Some history and ideas for the future
For over seventy years the Consortium has actively promoted many of the technical,
economical and individual aspects of wine production in the Langa and Roero regions.
Right at the start of the 20th century, producers of Barolo and Barbaresco wine decided to unite their forces and, in 1908, created the original ‘certificate of authentic origin’ which was awarded by an association formed from a combination of local administrative bodies, together with the wine producers’ trade union. It was not until 1924, however, that the Italian parliament passed a law on ‘typical wines’ defining their characteristics, which had to remain constant in time.
It was in this way that foundations were laid for the constitution of the ‘Consortium for the Protection of Quality of Local Wines Barolo and Barbaresco’, officially founded in 1934, with the aim of defining region of origin, grape varieties and characteristics of the wine, in addition to protecting the wines from fraudulent copies, adulteration and unfair competition, and defending the wine’s reputation and qualities in a legal context. After the end of the Second World War, in 1947, the Consortium was reformed. In 1963, the Law 930 introduced the concept of Denomination of Origin and defined the precise role of the Wine Consortia.
The Alba Consortium immediately sought Doc Denomination status for Barolo and Barbaresco – which was granted in 1966, with Docg status arriving in 1980. In 1984, the Ministry of Agriculture officially entrusted the Consortium with guardianship of the two prestigious reds. In 1994, following the issuing of a new law (Law 164 of 1992), the old-style Consortium made way for the new, widening its jurisdiction to cover all Denominations produced exclusively in the Langa and Roero regions. Today, in fact, the Consortium can be said to represent not only its wine denominations but also the entire wine territory.
Aspects of protection of the wines of the Langa and Roero as a whole were perfected in the 2007 to 2009 period, with the entrusting, on the part of the Ministry of Agriculture to the Consortium, controls of all Docg and Doc wines within its legal jurisdiction, thereby including Dogliani, Roero, Roero Arneis, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto (in its various guises), Langhe, Nebbiolo d’Alba and Verduno Pelaverga in addition to Barbaresco and Barolo, thereby guaranteeing them the benefits of perfect traceability. The European Union, however, does not recognise the Consortium’s independence in this area, and so, every three years, all producers are required to pay a third party association to certificate what the Consortium has previously declared according to Ministerial tables.
For the three-year period 2009 to 2012, the Consortium’s Council of Administration has entrusted these controls to ‘Valoritalia’, a nation-wide firm that ensures the publication of all data collected in bulletins which are then made available for consultation to the national press and any other organisation interested. Piedmontese wine production, like any other area, has been confronted with globalisation over the last few years. This naturally obliges firms and their representative bodies to closely examine possibilities for the future in an ever-changing world.
Traditions and traditional methods of production retain their place of importance but must necessarily answer to new European legislation – the so-called European Common Wine Market – and other contingencies, such as new market areas which include not only European or American but also Asian and East European regions previously uncatered-for and presenting a whole new set of gustatory and cultural requirements.
As can be seen, the calibre of our organisation has been formed over a hundred years of almost constant activity in the world of wine and it is from this solid base that the Consortium for the Protection of Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe and Roero can now face the challenges that the third millennium will bring with confidence and style.