細に検討がなされなければならない。
さらに重要な点はぶどうはワインを作りその品質に全責任を負う生産者の畑で作られたものだけが使われるべきで買いぶどうなど論外という事だ。


芽吹き:毎年の希望のとき

最近の自然なワインは徐々にこの定義から離れつつあり、科学的裏付けがほとんどないに等しいにもかかわらず普通の言葉となり、より分かりやすく市場でも受け入れやすい言葉で語られるようになった。
今日私たちの暮らす世界は常にニュースを求め、本質を追求することも真実を探ろうともしない世界だ。このような状況下では、短期的には人気を博すだろうが中期的にみると害をなすこととなる。自然なワインの世界の将来に必要なのは確固たる基盤と生産者の誠意だ。今こそすべての利害関係を超えて、特にワイン流通に関しては、少数の(自分たちが属する生産者グループだけの)ことを考えるのではなく自然なワインの大きな流れ全体を止めぬように話し合う時なのだ。

例えば、重要かつ急を要する案件として揮発酸含有量の基準改定が挙げられる。現在は定められている低すぎるほどの揮発酸含有量は時に多量に添加され表記されないことすらある有害な亜硫酸の使用が前提で決められている。今日自然なワインの多くは世界中のワイン法の揮発酸基準量を上回っており不法な状態だ。
これは基準改定において重要な一歩でありそのための努力が必要なのだが、ワイン全体のバランスの範囲内であれば揮発酸量はワイン自体の欠点とはならないことを科学的に証明する事が必要とされる。さらにこのテーマは自然なワインを作るのは決して簡単なことではなく、それが可能な品種を選定し、それができる条件、環境下でのみ出来るということの証左となろう。

これらと、またその他の理由から個人的イニシアチブで提案されるような即興的なものではなく確固たる科学的裏付けのある、信頼出来る機関が提言する自然なワインに関する規定と基準作りが喫緊の課題だと考えるのである。


ロレンツォ コリーノ

martedì 21 giugno 2016

Eine Definition von Naturwein



Der Begriff “Naturwein” ist eine häufig verwendete Terminologie, die sich
auf keine Kategorie bezieht die durch Gesetzgebungen identifiziert werden kann, ich glaube, es lohnt sich, eine mögliche Definition in 6 Punkte zu erarbeiten.
  1. Das geeignete Land, um diese Weine produzieren zu können, sollte eine klare Umweltvariabilität enthalten. Einschließlich der geeigneten Bedingungen spezifisch für den Weinanbau.
  2. Der für den Weinberg verwendete Boden muss den Anforderungen der pflanzlichen und tierischen Artenvielfalt gerecht werden, einschließlich der zu enthaltenden Mikroorganismen.
  3. Die angebauten Sorten sollen basierend auf den Kriterien der Kultur der Gegend, Geschichte und der lokalen Tradition sein.
  4. Die Anbaupraktiken müssen die Grundsätze der ökologischen Landwirtschaft * untermauern (EU-Recht für Bio ist nicht ausreichend).
  5. Die Trauben müssen im Keller natürlich verarbeitet werden, bis zur Weinproduktion: Produzenten müssen absolut jede Bearbeitung vermeiden, Additionen, Subtraktionen oder irgendetwas anderes, das den natürlichen Prozess der Gewinnung kontert und die Reifung der Weine beeinflusst. Offensichtlich gilt es daher SO2 auch aufzulisten.
  6. Das Unternehmen muss eine übersichtliche Handwerkergroße beibehalten die es dem Winzer ermöglichen, persönlich den einzelnen Stufen der Produktion zu folgen. Voraussichtlich sollte der Schwellenwert bei weniger als 50.000 Flaschen festgelegt werden.

Es wäre das wachsende Interesse der Verbraucher an dieser Art von Produkten wünschenswert, damit die Gesetzgebung auf nationaler und europäischer Ebene “ad hoc” ausgearbeitet werden würde, um die Definition transparent und zum Schutz ernsthafter Produzenten zu machen. Die vorliegende Verwirrung der Begriffe und Definitionen auf dem Markt ist für die Entwicklung der Erzeuger die diesen Weg genommen haben nicht förderlich.
*”Biologische Landwirtschaft”: ein ökologische ProduktionsmanagementSystem, das die biologische Vielfalt fördert und verbessert, biologische Zyklen und die biologische Aktivität des Bodens berücksichtig. Es basiert auf dem minimalen Einsatz der Produktionsfaktoren und Management-Praktiken, die Wiederherstellung, Erhaltung und Weiterentwicklung der ökologischen und Harmonie mit der Umwelt zu verbessern.
Ubersetzung: Jacqueline Mantovani

venerdì 29 aprile 2016

"Natural" wine heading towards legislation?

