2020 will undoubtedly be remembered as a very strange year; a constantly evolving situation, where possibilities to plan for the future are extremely limited. Because so many things are uncertain right now, it’s easy to forget or overlook certain achievements that have occurred and which bode very positively for the future. We are talking about a rapprochement, which took place this summer, between the two most important associations for natural winemakers in Italy: VinNatur and Vi.Te – Vignaioli e Territori.
At the beginning of August 2020, a meeting took place between Angiolino Maule and Gabriele Da Prato, presidents of the two associations, with the aim of laying the foundations for a shared path. It was a meeting that has been in the pipeline and desired by many for a long time, and that has finally been able to materialize.
How can we talk legitimately about natural wines? When can a winemaker truly be said to be an artisan, when very often it is a trend or commercial project?
The need to clarify the movement and to join forces in order to succeed was evident to all present. Collaboration is the best way forward to give greater authority to the natural wine sector and to its message, and for this reason we have already started to consider the criteria needed for a winery to be accepted. We need objective third-party evaluations, combined with increasingly close monitoring of the member wineries, in order to guarantee the credibility of the whole movement.
The next step will be a wine fair organised by both associations together – a stand-alone event, not linked to any existing tastings – which will also give a message of positivity and hope to the sector. We natural winemakers are alive. We have so much desire to share and explain our work, our vineyards, and our wines. Right now it is impossible to place this event in the calendar, due to the ongoing pandemic, but the possibilities are many, and when the opportunity finally arises, you’ll be sure to know about it.
Call it a “revival” or an “evolution” or even a “revolution”; the movement linked to natural wine in Italy is experiencing a phase of profound renewal, where its diversity is now becoming its strength. The onus will deliberately be on the people rather than the product because it is by focussing on the person and their work, on their ideas and their choices that a wine can be truly unique and inimitable.
The decision taken by the two associations to follow a common path, brings together over three hundred winemakers and their wineries, who will finally be able to affirm all this with even more clarity and determination with a single voice. You will hear it soon.