Una stagione di avversità, un raccolto di qualità | Consorzio Vini di Romagna
Mosaico di Vita | Consorzio Vini di Romagna
December 2023 | Territory

Harvesting Quality in the Face of Adversity

Six months have passed since 350 million cubic meters of water engulfed the territory, particularly the winemaking area of Romagna, leaving the region to deal with the aftermath. Despite the adversities that have deeply affected the area, the region is maintaining a positive outlook for the future.

Emilia-Romagna’s wine industry – with its 2,753 wineries – counts 53,000 hectares of vineyards managed by approximately 16,000 companies. A considerable number of these, especially in the side of Romagna, has suffered the blow of the flood last May 15. The aftermath of that night presented Romagna's producers with an unprecedented emergency situation, which brought out the resilient spirit of Romagna locals in the face of adversity. 

As we wrap up 2023, we talked about challenges and future prospects with Roberto Monti, President of the Consorzio Vini di Romagna.  

President Monti, 2023 has been a challenging year. 

The year did not run short of hardships! A dry winter was followed by sporadic spring frosts that affected some valley floors and flatland areas. Then, we experienced heavy rainfall in May that led to floods on the plains and landslides on the hills, causing direct and indirect damage to the vineyards.  

Which areas suffered major damage? 

Definitely the vineyards on the hills: the impracticality of roads and fields resulted in delayed interventions, stimulating the spread of downy and powdery mildew, which led to a significant decline of production, although damage did not reach the same levels as those seen in other regions of Central and Southern Italy. To make matters worse, we also experienced hailstorms, violent whirlwinds and flavescence dorée. Furthermore, some companies also had to halt their business activities due to road closures, as was the case in the areas between Modigliana and Brisighella. 

Was there an impact on production? How is the quality? 

On average, estimated production for hillside wineries is between -20% and -25%. However, we can assure good quality: the stable and sunny weather in the second half of summer, especially the favorable diurnal temperature variation in late August and September, have had a decisive influence on grape quality. The grapes are beautiful and perfectly healthy, revealing suitable sugar concentration and balanced acidity. Proper winemaking processes can enhance the characteristics of this production and bring out results with excellent quality. Positive data also come from vineyards with higher yields per hectare and not destined for PDO productions. 

An optimistic assessment despite the difficulties. Where does the future lead to? 

Quality is the road to take: the trend from recent vintages paints a clear picture of how climate change is a reality we must face. Amidst the succession of dry seasons and extraordinary weather phenomena, the only solution is focusing on quality in the vineyard to enhance production through designations of origin.  

This is where the Consorzio comes into play, consistently standing alongside producers to protect designations of origin, dedicating utmost attention in communicating and promoting Romagna wines. 2023 will long be remembered as a challenging year, but also one in which the passion and commitment of our producers as well as the unity of the members have been a beacon of hope and success for the industry.