VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani has obtained two letters sent to Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino (Brunello Producers Association) members in recent days by director Stefano Campatelli and by association president Patrizio Cencioni. Both letters address the members “pursuant to the [Italian] Treasury Department’s press conference a few days ago [see below] and news that has appeared in the media.”
In the first letter in question, director Campatelli does not confirm or deny that he was named in the Treasury Department’s findings among the seventeen persons found to have “cheated in commercial transactions” [translator’s note: official EU translation] and “falsely certified public documents.” He does, however, reveal that he was accused of said transgressions and explains his actions as follows:
“The accusation leveled at me is that of having allowed the sale of wines sourced from vineyards for which [an evaluation of] “light non-conformities” had been issued in relation to the presence of vines not in accordance with those prescribe by [Brunello di Montalcino] Appellation Regulations. In the view of the [Italian] Treasury Department, a[n evaluation of] “grave non conformity” should have been immediately issued and reported to the appropriate authorities (the Provincial Administration of Siena, the Siena Chamber of Commerce, and the ICQ [Inspectorate for Quality Control of Food and Farm Products]). In keeping with standard practices, the interpretation was to treat such situations as “light,” since it is possible to rectify the situation and bring it into conformity through grafting or by grubbing up the vines. This is what happened in nearly all of the cases.”
In the second letter, president Cencioni encourages members to project a “positive message” in the light of the Treasury’s findings and he announces that the auditing firm Valore Italia has been contracted to certify quality of association members in future.
VinoWire will continue to report on this story as new information emerges.