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“On September 24, we signed an historic pact: these two projects will characterize this territory for the next 10 years”.
So says Giuseppe Liberatore, Director of the Consortium of Chianti Classico Wine. He is referring to Chianti as a Rural District and the candidacy of the Chianti Territory as a Unesco heritage. WeChianti spoke to him.
Liberatore, why are you forming Chianti as a “Rural District”?
“Because this area is characterized by a key product… wine. And surrounding this key product, an excellent economy has been generated and will generate tourism, hospitality, restaurants, artisanship… all directly related. This is the concept of the District, of a central product around which an economy of products and services arise. I think that the Chianti region is one of those agricultural areas which are clearly characterized: it is a classic example of the Rural District, an area right for economy…”.
Agriculture as the kingpin of an entire system which develops and looks towards the future. Then how come the Mayor of Gaiole in Chianti, Michele Pescini, didn’t sign for its implementation?
“I don’t know. I saw what he said: he didn’t say no, but that he needs more time. I really hope that by reﬂecting upon the implications for his administration, for the companies, for the citizens, that he can reevaluate this position as soon as possible and quickly become part of the District area”.
Exactly… “District area”: not everyone is convinced of the borders outlined by the Consortium.
“The agreement made with the mayors foresees that the outlines are those recognized in 1932, those of wine. What is the novelty,? That we have extended the positive implications of the District to the wineries that are outside these borders, in the four townships that aren’t completely within the territory of Chianti Classico. However, the outlines of 1932 have to be stable. Until a short time ago, to speak about Chianti didn’t give certainty. With this operation, we are outlining the area without putting mayors who have an area partly within and partly outside the zone in difﬁculty. In other words, not creating major-league and minor league businesses. Everything that arrives in the District will pertain to all businesses, not only wineries”.
What about those who consider the importance of wine excessive in respect to other economic sectors?
“This is not a contest. Industry is another thing. We are speaking of something else. Let me make an example. Barberino has an important industrial zone, but we are promoting the agricultural development of the territory. That is why it is called “Rural District”, not “Industrial District”. And we are very happy to do it together with businesses and town administrations”.
From here to the candidacy of the Chianti territory as a Unesco heritage is a short path.
“Within the document, there are both the District and the candidacy. Here too, we believe that from this point of view, we had never dreamed of asking to belong to Unesco as a product. It is not by chance that we speak about Chianti and Chianti Classico. We found the solution, desired by the Unesco regulations, which considers the border zones decided in 1932, as well as other zones considered for continuity, as an extension. With these buffer zones we will arrive at the administrative borders. The formula that we have found is very interesting and innovative. It is that of ‘double geography’, which puts them both on the same level”.
Besides the fact that the building sector has been in trouble for a while, isn’t becoming a Unesco heritage going to block the potential of urban transformation?
“Of course not. We will constrain what is already constrained and nothing will be added. We have already evaluated everything with our consultants. We are not building a museum, but a dynamic and attractive territory”.
In other words, it is a path that will increasingly bring to the identiﬁcation of Chianti with Chianti Classico. This has been a sore spot for a while.
“From this point of view we want to make the identiﬁcation of Chianti (the territory) and Chianti Classico coincide. With due respect, it isn’t possible for Chianti to be claimed by areas like Bagno a Riipoli and Pontedera. But until you have the area recognized as such, you cannot even defend it. In this way, we will be able to begin to dot our “i’s”. We can ﬁnd defensive strategies”.
Can we say that residents of Chianti will beneﬁt in a tangible way?
“Of course. Because we will implement developmental politics regarding the territory. These acknowledgments will give us a great economic and developmental force (the District) and communication and image (Unesco)”.
“I believe that the Rural District of Chianti will arrive ﬁrst. At the moment they are honing some details. The Tuscan Region has assured us that it will proceed quickly.” In 2017? “I believe so. The Rural District of Chianti will be recognized, and we hope to have ﬁnished the process of being entered into the list of acknowledgment by UNESCO.”