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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Nicolas Belfrage MW & Franco Ziliani

Following the walkout last autumn from the Italian producers organisation Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), Ezio Rivella, ex-UIV president, has announced the formation of a new group. The group includes such prominent producers as Antinori, Caprai, Ambrogio Folonari, Masi, Donnafugata, Meregalli, Planeta, Sella & Mosca, Gancia, Lungarotti, Chiarlo, Saiagricola, Marchesi di Barolo, Barone Ricasoli, Ruffino, Bersano, Cavit and Collavin. Its stated aim is to elaborate a long-term strategy to protect and defend the particularity of Italian quality wine, symbol of the Italian style and an essential element in the national economy'. Some have seen the group, whose working title is Progetto Vino (Project Wine), as an attempt to set up in opposition to the UIV, either alone or in collaboration with the other large producers federation, Federvini. Others suggest that it is not intended to exist outside UIV so much as to establish a pressure group within UIV challenging the views of those who have recently taken charge and are subtly threatening, if their views are not respected, to break off definitively. Rivella is being tight-lipped at this stage, as are most members interviewed.