"Expansion of Etna DOC? Not under discussion." The Consortium's response to moving the vineyards to an altitude of one thousand meters

Jun 15 2024, 15:29
Francesco Cambria, the president of the protection body, responds to the proposal that originated from grassroots movements, noting that for now, efforts are focused on the opposite front: renewing the hectare cap

by Vittorio Ferla

"At the moment, we have not received any requests from members in the direction of expanding the DOC." Francesco Cambria, owner of the Cottanera winery and president of the Etna Consortium, thus closes the issue of moving the denomination's vineyards to an altitude of one thousand meters, which was raised by Sicilian producers.

The expansion proposal

A proposal – actually two – that originated from grassroots movements. The first is to go beyond one thousand meters on the northern slope, an idea launched by Benjamin Franchetti (Passopisciaro company), supported by many producers. The second is to close the characteristic “C” shape of the denomination in the western zone, turning it into an “O.” This possibility is appealing to many winemakers who are currently outside the DOC, but not everyone agrees due to fears of devaluing the denomination.

Priority is to protect the Denomination

Whether in favor or against, for the president of the Consortium, there is no doubt: "The only item on the agenda of the assembly we will discuss in July is whether to renew the hectare cap, which has so far been useful for managing the measured growth of the denomination." Moreover, Cambria asks: "In which direction should the expansion go? Some propose going up to one thousand meters, others suggest moving towards the sea because, after all, Nerello comes from Mascali, and some suggest closing the circle by adding vineyards from the western part. But the problem does not exist for now. Once, the Catania area was the most vineyard-dense in Sicily, but the world has changed. Today, it is right to have measured growth. Our territory has seen significant expansion over the last 15 years, but currently, there is a contraction in consumption and markets, so we must be careful not to increase supply when demand is lacking. Lastly," he concludes, "there is the issue of protecting the environmental and landscape heritage: we must not alter the territory's conformation."

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