Piedmont: Moscato growers reach accord, red wine producers receive government relief

Source: Sapori del Piemonte.

It took nine hours of negotiations to reach an accord between Moscato growers and Moscato d’Asti bottlers in Piedmont last week, thus averting an 11th-hour crisis for grape growers.

Claudio Sacchetto, regional assessor for the Piedmont agriculture authority, claimed victory, noting that the new 2-year contract brought higher prices for grape growers and helped to bolster their security by establishing new guidelines for yields and by limiting the amount of wine spumante producers can reserve at any given time (bottlers often reserve wine to be bottled and shipped as demand increases).

A spokesman for bottlers, Lorenzo Barbero (Campari) told an interviewer that “we could have reached an agreement much sooner” and called the agreement “counter productive,” noting that bottlers would have preferred to pay more for higher quality grapes instead of paying a fixed rate for the entire harvest.

The news of an agreement arrives in tandem with an announcement by Italian agricultural minister Giancarlo Galan that he has approved emergency distillation of 220,000 hectoliters of Barbera, Dolcetto, and Brachetto that Piedmont producers have been unable to sell.

“The entire administration is committed to addressing this serious crisis faced by some of the most celebrated DOCG and DOC wines in Piedmont, a land of excellence in the world of wine,” said the minister in a statement.

The announcement comes in the wake of a large protest organized by Piedmont winemakers and grape growers earlier this month in Asti.

As harvest begins, pricing agreement continues to elude Moscato growers

Reported by Filippo Larganà via Sapori del Piemonte.

Following weeks of tense negotiations, an agreement on pricing continues to elude producers of spumante and Moscato growers in Asti.

When reached for comment by the blog Sapori del Piemonte, the agricultural assessor for Piedmont, Claudio Sacchetto, was optimistic: “The parties are very close to an agreement,” he said, “Another meeting will be convened in coming days and I’m confident that we will arrive at a positive solution. But this will require a reasonable approach on both fronts.”

“We will not sign an agreement that calls for a mere pittance of an increase for grape growers,” said Giovanni Satragno, president of Assomoscato, an association that represents 2,000 of the 6,000 farmers who belong to the Moscato d’Asti industry.

“In the case that no agreement is reached,” said Lorenzo Barbera, spokesperson for Moscato d’Asti bottler Campari, “the wineries are prepared to negotiate [directly] with their own growers.”

As the Moscato grapes begin to change color, from green to gold, an agreement seems elusive. Some growers plan to begin harvesting as early as today, September 3.