Consorzio Valpolicella and Famiglie Storiche end 8-year legal dispute
The eight-year long dispute between two organisations over the use of the ‘Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG’ term has finally been resolved, it has been confirmed.
The dispute began in 2015 between the Consorzio delle Valpolicella, which represents 2,280 members, including 326 bottlers, responsible for 8,586 hectares of vineyards, and Famiglie Storiche, the Historical Families Association. This group of 13 companies together accounts for around 22-23% of the total turnover of the denomination, managing around 800 hectares of vineyards dedicated to Amarone.
The roller-coaster of litigations and fights unfolded a bit like Verdi’s powerful opera, Aida. However, in place of an Ethiopian princess held captive in Egypt and in love with the General chosen to lead a war against her native country, here it is Amarone wine and the reputation of Valpolicella at stake.
As outlined by Italian publication Reppublica, the disagreement centred on the use of the Amarone trademark. The Ministry of Agriculture determined this belonged to the Consortium, however this decision was challenged by the Historical Families Association, who took the case to court. Two judgements, in 2017 and 2019, ruled in favour of the Consorzio, but the Historical Families Association started to appeal these at the Court of Cessation – although the appeal was later withdrawn in order to resolve the dispute.
Over the last year, there have been positive rumours regarding a potential peace treaty and today (18 May) the Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella and Famiglie Storiche announced the resolution of the dispute in a joint press statement.
“We have settled all pending litigation between us concerning the use of the ‘Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG’,” the statement said.
“The Consorzio and Famiglie Storiche share the purpose of taking action, each according to its own competences, for the development of the ‘DOCG Amarone della Valpolicella’ and of the other Valpolicella designations, fostering an environment of fair competition among producers, mutual respect, cooperation and dialogue.” it said.
“They underline the importance of the protection of the ‘DOCG Amarone della Valpolicella’ and other designations in this territory and of their promotion in Italy and abroad, with the aim of promoting their knowledge and consolidating their success, in the best interest of the whole community.”
Christian Marchesini, president of the Consorzio della Valpolicella, thanked the “very good president” of Famiglie Storiche, Pierangelo Tommasi for the successful agreement that had been found, as well as the seven wine estates – Cantina di Soave, Cantina Colognola ai Colli, Sartori Vini, Roccolo Grassi,Corte Sigaretto, Corte Rugolin and Ztymè – who waived “any compensation for damages on unfair competition” in order to resolve the dispute.
He also said he trusted the wineries of Famiglie Storiche would join the Consorzio, telling Reppublica that the organisation had “open doors for all users of the denomination, and we hope for a return of family farms into the system.”
Pierangelo Tommasi told the drinks business that he was satisfied with the result, which everyone had been working on for some time, noting that it “could have arrived sooner but took longer than expected due to bureaucracy”.
He also praised the “path of dialogue with the Consortium” that had been started by his friend and predecessor Alberto Zenato, which he had taken pleasure in completing.
“Today a new page opens and the will for both the Consortium and the Historical Families is to work with mutual respect and for the good of the denomination,” he said. “The Historical Families Association will continue to exist because it has been sharing values and ideas for 14 years, as well as owning the historic Antica Bottega del Vino [a gastronomic haven in the centre of Verona].”
Tommasi did not directly confirm if the Historical Families Association would formally join the Consortium, telling Reppublica “We will see in the future: we will talk about it in the family group – but already this conclusion is important.”
Additional reporting by Arabella Mileham