Why Benvenuto Brunello must remain in Montalcino
Benvenuto Brunello 2012 is only five days away and I would like to explain why I’m against moving this event to Florence and want to keep it in Montalcino
Seen for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
During the past few days and during a recent mission to the USA with the Consorzio del Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the producers of Brunello and mostly I have been often solicited so that the previews of the Tuscan red wines became a large event to be organized in the Stazione Leopolda in Florence. I have underlined to everyone and everywhere how contrary I am, as I did to the Regional councillor Gianni Salvadori a few months ago.
I know that the mayor of Montalcino Maurizio Buffi shares my opinion as does the majority of the producers, but as these requests continue, and those who are favourable are increasing in number including the President of the Chianti Giovanni Busi I would like to clarify the reasons for my NO.
I am not being difficult; this doesn’t come from being egoistic blind or from incapacity to be part of a team. I know very well that using the Stazione Leopolda there would be a great saving for the producers of Montalcino. Also know how important t would be to be part of a group and be “offered” to the market all together, all the Tuscan producers united. But on the other hand there are two problems which in my opinion make this change of location not at all convenient for Montalcino.
First of all I would like to say something: in the consumer’s perception of the quality of a bottle, the value is equal to one third of the total, while the rest depends on symbolic values. As Fabio Taiti says
<<the imaginary prevails over reality>>. Among the immaterial values are the price, commercial positioning and image, which in turn are made up of experts’ opinions, the de nomination, the vintage, the territory…. Quite, the territory with its landscapes, with its special
way of life specific to Vineyard territories, with that passion for work in the cellar that from the older generation is passed down to the younger ….
In Montalcino there is something more, because the beauty of the countryside have helped it be declared part of the world heritage by Unesco, then there are the old time grape growers to the glamour personalities such as the artist Sandro Chia, the high fashion brand Ferragamo, Illy who has brought Italian coffee to dominate the worlds highest segment and then Richard Parsons who we have seen next to the President Obama, Ernesto Bertarelli who with who with his boat Alinghi has twice won the America’s Cup …… Not to mention the personalities in wine making: from Biondi Santi to Gaja, from Antinori to Giacomo Neri and those who take
Brunello to the important worldwide events such as Frescobaldi at the wedding banquet for William and Kate at Buckingham Palace.
This is the frame and the Brunello di Montalcino myth. This is what must surround the bottles during Benvenuto Brunello. For this we have created an event in the historic buildings in the centre of Montalcino: the Gothic cloister of Sant’Agostino, the 16th century Palazzo Pieri, the theatre and the Palazzo Vescovile. This is the place where the Brunello population has its roots; this is the land which the new producers have chosen for producing their wines.
There is another reason which is strictly economic. Brunello has created tourism and daily excursions upon which a sort of economy which necessitates labour nearly as much as the agriculture. I’m not talking about the 10% of Montalcino wines sold in the area, or the 18 wine stores, but also about the 31 restaurants, the 1777 beds in hotels and country inns, the transport and travel agencies….and the florists, the petrol station, the hairdressers and all the
activities that are not directly touristic, however tank to tourism increase their sales. A productive network that in my opinion must be better organized but already now is a pillar of the local economy.
But, the tourist is an unfaithful lover, always attracted by what is new. If we want him to continue coming to Montalcino it is indispensable to increase the myth of the Brunello territory, offering novelties, protecting what is existent and increasing communication. Benvenuto Brunello, with its 220 journalists is useful for this reason. This year the Regione Toscana has suppressed the APT tourist offices, and has greatly reduced the budget for touristic promotion. This is definitely not reassuring for the future of our tourism. Montalcino is 125 km from the nearest airport, 112 from high velocity rail service, and 44 from the Motorway. In an era where accessibility is of primary importance in tourism, we are greatly at a disadvantage. For this reason we give in, Benvenuto Brunello must be held here on our territory.
I understand the reasoning of my colleagues in Chianti Classico and in Chianti who would like the big event in the Stazione Leopolda in Florence. Florence is strictly connected to their territory and to their history but it is not so for Brunello. For us it is not enough to be able to take the press to Montalcino after the tasting, as has been proposed.
For us it is important that the 4.000 operators who reach Benvenuto Brunello see our territory. We are ready to do team work with the Tuscan colleagues, maybe doing something together in Florence, but Benvenuto Brunello, in my opinion, must stay in Montalcino.