Not even Covid stops the Soave Consortium: following GIAHS recognition by the FAO in 2018, the adoption of additional geographical units within the scope of the designation in 2019, the Veneto consortium - representing more than eighty producers of one of the most famous Italian white wines in the world - stood firm in 2020 on markets thanks to large-scale distribution and consolidated exports. And in 2021 is looking towards China by attending the Wine to Asia event in Shenzen 8-10 June.
"We are witnessing a generational change among consumers and a revival of historic denominations," explained Chiara Maria Mattiello, marketing manager at the Soave Consortium who spoke live on the official Vinitaly instagram channel. "And having such a wonderful history and territory behind us is a trump card for standing firm on markets. Before the pandemic, we were working with great satisfaction in Canada and Japan. The first lockdown, thanks to staggered closures, did not unduly scare us, while the more recent closures in Germany and Belgium are more worrying. We are now looking forward to the restart by the Horeca channel, which is particularly important for small producers."
Territory and designation were keys to success in a difficult 2020 and it was precisely on these assets that the Soave Consortium focused in recent years.
Recognition of the Soave production area by the FAO dates back to 2018: “The 'Globally important agricultural heritage systems' is a FAO program that protects 57 rural landscapes around the world. Panoramas shaped over time by the hand of man in symbiosis with nature, not against it” said Mattiello. Fascinating, ancient places still capable of ensuring economic support for local communities. Only six of these landscapes are in Europe and only one of them is linked with wine-growing - precisely the area around Soave, a green wave of pergola vineyards standing on terraces with dry stone walls perched on hillsides cascading down towards the plain. These vineyards ensure that three thousand wine cellars in the area can produce one of the most famous Italian white wines in the world: Soave and the historic Recioto di Soave.
"A marvellous result was achieved in 2018 thanks to twenty years of studies into the local territory," Mattiello explained; "the opening of the Register of Italian Historic Rural Landscapes enabled us to apply for and obtain this recognition that culminated more recently with the publication of the volume 'Soave Terroir'."
The following year saw another step forward for the Soave denomination by grasping the opportunity of approval for additional geographical units. “It is an innovative legislative instrument," Chiara Maria Mattiello pointed out, "in that it allows denominations to select particularly vocational micro-areas and identify them with a name. In addition to achieving added value for the label, it is an important tool as regards wine traceability by providing certainty over the origin of the product that really does reach from the vineyard to the bottle."
Thirty-three "Geo Units", as we call them in the Consortium, were included in the production regulations and applications were made for a further 28 in 2020. Consequently, it is possible to recognize the origin of the grapes over a cultivated area of 7000 hectares ranging from an altitude 30 meters above sea level to 380 meters in the "classic zone" and 700 meters in Roncà-Monte Calvarina and with volcanic and chalky terroirs. These factors means that the freshness and acidity of the wine vary enormously. To conclude with the words of Chiara Maria Mattiello: "Garganega and its versatility is our common denominator but every Soave is different from another."