Wine regulation is extraordinarily old and documentation of it appears in many historical records (Plinius, Columella etc.). Over the past three centuries, various standards have been gradually formed and periodically revised and developed. During the last century, laws aimed at defining, in some detail, wine and everything concerning its origin and production methods began to appear almost everywhere. To this end, highly scientific committees (universities, research centres, private companies) with different areas of expertise were formed, along with, of course, the extraordinary contribution of producers and industry professionals.
The coordination of a lot of work has immediately required the involvement of national and regional authorities in order to structure and consolidate everything and compare it with the outside. Hence the worldwide accredited institution is called O.I.V. These steps are critical to the credibility and validity of the work already completed and yet to be performed.
The regulations involving wine are so precise, down to the smallest details, that we cannot completely ignore them when addressing the topic of "natural" wine discipline. The appropriate professionalism is required to begin to approach this sector and establish fruitful collaborations with those who have had full knowledge for a long time.
Man, in the course of his history, has always cultivated the vine and wine has always existed. In fact, "natural" wine accompanies the history of human agriculture. This does not mean that the wines were "good". Indeed many of them plenty of defects, including the inability to age. "Farmer's wine", has excelled often more for its flaws than for its quality and only a few have managed to do well. But it is above all through technical and scientific knowledge that great progress has been made and contributed to the huge success of wine. Unfortunately there are also some who have abused the new opportunities offered by technology and research by “building" products that are not worthy of the wonderful history of wine.
Any regulation must begin with how and where the grapes are produced. Then detailed analysis of the agronomic side and management of the vineyard must be made, including the most fundamental moment – the harvest decision. It is also crucial that the origin of the grape be fully traceable back to the artisan producer, who must assume responsibility for it.
Every bud...a new hope

"Natural" wine could, little by little, leave behind this definition, entered into the common language despite having poor or no scientific validation, and assume terms that are more transparent and acceptable on the market.
Today we live a moment governed by the desire to launch news, almost always with little depth, instead of trying to prove the facts. This situation, if in the short term, gives notoriety, can harm in the medium term.  We need to build a future for the sector with a solid foundation and great seriousness. It's time to talk solidly and without conflicts of interest of all shapes and species, in particular of a commercial nature, in order to preserve the whole movement and not just a few.
For instance, we should make an important and urgent request for legislative amendment concerning the volatile acidity level, currently defined in far too confined values caused by the use, sometimes massive and not declared, of SO2, a product harmful to our health. Today, many natural wines exceed the level of volatile acidity permitted by current global standards and are therefore illegal. This would represent a major legislative step towards which effort is needed, especially to scientifically demonstrate that volatile acidity is not critical, if correctly balanced within the complexity of the wine. This theme further corroborates the thesis that to produce "natural" wines is a very demanding endeavour, nor can it be achieved with any variety, in any environment or under any climatic conditions.

For these reasons, and others, it is crucial to propose rules and disciplines that are not extemporaneous individual initiatives, but backed by serious institutions and underpinned by robust scientific basis. 

lunedì 25 aprile 2016

Il vino “naturale” verso una normativa?

La regolamentazione dei vini è straordinariamente antica e si trova documentazione in moltissime testimonianze storiche (Plinio, Columella..). Negli ultimi tre secoli, si sono gradualmente prodotte varie norme che sono state periodicamente rivisitate ed approfondite. Durante il secolo scorso sono nate un po’ ovunque delle legislazioni volte a definire in maniera piuttosto dettagliata il vino e tutto quanto concerne la sua origine e modalità di produzione. Allo scopo sono stati formati Comitati di alto profilo scientifico (Università, Centri di ricerca, aziende private) con differenti ambiti di expertise, oltre ben inteso, il contributo straordinario dei produttori e professionisti del settore.
Un coordinamento di tanto lavoro si è immediatamente reso necessario con il coinvolgimento di autorità nazionali, regionali, al fine di strutturare e consolidare il tutto e confrontarsi all’esterno. Qui l’istituzione mondialmente accreditata si chiama O.I.V. Questi passaggi sono fondamentali per la credibilità e la validità del lavoro svolto e ancora in essere.
Le normative sul vino sono talmente puntuali, fin nei minimi dettagli, che non ci si può chiamare completamente fuori quando si affronta l’argomento di disciplina del vino “naturale”. Occorrono le professionalità adeguate per iniziare ad approcciarsi a tale settore ed instaurare proficue collaborazioni con chi ne ha piena materia da lungo tempo.
L’uomo, nel corso della sua storia ha sempre coltivato la vigna e il prodotto vino è sempre esistito. In effetti, il vino “naturale” accompagna la storia agricola dell’umanità. Questo non significa che i vini erano “buoni”, anzi sicuramente molti di essi erano un nutrito programma di difetti, compresa la scarsa longevità. Il “vino del contadino”, molto spesso ha primeggiato di più per i suoi difetti che per le sue qualità e solo pochi sono riusciti a far bene. Ma è soprattutto con la conoscenza tecnico-scientifica che il progresso è stato grandissimo e ha contribuito all’enorme successo del vino. Purtroppo ci sono stati anche alcuni che hanno abusato delle nuove opportunità offerte dalla tecnologia e ricerca “costruendo” prodotti non degni della meravigliosa storia del vino.
Qualsiasi regolamentazione deve partire da come e dove si produce l’uva. Quindi deve affrontare in analisi dettagliata il lato agronomico e gestionale della vigna, compresa la criticità più forte che risiede nella decisione vendemmiale. Inoltre è basilare che la provenienza dell’uva faccia capo al produttore che ne assume completamente la responsabilità artigianale.
Germogliamento: ogni anno una...speranza

