The approach of winemaking company to sustainability diversifies according to the objectives to be achieved, to quality standards or to companies reference values. That is why, early as 2004, the OIV (Internation Organization of Vine and Wine) wanted to give a message of homogeneity in the field. So it has drawn up a definition of sustainable viticulture outlining the general principles.
“Global approach commensurate to production systems and processing of grapes, associating at the same time the economic longevity of the structures and territories, the obtaining of quality products, taking into account the needs of precision viticulture, of the risks related to the environment, product safety, health of consumers and the enhancement of heritage, historical, cultural, ecological and aesthetic aspects.”
Whereas the word sustainability encloses all the natural practices present for years in agriculture, such as biological, biodynamics, permaculture or integrated agriculture.
The 4 main sustainability standards
The sustainability standards on which the viticulture companies’ activities is based are 4. 2 public systems, VIVA and SQNPI, and 2 privates, Equalitas and Tergeo.
VIVA and SQNPI
- VIVA is a project of the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Territory and Sea. The program has the goal to measure and improve the Italian viticulture supply chain sustainability. Through 4 indicators (air, water, vineyard and territory) the companies can make the business analysis of the product to determinate their social, environmental, and economic impact. This in order to indentify and improve eventual production processes in function of a major sustainability.
- SQNPI(National Integrated Production Quality System), it is a mark that can be used by all the operators in the field that belong to the European Union. Checks and certifications are carried out by third-parties specifically identified as independent.
Equalitas and Tergeo
- Equalitas S.r.l. is a society that aims to promote the sustainability of food and viticulture chains. The mission of Equalitas is the research of a unique national standard that maps out the principles of sustainability for all enterprises in the field. The standard is based on the certification of 3 aspects of viticulture: enterprise, finished product and territory.
- Tergeo is a project that promotes research and disclose innovative sustainable solutions. The initiative is promoted by the Italian Wine Union and today it has collected the membership of more than 300 Italian companies.
The unique standard of the future
As there is not yet a definition of sustainability structured at a European level, Italy sends a positive message to consumers. Today the confusion about the regulation on wine sustainability reigns supreme, as in the territory there are 4 different standards. Every brand regulates its protocol to follow in its own way, consequently the principles of sustainability turn out unclear.
That’s the reason why the Ministry of Agriculture realizes a unique national sustainability standard that will define the guidelines to follow. This standard will collect the best already tested ways and techniques of the 4 standard systems now in force, creating a unique guideline for everyone. This may take Italy to be the first country in the world to have a unique regulation for viticulture production sustainability.