• Soave’s Consorzio sets the course for its 2,500 producers

    With some 2,500 members comprising growers and producers across the region, The Consorzio of Soave (Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave e Recioto di Soave to give its full title) has a lot to get right. Particularly in ensuring its rules and regulations allow its members to do what they do best; make classic quality wine from this important Italian wine region. We catch up with the Consorzio’s new president, Sandro Gini, and board member Matteo Inama, of the Inama winery, to hear what opportunities and challenges they think the region is facing.

    With some 2,500 members comprising growers and producers across the region, The Consorzio of Soave (Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave e Recioto di Soave to give its full title) has a lot to get right. Particularly in ensuring its rules and regulations allow its members to do what they do best; make classic quality wine from this important Italian wine region. We catch up with the Consorzio’s new president, Sandro Gini, and board member Matteo Inama, of the Inama winery, to hear what opportunities and challenges they think the region is facing.

    mm By September 6, 2018

    Soave is enjoying a revival in the trade as more trade buyers and diners return to this classic, trusted producer of quality white wines. Behind the scenes its growers, producers and governing body are working together to ensure it has the right styles of wine for them to buy.

    Sandro Gini, president Consorzio of Soave

    soave-producer

    What do you feel about becoming the president of the Consorzio? 

     I’ve always been a Consorzio member, and my father, Olinto, was one of the founders, so we strongly believe on it. One day, in April, I was looking at my family tree, and I realized that I was the 14th generation of grape growers. I’ve felt the responsibility to be the leader of a group of producers that have the same passion and common objectives, and the entire board is now working together with renewed enthusiasm.

     What are your main objectives? 

    We want to improve the quality of the wines in the region, to offer a Soave enriched of the values of this territory on the markets, starting from the 33 Geographic Units. I want to involve in this process every single operator in this network, from the grape growers to the winemakers, from the oenologists to the agronomists.

    We need to redefine the values, and to improve the quality. The communication has to be directed to the consumers, to make them aware of the history and the importance of this system and the versatility of its wines.

     What are the challenges facing the consortium to meet those objectives? 

    The main challenge is to change the perception and make people aware of what a premium Soave has to be. Soave is one of the greatest white wines in the world, with ageing potential, but in the same time it is fresh and savoury when drunk young. The different styles, the soils, make it an “unicum” of versatility in the world.

    How do you see the Soave region now in terms of the wine it is making? 

    We have a particular system made of small wineries and social cooperatives that is in balance. Every one of them make the best choices for their markets. But luckily, we have still improvements to do and this is the reason why, involving all the operators, we want to raise the quality in each single level.

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     What improvements in style and viticulture have there been? 

    In the last 10 years there have been lots of changes in the appellation. Important technical introductions have been made to the styles to make them more distinctive and to show off the ability of the winemakers. We have also seen new wineries opening up with very young owners who are looking to  produce premium wines.

    We have also had to face some complex vintages, that needed close attention in the vineyards to overcome. But that is always our challenge – finding solutions to solve new problems.

     What do you need to do to make sommeliers more aware of those changes? 

    We need to talk with every one of them, make them understand what has changed in the appellation and the greater potential they have now given the wines.   

    Ultimately we want every producer to cooperate together for all our futures. Working together for a common purpose to raise quality and perception in the market.

    How important is the UK to you? 

    The UK represent 19% of the entire exports of Soave.  We are working with Sarah Abbott  MW and her team to communicate better in this strategic market and to take the right choices for the future.

    What steps do you expect Soave to take in next five years? 

    The two biggest changes are around product specification and the fact all bottling of Soave wine has to be done in the Verona Province. Then there is the introduction of the 33 UGA (Geographic units). These are two important steps if we are to achieve our objectives. We are also working on a main programme of activity for the next three years, that will involve everyone in the region, that will look to reposition Soave in the global market

     

    Matteo, Inama, managing director, Inama Estate 

    matteo-inama

     What do you see as the main objectives of the Consorzio? 

    The Consorzio represents Soave all over the world. Together we should all work closer and share the same objectives , there are also new producers making better and better wines that need greater visibility.

    Thankfully after many years of uncertainty and mass production driven strategies, there is a clear common will to move on and work together to create a better product. I hope this will help Soave regain the reputation it had in the old times and help us face up to the huge competition we are all facing. We want Soave to be recognised as a world class wine region. 

    What are the main steps that need to be taken? 

    Firstly we need to define specific geographic areas, secondly we must stop bottling of Soave wine outside the Verona province and thirdly we need to  better control our production and how it is being sold  in key markets. Lastly we need to bring in more external help and top consultants to help us market our wines better. It’s time to rebuild the sense of community and share the same objectives.

    What are your objectives now you are a board member? 

    I want to be able to help define the strategies, mediate between different interests, and accelerate the short and long term results

     We need to bring all the azienda agricola producers together and define our own unique parameters of quality, backed up with a tangible marketing strategy. We also have to control the quality of the production across the DOC and then use that quality to promote different levels.

     What are the challenges in doing that? 

    The challenge is to mediate what is a very complex political situation with huge volumes of wine being produced by the cooperatives. At the same time there needs to be more emphasis and energy in promoting the high end wines so that can help generate a new Soave trend.

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    How do you see the Soave region now in terms of the wine it is making? 

    Unfortunately the amount of producers making interesting high end  wine is very small in respect to the total production. We hope the Consorzio will motivate the birth of new producers and control mass production and bring better quality. 

    What improvements in style and viticulture have there been?

    A lot of Soave producers are moving away from the diluted and neutral style, that is often driven from overcropping. We are also seeing more estates move over to an organic philosophy in a bid to grow better grapes

     What do you need to do to get that message through to buyers and sommeliers?

    We need to create a clearer category, with specific areas on the labels that reflect their importance and quality levels such as “Superiore”. We are working on this. 

    Would you like to see more changes and developments in style? If so what? 

    Even if Soave have more and more expressive examples, there is still space for improvement, especially in viticulture. This will take a lot of time, as very few understand that if you want to pull up the quality and the price of your wines, you need to invest in the vineyard. 

    Also less standardized cellar techniques are needed. Soave producers should travel more to well known wine areas to compare the best ways to bring out the grapes identity. I hope the Consorzio can help organise some specific tastings to help do this.

    How important is the UK to you and what work do you do there? 

    The UK is one of our most important markets, the culture of wine is huge there and customers are open and understand quality. Inama sells Soave Classico through retailers such as Majestic and Waitrose, as well as many indepedent retailers and in the on-trade throughout the UK.” 

     

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