Il vino “naturale”, potrebbe, poco a poco, lasciare questa definizione, entrata nel linguaggio comune, perché scientificamente poco o affatto sostenibile, per volgere a termini più trasparenti ed accettabili nei confronti del mercato.
Viviamo oggi un momento governato dalla voglia di lanciare notizie, quasi sempre poco approfondite invece di provare dei fatti. Questa situazione, se nel breve può dare notorietà può far danno nel medio periodo; occorre costruire un futuro con basi solide e grande serietà. E’ giunto il momento di parlare solidamente e scevri da conflitti di interesse di ogni forma e specie, in particolare di natura commerciale al fine di garantire tutto il movimento e non solo alcuni.
Una importante ed urgente richiesta di modifica legislativa riguarda il tenore in acidità volatile, attualmente definito su valori troppo contenuti a motivo dell’utilizzo, anche massiccio e non dichiarato della solforosa, prodotto nocivo per la nostra salute. Oggi, molti vini naturali superano il livello di acidità volatile ammissibile dalla vigente normativa mondiale, e quindi sono fuorilegge. Questo rappresenta dunque un passaggio legislativo fondamentale verso il quale occorre impegnarsi, soprattutto scientificamente per dimostrare che, la volatile non costituisce una criticità se giustamente equilibrata nella complessità del vino. Inoltre questa tematica avvalora ancora maggiormente la tesi che produrre vini “naturali” è un’impresa professionale molto impegnativa, né si può realizzare con qualsiasi vitigno, in qualsiasi ambiente o in condizioni climatiche non adeguate.

 Anche per questi motivi, tra l’altro, è basilare che a proporre norme e disciplinari non siano iniziative estemporanee di singoli, ma serie istituzioni e avvalorate da basi scientifiche robuste.

sabato 9 aprile 2016

GOING BEYOND TASTE (Part two) – WINE

INTRODUCTION: Historically, food and wine have enjoyed a solid and multifaceted alliance especially in the civilizations of the great rivers (Tigris, Euphrates, Nile), in the Mediterranean basin and beyond. This extraordinary and refined synergy has always been a very precious asset that continues to build success, value and necessary emotions. So it’s only for convenience that the topics of food and wine will be presented here in two separate articles.
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Food and wine are a tried and tested combination that sometimes reaches awe-inspiring levels and there is never an end to subsequent discoveries: food 'imposes' the choice of wine. But wine can also be enjoyed on its own and these opportunities are sources of energy and emotion.
One of the biggest problems we have in producing wine is the difficulty we face in the vineyard. ‘Natural wine' is above all produced in the vineyard with its healthy and properly matured bunches that are taken to the cellar for the process that leads to "natural wine vinification": If you have done a good job in the vineyard, this process becomes easier.

The real 'limits' of conventional wines arise when what is obtained in the vineyard is elaborated in the cellar to make it 'better' through the use of substances and means that are also harmful to our health.
A wine made 'naturally' in the cellar, perhaps with some defects (colour, volatile, clarity), is surely healthier. In short, we must rewrite and objectify the analytical parameters as brilliantly as the French already have, while we still cause great confusion and continue to compare these two types of wine within the same topic of discussion.
I believe, however, that the two economic sectors, conventional wines and wines organically and naturally produced in the cellar, can never be in competition because they travel parallel paths: they are very different wines and thus subject to different tasting rules.
Naturally-produced wine just drawn off
The consumer, like with food, is moving towards wines made with greater respect for the environment and his health, caring little if they do not match the rules dictated by the "experts": the first criteria is healthiness.
It's easy to meet people who complain about different upsets caused by wine: excellent meals, delicious foods, sore head... thanks to the wine. But why does this continue to happen? Why is wine ruining, 'poisoning', us silently? And nobody does anything?

