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Italy's Lugana wine producers fight plans for 'devastating' fast train

Published:  27 November, 2014

Wine producers in northern Italy's Lugana region are fighting plans for a high speed rail line which would wipe out one third of their vineyard area.

The producers argue that by moving the line, which will link Venice and Milan, a mere 400m to utilise 9km of existing tracks, which would constitute a four minute delay to the journey time, 400 ha of vines could be saved. The Lake Garda region, including Sirmione, Desenzano del Garda and Pesquiera del Garda, is a tourism hotspot in Italy, attracting over 4 million visitors per year.

The#SaveLugana petition listed on , addressed to Italian president Matteo Renzi,  has been launched to draw attention to the plans, which producers say would impact the area in an "unsustainable manner". The deadline to sign the petition is today, November 27, 2014.

"The effect on the delicate ecological and environmental balance would be intolerable, especially in an age in which the importance of preserving the environment should be at the base of any decision that can reflect on future generations," says the group's petition.

"No amount of money can possibly compensate the next generation for what they will lose," says Luca Formentini, president of the Consorzio Tutela Lugna DOC.

The group urges the Italian government to reconsider the proposed route of the TAV train, moving it 400m to preserve the land between the Southern shore of Lake Garda and the northern hills. "We know this is a viable solution, supported by competent technical analysis," argues Formentini.

The train would have to slow down passing through the area if the older tracks are used, but producers argue that this is "an acceptable price to pay for preserving a unique terroir and an area which is under UNESCO heritage evaluation".

Robert McIntosh, co-founder of Vrazon and the Digital Wine Communications Conference, who also runs the Thirst for Wine site, said:  "Lugana is a small region, covering only around 1300ha, and the proposed route for the TAV will remove over 200ha (that's almost 15%) of this and impact even more. It makes little sense."

You can spread the word by signing the petition, using #SaveLugana on Twitter and liking the group's Facebook page. Find out more about its campaign at