On June 17th, the second edition of the “Sustainability Report” of the Trentino Wine Consortium was presented at the extraordinary MUSE in Trento.

I read the report carefully and appreciated it for two main reasons:

it clearly explains the concrete commitment of Trentino’s wine companies to sustainability; it presents a transparent snapshot of the current structure of Trentino’s wine sector starting from the numbers. It should also be noted how the Report presents objective data, resulting from collaboration with the member wineries of the Consortium, and in particular with the 23 entities (16 cooperatives and 7 private) that represent 97% of the Trentino’s wine-growing surface. This data highlights on one hand the great concentration of wine production in a few entities and on the other the fragmentation of the production fabric. In fact, of the 170 Trentino wine companies (including 16 cooperatives), only 1.6% have a surface area of over 10 hectares, while 56% of the companies have an area under one hectare. Furthermore, it should be noted that 47.3% of Trentino wineries produce between 100 and 1,000 hl of wine per year, and only 8 exceed 50,000 hl, with only 1 reaching 100,000 hl.

In essence, the wine-producing agricultural enterprises represent 89.9% of the total number of Trentino companies but less than 6% in terms of production. Meanwhile, the cooperatives (8.8%) hold 85% of the production (the remaining 9% is produced by the commercial-industrial sector).

The Report therefore offers a clear picture of the Trentino wine sector, which is a fundamental prerequisite for being credible on the topic of sustainability, telling their productive reality without omissions.

Always on the data front, there are about 10,200 hectares of vineyards in Trentino, equivalent to 1.6% of the national wine-growing surface. A not very large surface but characterized by strong heterogeneity that makes Trentino a sort of small enological continent.

This heterogeneity manifests itself both in the many different pedo-climatic conditions of Trentino’s production areas – from the Valle dei Laghi to the Val di Cembra passing through the Piana Rotaliana – but also from the rich ampelographic base where Pinot Grigio is still the main protagonist, representing almost 30% of the varieties cultivated in the province.

In second place is another international variety, Chardonnay, which represents 27% of the total. If we add Muller Thurgau with almost 9% to these first two, we can say that about 65% of Trentino’s vineyards are based on three international varieties which, however, have found an absolutely suitable habitat in this wine-growing area for expressing their best characteristics.

An area where altitude plays an important role since Trentino’s vineyards are located in a range between 200 and 1,000 meters above sea level (the highest vineyard is located at 1,044 m asl), which is a decidedly positive factor that limits or at least reduces the impact of climatic changes.

Another important characteristic of Trentino’s wine sector is the training system still largely represented by the “Pergola Trentina.”

Moving on to the specific topic of sustainability, another important peculiarity of the Consortium’s Sustainability Report is that it addresses all stakeholders involved at various levels on this issue.

In addition to the protagonists in wine production (the associated wineries, agricultural companies, and winemakers), all subjects involved at various levels in the economic, environmental, and social spheres (Autonomous Province of Trento, Trentino Cooperative Federation, Masaf, Consortium of Trentino Municipalities, and local communities, as well as all trade associations, research institutions, the Chamber of Commerce, and credit and insurance institutions), including a panel of media and final consumers, were involved in the preparation of the Report. All subjects were presented with a demanding questionnaire that covered 18 themes related to sustainability and which led to the selection of 8 material themes that were the subject of the drafting of the Consortium’s Report:

Value for members, for Trentino wine, and its protected denominations, Strengthening the identity and image of Trentino’s wine sector, Ensuring the quality and safety of wine productions and denominations, Monitoring, managing, and reducing the use of phytosanitary products in viticulture, Promoting the rational use of water resources among members and agricultural companies, Informing, raising awareness, and communicating the value of wine to consumers, Innovating the wine sector through technical assistance and training, Increasing the resilience of the agricultural system to climate change. A very extensive work “which, however, today places the Trentino wine sector at the forefront of sustainability, representing a valuable virtuous example for the sustainable growth of other productive areas of our country.”

It must absolutely be highlighted that Trentino is the absolute leader in Italy in adhering to the National Quality System of Integrated Production (SQNPI) with almost all certified wine companies (in 2022 there were 5,457) and 80% of the involved surface.

An important endorsement in this regard comes from Giuseppe Ciotti, an official of the General Directorate for Rural Development MASAF, who spoke at the presentation of the Report: “One thing is sustainable practices, another thing is the concept of sustainability, which must be traced back to a very complex development model that we can frame with this second Sustainability Report. The element that makes the difference is the involvement of productive realities in the area. Sustainability cannot be guaranteed by the individual company, but involves about 80% of the Consortium’s vineyard surface in the SQNPI certification. This is a guarantee to safeguard aspects that go beyond environmental protection, involving the social component which is an integral part of the economic fabric.”