Guest opinion: Montalcino mayor Maurizio Buffi defends administration’s handling of the Brunello controversy

In a related story, on Friday, November 14, members of the Brunello producers association voted for a second time — and this time “unanimously” — not to allow grapes other than Sangiovese in the production of Brunello di Montalcino. A handful of association members chose not to vote.

In an interview published on November 17 by Il Cittadino, journalist Roberto Cappelli asked Montalcino mayor Maurizio Buffi if the “Brunello affair” should or could have been handled differently. (The mayor and the Brunello Consortium have been widely criticized for not having addressed the controversy publicly.) The “Brunello affair,” said the mayor, was due to a “media drinking binge” and not to inaction by him or the Consortium. The following is an excerpt of the interview (translation by VinoWire):

    If you ask me how I reacted, I will tell you that after an initial moment of profound indignation and great concern — since the business economy of our territory is based on Brunello — the reaction was discussed, agreed up, and implemented in cooperation [with the Consortium and its members].

    I’d like to recognize, or rather, I’d like to thank all of the politic forces present in the Muncipal Council, who, without anyone trying to take advantage of the situation, worked to find a resolution and together implemented the strategies decided upon.

    In regard to the Township of Montalcino, as you can imagine, much of the administration’s business and communication is extremely confidential and, at the present, cannot be revealed. Having said that, I believe that the administration’s role could not have been and could not be anything else but that of arbitrator.

    Our consistent two-fold goal was that of avoiding any rift within the Consortium and to allow the body to make any type of decision independently. Producers and associated companies strongly urged us to protect both public perception and the economy of the sector, which includes 250 companies and 2,500-3,000 employees (half of our township’s population). I’d like to underline that during these difficult months, our contact and communication with the Consortium’s highest officials was constant, extremely serious, and responsible.

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