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The 18 Franciacorta towns adopt a new, shared governance to protect their “sparkling wine” territory

by Federico De Cesare Viola

“A landmark agreement to continue on the path taken by Franciacorta to offer a high quality life or stay to inhabitants and to the increasing number of tourists.” This is how president of the Franciacorta Consortium, Maurizio Zanella, hailed the birth of the “Terra della Franciacorta”, a new model of governance with the aim of protecting and endorsing the territory and promoting sustainable development.

This is the first positive example of Ptra (Piano Territoriale Regionale d’Area, or Regional Territorial Plan Area) built within the boundaries of a wine denomination, in this case a Docg, a warranty mark used to show the exact point where the wine was made: the 18 towns of the Franciacorta region thus make up a new form of aggregation in a 262 square kilometer area inhabited by more than 146,000 people. Partners of the project are Franciacorta Consortium and the Cogeme Foundation Onlus (non-profit). President is Antonio Vivenzi, the mayor of Paderno Franciacorta.

DE CESARE VIOLA: President Zanella, what do you think should be the first areas of intervention?

ZANELLA: First of all, the construction of unnecessary buildings or facilities that are in contrast with the local economy must be avoided: shopping malls, industrial sites or landfills, for example. This does not mean blocking the construction industry. But it is useless to build new warehouses when there are already so many large and vacant ones. We must try to mitigate the ugliness that has been the result of past deeds. Then, we must maintain the identity of the area, find a common denominator, even an esthetic one. An example worth following is that of the Greek islands, that have created a very strong identity through the white houses and blue shudders. Finally, we must increase the number of accommodations, creating new agritourism sites and hotels, and promoting the cultural and artistic heritage of our territory, in an attempt to re-invest part of the money made by those who come and spend in Franciacorta.

DE CESARE VIOLA: How does wine play a role in this project?

ZANELLA: Terre della Franciacorta does not concern winemaking alone, rather the overall quality of life in Franciacorta. An enthusiast who drinks a glass of our wines in Tokyo, who then comes to visit Franciacorta must find a territory that expresses the same quality level found in the wine. The agreement that we signed was immediately enforced: regarding the new EU regulation on plant protection, for example, we managed to create a single regulation between the 18 towns so that it could be used on all of the vineyards.

DE CESARE VIOLA: Less than a month from its closing, what is your evaluation of Expo Milano 2015 and of its contribution to the discovery of the Franciacorta territory and brand?

ZANELLA: The numbers that we saw in September are incredible: we recorded an average of 700 glasses a day sold to a very mixed public at our wine bar. Forty per cent of the consumers had never heard of Franciacorta and this means that we got our name out to new enthusiasts from all over the world.