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Vinitaly: Italian minister calls for ‘wine’ to be removed from alcohol-free products

The word ‘wine’ should be removed from alcohol-free wine products, according to Italian agricultural minister Francesco Lollobrigida, who is also the brother-in-law of Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni.

Lollobrigida, who works at the department for agriculture, food sovereignty and forestry (Masaf) made the comments at the opening of the country’s annual wine trade fair, Vinitaly.

He said: “Let’s make non-alcoholic drinks, but not call them wine.”

“Our wine is worth more than 8 billion in exports and is chosen on the domestic market because it expresses quality and gives safety. The best thing is to drink in moderation, quality products and at the right price, to give the right value to the supply chain, from those who produce grapes up to the winemakers, the processors and the distributors.

“We want to give balance and create wealth for the nation”.


Under-secretary at Masaf, Patrizio Giacomo La Pietra, said the country was making “really great progress regarding the promotion of the wine system”.

He also said it was “clear” that the sector needed strategies, and the wine industry needed “start getting around a table”  in order to understand what could be done against a decrease in consumption and production.

But, in addition, he stated that there needed to be “an increase in quality”, and events like Vinitaly would help to “get this message across”.

Luigi D’Eramo , also undersecretary of Masaf, added that the wine sector had to continue to “promote, defend and support the wine sector” which was one of the biggest parts of its agricultural output.


Image: Francesco Lollobrigida/Wikipedia/CC

The news follows Lollobrigida criticising plans released last year to put health warnings on wine bottle labels in Ireland, with wine producers also slamming the new rules.

In addition, the Comité Européen des Enterprises Vins (CEEV) and Spirits Europe have filed complaints to request that the European Commission opens an infringement procedure against Ireland’s controversial plans for new alcohol labelling legislation.

The measures, announced in June 2022, would see alcoholic beverage labels adorned with warnings about the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption. Some in the wine industry have argued that adding such warnings conflates moderate drinking with liver disease and cancer, which is an “insult” to winemakers, and the Italian wine industry has been especially incensed by Dublin’s plans.

Art of wine

Alongside the usual wine tastings, seminars and conferences, the event this year also has a second space created by Masaf in collaboration with the ministry of culture, including an immersive experience with multimedia installations, writings and art works, such as ‘Bacchanal’ by Pablo Picasso and ‘The Wedding at Cana’ by Garofalo.

As highlighted by db, famed Valpolicella producer Pasqua is also continuing its patronage of the arts with a project at the show, which is open to the general public.

Titled Onirica (), the audio visual installation will be open to the public from Monday (15 April) to Saturday (2o April), 12pm to 9pm, in the barrique cellar of Pasqua’s Località San Felice Extra winery, on the outskirts of Verona.

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