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Powering up Pinot Grigio

Published:  19 May, 2022

With a new export drive underway to key markets including the UK, the DOC delle Venezie Consorzio is looking to put a premium bounce in the step of its Pinot Grigio, setting itself above the run-of-the-mill.

The runaway success of Italy’s most popular still white – which is second only to Prosecco (which also has a new campaign) in terms of volume out of those wide-reaching appellations – has been remarkable, with the grape name achieving ‘brand’ status on shelves and wine lists.

But prices have been rising for the grape, potentially impacting on sales from the more premium producers that, in 2016/17, crystalised out the new Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC to help combat just such a threat. And, while something of a formality, official recognition by the EU in 2021 helped release funding for promotion of the DOC.

Speaking to Harpers at Prowein, DOC spokesperson Nazareno Vicenzi said: “We upgraded from IGP to DOC and have been working on quality, with lower yields, closely following the chain of production from grape to bottle, with the appellation’s role being to protect, control and restrict production to ensure quality.”

Now the task is to take that message of quality to key markets, including the US and Canada, which together account for around 40% of exports, plus the 12-15% that goes to Germany and the UK, he added.

“We need to make people understand Pinot Grigio delle Venezia, that it’s the homeland of the grape, with the tradition and cool conditions for quality grapes… because people often just drink Pinot Grigio and it doesn’t matter [to them] what is inside.”

A quality focus at source is key, but Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC is also encouraging more in-market bottling, under the strict criteria of the appellation rules, to help enhance the “economic value” of the wines.

Vicenzi described the UK as a “tough market”, but is confident that an education and marketing piece to reach buyers, retailers, sommeliers, journalists and consumers can shift perception, shining the light on more premium Pinot Grigio from the DOC.

In addition, part of the mix will be an expansion of the Pinot Grigio delle Venezie offer, with charmat method sparkling wine and still rosato both prominent in the mix of what was on show at Prowein.

“We are positioning as the flagship for Pinot Grigio – each wine has its own fingerprint from each sub-region, so it’s a varied variety within the DOC, but also has a signature,” says Vicenzi.