TrentoDoc Could Become Italy’s First Organic & Sustainable Sparkling Wine DOC if Ferrari, Region’s Largest Wine Producer’s Vision Becomes Reality
For sparkling wine lovers with a conscience, there is good news from Italy’s TrentoDoc when it comes to the search for organic and sustainability-produced bubbly.
This appellation could be fully organic and sustainable within the next decade, and you can enjoy the fruits of these ongoing efforts today.
These sustainability efforts are being led by TrentoDoc’s largest sparkling-wine producer, Ferrari.
But first, here’s some background on the region.
Located in Northeast Italy within the larger Trentino DOC, Trento DOC (which for marketing reasons is referred to as “TrentoDoc”) is dedicated exclusively to traditional-method sparkling wines made from chardonnay, pinot noir, meunier and pinot blanc.
TrentoDoc white and rosé sparkling wines are characterized by high acidity due to the grapes being grown at high elevations along Alpine mountainsides.
The high acidity distinguishes TrentoDoc wines from sparkling wines made in other parts of Italy that are grown on flatter land at lower elevations.
TrentoDoc sparkling wines are required to age on the lees for a minimum of 18 months with some producers like Ferrari choosing to age their wines for a minimum of 24 months.
TrentoDoc produces 12 million bottles of sparkling wine annually, and 7 million of these bottles (nearly 60% of TrentoDoc’s total production) are produced by Ferrari, the DOC’s largest producer.
There are 64 TrentoDoc producers, and after Ferrari the next three largest producers are cooperatives.
Ferrari & Sustainability
Moving towards sustainability beginning in 2009, Ferrari achieved its goal of being fully sustainable in all its directly-owned vineyards in 2017 which accounts for 65% of its overall wine production.
Contract grape growers account for the remaining 35% of Ferrari’s wine production.
And while Ferrari has moved swiftly towards sustainability, it will likely be a 10-year project to bring its growers into being fully sustainable according to Marcello Lunelli, Ferrari’s Chief Winemaker and Vice President of Giulio Ferrari, Ferrari’s family-owned parent company.
The age of farmers is the biggest impediment to a faster-paced switch to organic and sustainable viticulture.
According to Lunelli, “Older-generations don’t want to change because this is the way they’ve always done it, but younger generations embrace change. Change is happening at a slower pace among small family farms as they pass things over to the new generation.”
Organic viticulture, biodiversity and strategic water management all factor into Ferrari’s sustainability practices.
Ferrari is carbon neutral with 30% of this achieved with carbon credits purchased from a wind farm in Southern Brazil and the rest through sustainable practices at the winery including solar-panel energy generation and the purchase of electrical energy exclusively from renewable sources.
TrentoDoc’s Future as Italy’s First Organic & Sustainable Sparkling Wine DOC
As the largest producer in TrentoDoc, Ferrari has a vision for sustainability that extends beyond its own vineyards and encompasses the region as a whole.
Given that it produces nearly 60% of the wine in TrentoDoc, as Ferrari goes – so likely will the region.
“Fifteen years ago, nobody talked about sustainability. I want all of TrentoDoc to become organic and sustainable. A region that is totally organic gives a very powerful message to consumers,” notes Lunelli.
No other large sparkling wine-producing region can lay claim to being entirely organic and sustainable (certainly not Champagne), but I can imagine the power of a consumer looking at a wine-by-the glass list and defaulting to a producer from TrentoDoc to be sure they are drinking well while doing good.
If you live in Japan, Germany or the United States, you’re likely to find sparkling wines from Ferrari since they currently export 20% of their production which they’d like to increase to 40% as a goal.
I recently sampled a Ferrari Perlé 2016 made from 100% chardonnay that coupled the region’s characteristic high acidity with chalk along the midpalate showing balance between the bright fruit aromas and lees maturity.
Whether its Ferrari or another TrentoDoc producer committed to sustainability, sparkling wine from TrentoDoc is definitely worth getting to know better and feeling good about given the ambitious sustainability goals of the region’s largest producer.
Consumers now have the ability to favorably impact the planet by what they put in their glass.
I’m up for this type of “hard work.”