In developing completely organic and natural wines, one must consider environmental conditions, production and managerial abilities, while facing major economic risks. It is a road of uncertainties, surprises and variability… all factors that do not match the strict rules of entrepreneurship which seek security, risk removal and standardised production. These brief considerations should make it clear that choosing the path of becoming a 'natural wine' producer is still a strong, costly and risky decision and commitment to it must be conducted with great professionalism. No clashes, conflicts or judgment: everyone can do better.
Already wine has its disadvantages due to the alcohol it contains, so why produce significant quantities by resorting to harmful cultivation practices for the surrounding environment? By doing so, the wine is only marketable after various interventions in the cellar, including the use of substances that are harmful to our health.

Sometimes we overdo it with reference to the description of the taste of a wine, "minerality" comes to mind, a terminology frequently used with reference to the minerals found locally (have you ever tried to suck a rock?). It may be helpful to remember how this feature is derived, apart from some specific varieties such as the Riesling, from a biological complexity that is found primarily where the environment is respected, the vines are old and their management committed to preserving the area’s historical and environmental complexity. Many business decisions have instead compromised such situations with massive soil movements, extensive monocultures, forced mechanisation, pesticides and herbicides as well as the uprooting old vines with the loss of varietal gene pools, to build short-lived vineyards condemned by cultivation techniques that are simply too aggressive.

We should not look to the future of wine by projecting the past: let’s also consider empirical knowledge, tacit and unexplained rules, which are embedded in tradition and which science tries to make us understand better: both must be considered.

P.S. I would like to mention, gratefully, the observers and consumers from Japan who, for over twenty years, have given Italian producers the stimulus that wine must return to being a natural protagonist by also going beyond 'taste'.
Finally, I would like to express gratitude to Isabelle Legeron, who, after undertaking the maximum qualification as “Master of Wine”, has become totally committed to natural wine, giving great impetus and synergy to the field.


LORENZO CORINO

mercoledì 9 marzo 2016

Producing NATURAL WINE

Our agriculture is moving further and further away from the choices the entrepreneurs themselves would like to make, because it is influenced by legislation and by the industry that holds the fundamental and strategic resources needed to produce (germplasms, seeds, herbicides, agrochemicals, fertilizers and other means related to production).
Our viticulture is no exception to these rules, but is a 'wanted' sector by the industry thanks to its large consumption of pesticides 'also manufacturers other diseases' and to the productive capacity forced on the land through aggressive monoculture (hence the increasingly strong need to have access to external input to continue to produce).
Viticulture is also authorised and encouraged in environments that are unsuitable for vineyards and where it is possible to produce only thanks to the high consumption of agrochemicals. This reflects an important part of the italian industry, but in Europe, the situation isn’t much different.
We cannot, at least in the short term, substantially change this situation, which gives rise, among other things, to considerable economic gains.
Yet with foresight and respect for the economic value of the companies, it is possible to create a healthier and more "organic" viticulture and naturally obtain in the cellar wines made without the intervention of additives. This choice is very challenging, very professional and not applicable in every single viticultural environment, nor does it guarantee production consistency. It is therefore immediately clear that it is a choice that can only be made by a select few and that inevitably has an important value, which in turn the consumer must be able to recognize.

Natural wine producers cannot continue to 'talk in circles’ saying they are better because they might find themselves left high and dry. There are excellent producers of "non-natural" and delicious wines that have shaped the history of italian wine and much more. Those who silently work well and with mastery in the vineyard and in the cellar with added SO2 values that are lower than many products offered by "natural wine" producers.
In practice, in our great viticulture we don’t do our main duty enough. That is to get grapes capable of being transformed into a stable wine. We can’t be content to not produce well in the vineyard and then fix our mistakes with several interventions in the cellar, including some that are harmful to our health, to achieve durability over time of wine.
For all the reasons mentioned above, it’s always helpful to remember the definition of WINE (EC Regulation 479/2008): "wine is the product obtained exclusively from the total or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, crushed or not, or of grape must". So if we do not move away from the legislation, it makes no sense to go and search other natural wine definitions that provide for additional interventions, even more so when they are harmful to our health.
Example of additives and permitted practices in the production of wine

It’s worth noting that italian institutional bodies, worldwide economic points of reference in the sector such as Vinitaly, have initiated a contest (Free Wine) to reward wines that contain a maximum total sulfur value of 40mg/lt. It’s curious to observe how other events and associations dedicated to "Natural Wines" yet accept wines with much higher SO2 values.

Data updated February 29, 2016


This further demonstrates that there is still a long way to go and that it’s difficult to supply the consumer with products that really adhere to the definition of the word "WINE" before it’s taken over by some 'joker'.

And I would like to conclude with a prescription from the Medical School of Salerno: "mens laeta, requies, moderate diaeta" (happy mind, rest, right diet).