The Prosecco DOC Consortium continues its dedication to preserving the territory and its biodiversity, aiming for continuous improvement of the region
The Prosecco DOC Consortium announced today a series of ongoing and new projects that address sustainability and environmental issues, furthering the Consortium’s commitment to building a better and greener future for the Earth and next generations.
The projects are targeted toward vineyards and wineries within the region to help them implement, along the production process, the necessary measures to overcome, step by step, environmental and long-term productivity issues, as well as those of ethical, social and economic responsibility. These initiatives involve different areas of intervention within aspects of the supply chain. The sustainability project is therefore multidisciplinary, multi-level, as it acts on the three pillars of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) in the three levels of the productive system (i.e. vineyards, wineries and Consortium) and dynamic, as it evolves constantly. Each initiative generally begins with analysis and data collection to consequently develop case studies that become virtuous examples of successful sustainable management. Then the Consortium, in collaboration with different partners, develops innovative techniques, tools and/or services that facilitate the productive system achieving these ambitious sustainability goals, while inspiring other Italian denominations with its example.
“We want to be a sustainable denomination and we have the intention to do it through concrete projects,” said Stefano Zanette, President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium. “We are working on a sustainable management system of the entire production chain based on the Standard Equalitas, but also on a protocol that could support wineries to achieve a continuous improvement of their winemaking processes, elevating products and territory.”
Sustainable Prosecco DOC Project: The Environmental Pillar
The Prosecco DOC Consortium will facilitate this project in each stage of the production chain and will provide meaningful support to companies in order to achieve this change.
“We are introducing a management system for sustainability along the supply chain based on the Equalitas Standard,” explained Stefano Zanette, President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium. “In addition to a viticultural protocol for managing cultivation operations while respecting and protecting the environment, the project includes biodiversity analysis and the calculation of environmental indicators such as the carbon and water footprint. These are parameters that, as it should be emphasized, are also applied to the processing and bottling phase for the wineries as Sustainable Organizations.”
The Consortium, in collaboration with the software-house Apra and its partners Enogis and Analysis, has therefore developed a digital system bringing together vineyards and wineries data, which is sent to a carbon and water-footprint calculator connected to the Consortium’s platform. This system allows the Consortium to calculate the environmental indicators of the Denomination, as well as the ones of each individual vineyard or winery.
Data collection is one of the key elements for the project’s ability to scientifically identify and adopt practices that make a positive contribution.
This project provides a 360-degree concept for sustainability, which also includes the economic and social pillars, including the adoption of a code of ethics throughout the chain, a digital system for the management of whistleblowing reports, the professional growth of the operators and constructive communication with local communities.
In the end, this macro-project will enable the collection of data on environmental, social and economic impacts allowing the Consortium to select the best practices to be added to the system, with a view toward continuous improvement.
The aim is to transfer the knowledge and the technologies identified to as many companies as possible in the Prosecco DOC territory in order to achieve a territorial sustainability certification (Sustainable Denomination based on the standard Equalitas), involving at least 60% of the Prosecco DOC vineyards.
Characterizing Prosecco DOC: Zoning, Sustainability and Resilience
Knowing the territory, its characteristics, and its needs is the first step toward improving the quality of production and optimizing resources in the vineyard and in the cellar, and consequently, reducing waste. This is even more important in an area as extensive and varied from a topographical point of view as Prosecco DOC, which spans nine Italian provinces in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions.
This is why the Consortium has taken a series of actions to identify homogeneous areas and further enhance the concept of terroir. The Prosecco DOC area is characterized by a significant diversity of soil and climates with varying effects on production and the technological characteristic of the grapes. Alongside the pre-existing zoning, new remote sensing techniques are also being introduced. These technologies can contribute to large-scale analyses by monitoring and differentiating the state of climate and soil at strategic times, with obvious repercussions on vineyard management. Now that the areas have been established and representative vineyards have been selected, different trials are being conducted, with the goal of identifying and plan different types of precision intervention suitable for each specific area.
The ultimate goal is to characterize the DOC, creating a viticultural management model for each homogeneous area identified, which includes the development of models of sustainable cultivation. All this is considered in relation to climate change, one of the major issues for the world of wine today.
More Eco-Friendly vineyards: the Green Mosaic Project
Another project led by the Consortium is “Mosaico Verde,” promoted by AzzeroCO2 and Legambiente. This program aims to increase Italy’s biodiversity by planting 300,000 new trees, in addition to protecting 30,000 hectares of existing forest. The project proposes to redevelop the Italian territory through reforestation and sustainable management of existing woods, involving both public and private companies. In 2017-2018, after a proposal of the Consortium, the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Regions assigned the eligibility for the DOC Prosecco to the most virtuous wine producers.
Among the selection criteria, it was required to create and maintain a hedge or grove area of at least 5% of that intended for vineyards. This initiative allowed to establish a 76-hectare tree-covered area, thus allowing the Consortium to fully participate in the Green Mosaic project.
In addition to defining the hedge / grove as a condition of reward in assigning eligibility to Prosecco DOC, the Consortium is encouraging the establishment of trees adjacent to the vineyards not only to increase biodiversity and beautify the landscape, but also to create a natural barrier to the products used during the defense of the vineyard.
The Prosecco DOC Consortium’s Projects of Tomorrow
There are many activities still in progress aiming to increase environmental sustainability and improve viticultural management in Prosecco DOC. Experiments are being made to evaluate alternative defense protocols, based on the integration of natural and microbiological products. These protocols have to guarantee both effective defense and a reduction in residues and quantities of synthetic products used.
Alongside this initiative, a bee bio-monitoring project is in development as an environmental indicator. The aim is to establish a communication and data sharing network between farmers, beekeepers and public authorities. The network should, on the one hand, monitor the activities of bees in wine-growing areas, and on the other, make it possible to analyze environmental conditions, even beyond wine-growing, in order to subsequently identify operations and improvement techniques to be introduced in management protocols.
The Prosecco DOC Consortium’s commitment to environmental, economic, and social sustainability is constantly evolving to meet new goals for continuous improvement.
About Prosecco DOC
Prosecco DOC wines come in Spumante (sparkling), Frizzante (semi-sparkling) and Tranquillo (still) varieties. The wines are made from mainly the Glera grape, native to North East Italy for thousands of years, and can be combined with a maximum of 15% of the following grapes: Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Glera lunga, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Nero. Prosecco Frizzante and Spumante varieties get their famous bubbles using the Secondary Fermentation production method, bottled under high pressure after fermentation in bulk tanks called autoclaves, as opposed to the traditional method, which bypasses the autoclaves and is used for other sparkling wine varieties. The end result is a brilliant straw yellow wine with fine, persistent perlage and aromas of white flowers, apple and pear. It is fresh and elegant on the palate with moderate alcoholic strength.
From August 11, 2020, the competent bodies (Italian Ministry of Agriculture) have allowed the production of Prosecco DOC Rosé, made from at least 85% Glera and 10-15% Pinot Nero only in the Spumante (sparkling) version and with the drier styles (from Brut Nature to Extra Dry). Prosecco DOC Rosé undergoes a longer second fermentation in the autoclaves (60 days as opposed to 30 days for Prosecco DOC), has a pale pink color and a fine and persistent perlage, and features aromas of white flowers, notes of apple and citrus, and scents of strawberry and raspberry. For more information regarding Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOC Rosé, visit http://www.casaprosecco.com.