Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Comparing vineyards and wine for Franco Bernabei, oenologist, is a family vocation. Previous generations did it for decades and ones that followed him are still doing it.

Franco had a lengthy conversation with WeChianti about the hypothesis of Chianti Classico zonation.

Bernabei, favorable to Chianti Classico zonation?

“I have been doing this job for 30 years and I am very much in favor of zonation. We didn’t just invent the profession of oenologist. My children are the fifth-generation in the wine growing sector. This type of discussion is very important for Chianti Classico”.

What are the pros and cons that could lead to this choice?

“There aren’t any cons. Everything favors zonation. If we improve the sub zones all we are doing is improving territories, terrain, the housing sector, giving an increased value to wine. We do it with territorial and municipal zones like Burgundy and Bordeaux. Nothing has to be created. Everything is already written. Perhaps we will have to give accommodations to regulations, which need to be re-signed with the borders of the areas”.

What could be its effect on the making of wine: that is, would it be something to apply to wines that are already produced or could it bring modifications to production?

“It is important to make an accurate study of zonation, the terrain, where those with a grand vocation are located, the characteristics that are in favor of wine. Those who have vineyards in low areas will have to evaluate the possibility of going higher. Or they could produce good basic Chianti Classico. Will the pyramid, vintage – reserve –Grand Selezione eight remain? Certainly. In a project like this, I would evaluate giving a territorial domination to the top production of the wineries that produce and bottle, perhaps declassifying to ‘Chianti Classico’ for the sale of bulk wine”.

Does the area of Chianti Classico lend itself to such an operation? Are there important differentiations between the zones to justify it?

“It is a wonderful operation especially for this territory. I hope that it happens soon. After that, we need something else. There are approximately 70,000 hectares of woods and planting land as compared to 7000 of vineyards. This type of operation can give way to the most beautiful park in the world… Chianti Classico Park. With its micro-climates and grand biodiversity, we have characteristics that nobody can take away”.

What about the market? Would it reward this choice?

“The market has been perceiving the concept of zones and municipalities for a long time. Journalists already say they have tasted wine from this or that specific area. They know how to choose very well and for them it is an added value. The market is ready, and obviously everything must be studied gradually. With this type of operation, producers will unite in a bigger way. I am convinced that they will become even stronger. Look at what happened in Panzano, an experience that others should take as example”.

Matteo Pucci