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Vino al Vino, the Panzano Wine Festival, is back. From Thursday 12th September to Sunday, September 15th, piazza Bucciarelli in Panzano in Chianti will be filled with the aromas of the wines produced by local wine producers (from the Unione Viticoltori Panzano association), with lively music and the clinking of glasses.

The 2019 edition has something a little special. The reason is explained by Cosimo Gericke, from the Fattoria di Rignana, the new president of the association.

What is the Vino al Vino festival going to be like this year?

“It’s going to be a truly beautiful edition, organised for the 25th anniversary of the Unione Viticoltori Panzano. The association has a new council, and we are all young (on average a little below the general trend in the agricultural world). We all get on very well. I think our strength comes from the fact that not everybody is from Tuscany, some of us are German, French and American. Maybe this is the reason why we have a broader vision, for us there’s no such as thing as parochialism”.

Should the fans of the festival expect something new?

“There will be a retrospective on our Chianti Classico wines, and we’ll be tasting wines from the 1999 and 2009 vintages. In the square you’ll find all the producers. This year there’s a new addiction, a French wine maker who has just bought a local estate. It’s good to see that foreigners invest in our territory. It means they believe in us, and this gives us confidence to invest in our future”.

Wine production forecast: what is 2019 going to be like?

“It will be like when we were kids, when the grape harvest started in October. This year May was cold and rainy, at the end of the month the weather suddenly changed and the heat arrived. The vines needed time to get used to the heat, and their growth slowed down a bit. Summer was cool, with many thunderstorms, fortunately in the Panzano area they didn’t do any damage. This year there won’t be a great quantity of grapes, but they are beautiful and healthy. High acidity, for now sugar levels aren’t high. The grapes need good weather to complete their ripening process”.

What path has the Unione Viticoltori Panzano traced in the Chianti Classico?

“We have been leading the way by bringing wine producers together. Nowadays unity is the only way for small and medium-sized wine companies. Organic is vital. Small companies must embrace the principles of organic production, cultivating the land without damaging people and the environment. We value the territory as a whole. The Gran Selezione wines give us further impetus to link wine to territory and the vineyards”.

So we assume that you’re in favour of the “additional geographical designations” project?

“Of course we agree with this project, even if it’s fundamental to remain under the umbrella of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico. It’s important to give specific value to each territory, while remaining united. We’re planning some tastings with the various Chianti Classico groups to compare the wines”.

Finally, tell me why … should I get in the car and attend Vino al Vino?

“Because in this festival you can have a complete view of the Panzano wine territory, which is at the very heart of the Chianti Classico. You’ll enjoy tasting the wines of one specific area which are connected by a single red thread. And because our wines are organic, we’ll get the chance to talk to producers and wine lovers “.

Matteo Pucci