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Delle Venezie promotes Pinot Grigio’s potential

Newly-appointed Consorzio Tutela Vini DOC Delle Venezie director Flavio Innocenzi tells db about how Pinot Grigio can be promoted to the next generation of wine drinkers.

While Pinot Grigio is cultivated throughout the world, Innocenzi argued during an interview at this year’s Vinitaly that Delle Venezie, Italy’s second largest designation of controlled origin, offers something different: “It’s a unique combination of factors, from a geographical, historical and cultural point of view, but also politically, because it’s the first and only project that is combining three different regions [Veneto, Trento and Friuli Venezia Giulia].”

“There is a huge terroir,” continued Innocenzi. “It is between the Alps and the sea, with Lake Garda moderating the temperature and creating a unique environment for wine growing. This is why it has become the home of Pinot Grigio. There is also a cultural aspect, dating back to the Republic of Venice, ‘La Serenissima’. It’s a lifestyle matter, there is tradition, but, as far as consumption and production are concerned, what we are doing is exploring the potential of this variety.”

One such variation is Ramato, otherwise known as ‘blush’, a copper-coloured style (hence the name) made using skin contact. Innocenzi noted that it is gaining popularity, though, at present, represents just 4% of production.

“In the end, this wine is the music of the territory, the expression of the territory. So we want to find different ways to communicate, especially to young people who are not drinking as much anymore.”

When asked what language can be used to speak to a new generation of consumers, Innocenzi replied: “Music, freshness, just being ourselves. This is a refreshing wine, easy, approachable and light, and we think that this is what people are looking for more and more.”

Given Innocenzi’s experience in the promotion of Asiago cheese, which is also produced in Veneto, he foresees pairing becoming a big part of Delle Venezie’s promotional strategy: “We want to pair a light wine with a light cheese, a PDO cheese with a wine with an appellation of origin. They are similar expressions of the same territory, different points of view of the same cultural concept – a geographical indication.”

Innocenzi suggests that younger, fresher Asiago pairs well with the standard Pinot Grigio, while aged examples of the cheese hold up better alongside Ramato expressions. “They’re fresh, accessible and sexy products,” he remarked.

Given the popularity of Venice as a holiday destination, wine tourism to Delle Venezie is on the up: “It is growing, maybe too much. We don’t want to exploit it, we just want to connect with people. They [tourists] know Pinot Grigio more than Italians – it’s a paradox.”

Innocenzi stated that he felt Pinot Grigio “was a victim of its own success”, due to its immense international popularity causing some consumers to consciously overlook it.

To rectify this, Innocenzi said that it is important to emphasise that Pinot Grigio is not an “easy variety” to grow: “In fact, it’s a very difficult variety to cultivate, one of the most difficult, and it can create wines with very good characteristics. The fact that it has had success on the market does not mean that it is not a wine that can express itself.”

Related reading:

DOC delle Venezie toasts increasing appreciation of Pinot Grigio

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