The repositioning of Pinot Grigio

How the new Consorzio DOC delle Venezie aims to promote ‘higher quality’ examples

 

Pinot Grigio vineyards in the Triveneto region

The repositioning of Pinot Grigio
  • Chris Boiling
  • 2019-02-19
The delle Venezie DOC, set up in 2017 to revive the reputation of Pinot Grigio with a new ‘Stile Italiano’, attended new show Wine Paris last week with the first bottles of the 2018 harvest.
Albino Armani, president of the Consorzio DOC delle Venezie, claims the vintage is of “outstanding quality that we believe will provide an encouraging boost to the growing curiosity and interest that buyers and the foreign press have shown” in the region’s DOC-certified Pinot Grigios.

Albino - resize
Canopy met up with Albino (above) to uncover what the delle Venezie DOC means by “new Stile Italiano Pinot Grigio”.
Actually, it’s not really a new style. Albino told Canopy the delle Venezie DOC is trying to promote a style that already exists in Triveneto’s three regions – Veneto, Friuli-Venezia and Trentino – but has been overshadowed by lower-quality wines claiming to be Pinot Grigio from elsewhere in northeast Italy and around the world.
The delle Venezie DOC is encouraging its producers to plant more vines to cope with the increasing popularity of the grape, but to reduce yields. Members of the consortium must use at least 85% Pinot Grigio in wines labelled as such, and they will be subject to more stringent controls and traceability throughout the production process. A dedicated control body, Triveneta Certificazioni, has been set up to carry out the work.

'The aim is to certify the origin and traceability of the most exported Italian white wine in the world'
After the wines have been bottled, they will be blind-tasted by a panel before being awarded the Italian government’s seal of approval – a paper sash that goes over the closure.
“The new name ‘delle Venezie’,” said Albino, “was born with the project to certify the origin and traceability of the most exported Italian white wine in the world, with the ambition to bring a quality to the consumer and a different style of the Pinot Grigio of Triveneto, obtained with the reduction of yields per hectare and a rigorous chain of organoleptic controls and analysis.”
The consorzio’s Nazareno Vicenzi told Canopy the launch of the delle Venezie DOC was in response to people saying: “I do not like Pinot Grigio; it is a watery wine without any flavour, intensity or pleasantness.”

Pinot Grigio bottles at Wine Paris - resize
More than 80 labels were available for tasting at the consorzio’s stand in Wine Paris to get buyers excited again for a wine that is “balanced, vibrant, fruity and with great character”.
Wine Paris was the first event, “kicking off a new year of powerful promotional activities for the consorzio,” said Albino.
The programme will include events in the USA, Germany, UK, Russia, and Italy this year. As well as the Prowein, Vinitaly and London wine fairs, the consorzio also plans to promote the concept of “higher quality” Pinot Grigio wines to the trade and consumers in the USA – a “huge and crucial market,” according to Albino – and Russia (Moscow and St Petersburg).
The programme will culminate with a presentation in Venice, “the heart of the production region”, on October 12-13.
Albino added: “Our goal of repositioning the Pinot Grigio from north-eastern Italy with a strong regional identity has us looking confidently to the future.”

Some figures

  • 45% of the global production of Pinot Grigio comes from Italy, according to the Consorzio DOC delle Venezie, and 85% of this is concentrated in the Triveneto area, which includes the Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions and the autonomous province of Trento.
  • The United States consumes 37% of Italy’s Pinot Grigio, followed by Great Britain with 27% and Germany with 10%, according to the consorzio
  • Approximately 24,500ha of Pinot Grigio were under vine in the Triveneto area in 2017.

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