Italian Wine News – Week 13/12/07

Italian Wine News

EU Cash for Crops

The European Commission will allocate 101.1 million euros ($147.8 million) for the Italian wine industry for the period of 2007-2008, European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel announced.

The sum granted from the Commission to Italy is for the conversion of 12,279 hectares of vineyards. For the period 2006-2007 the money given to Italy from the EU amounted of 100.5 million euros ($147 million), Fischer Boel added.

The total sum the EU will allocate to member states for the period of 2007 – 2008 is 510 million euros ($745.7 million) to be used for the conversion and restructuring of 62,816 hectares of vineyards.

The other beneficiary countries are:
Spain 162.1 mln euros ($237 mln)
France 110.7 mln euros ($161.8 mln)
Portugal 34.7 mln euros ($50.8 mln)
Romania 25.1 mln euros ($36.6 mln)
Bulgaria 18 mln euros ($26.4 mln)
Germany 13.2 mln euros ($19.4 mln)
Hungary 11.8 mln euros ($17.2 mln)
Czech Republic 10.9 mln euros ($16 mln)
Greece with 8.7 mln euros ($12.7 mln)
Austria 6.7 mln euros ($9.7 mln)
Slovenia 2.7 mln euros ($3.4 mln)
Cyprus 2.2 mln euros ($3.2 mln)
Slovenia 1.8 mln euros ($2.6 mln)
Malta 103,000 euros ($151,000)
Luxembourg with 56,000 ($82,000).

Time Warner CEO steps down to concentrate on Wine Biz

When Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons steps down at the end of the year he will be able to spend more time with his favorite hobby: making top quality wine in Tuscany.

Several years ago, Parsons acquired the Il Palazzone vineyard in Montalcino, which included three hectares of vineyards and at the time produced 4,000 bottles of wine each year.
According to Wine News, Italy’s ”Pocket Wine Website”, Il Palazzone today produces some 20,000 bottles.
Despite his vineyard’s significant output, Parsons insists winemaking is just a hobby and told Wine News: ”Believe me, we keep most of the wine we produce for ourselves and our friends”.

His winemaking partner, Swiss manager Mario Bollag, confirmed this and explained that their motto was ”Drink as much as you can, and then sell what’s left!”.

Aside from the area’s prized Brunello wine, Parsons also makes Rosso di Montalcino and has developed his own ‘Super Tuscan’ called Lorenzo and Isabella’, named after his parents.
The wine was developed together with the Terra del Sole vineyard and is a blend based on Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese grapes.

Parsons recently told Wine News that he chose Montalcino ”first of all because I really love Italy, its people, its food and, naturally, it’s wine”.

“Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places in the world and if you ask anyone where they would most like to live, 90% would have Tuscany on their list,” he added.

“When I decided I wanted to buy a vineyard I began my search from Lucca and then went on to Florence and Chianti. When I got to Montalcino I finally found what I was looking for,” Parsons said.

Parsons, 59, discovered wine through the late Nelson Rockefeller, who offered him his first important job when he was governor of New York.

Rockefeller took Parsons with him when he became vice president of the United States under Gerald Ford and it was through the Rockefeller family that Parsons entered Time Warner, joining its board in the early 1990s after a successful decade as a lawyer.

Parsons became chairman in 1995 and worked alongside CEO Gerald Levin in the operation which led to the landmark acquisition of internet provider America Online (AOL) in 2000.
Levin left his post in 2001 and Parsons was successor.

Although he will be leaving his post as Time Warner CEO, Parsons will remain as chairman of the board of the group which also includes HBO, CNN, and New Line Cinema.
Parsons is a member of a growing number of successful foreigners who are trying their hand at making wine in Italy.

Simply Red’s flame-haired leader singer, Mick Hucknall, has a vineyard on the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily where he successfully produces a red Nero d’Avola wine named Il Cantante, The Singer.

Jim Kerr of Scottish rock band Simple Minds also has a Sicilian vineyard.
French actress Carole Bouquet has a vineyard on the island of Pantelleria where she produces the island’s famous dessert wine ‘passito’.

Legendary US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has lent his signature to a wine produced at his request that has proved to be a hit.

Created by the Le Terrazze winery in the Marche, it was named after his 1974 album Planet Waves.
More Counterfeit Chianti

Authorities on Wednesday impounded 47 hectares of vineyards and seized some 800,000 of wine which was about to be used to produce a fake Chianti Classico quality wine.

The operation blocked the marketing of over a million bottles of Chianti Classico which would have carried the label of guaranteed and controlled designation of origin (DOCG) without having met the requisites.

The owners of the Castelnuovo Berardegna vineyard and wine company face charges of fraud and VAT evasion.
Police said that Wednesday’s operation was the result of an investigation which began with last year’s harvest and uncovered what was described as ‘’sophisticated mass fraud”.
This involved selling fake Chianti Classico to three important companies specialised marketing this type of wine with counterfeit labels and certification.
According to investigators, the vineyard blended wines into its Chianti Classico wines which did not meet DOCG standards in order to increase production.
The Chianti Classico consortium issued a statement that it, too, had the vineyard in question under observation and had refused some time ago to issue DOCG certification for its wine.
The consortium added that it has collaborated in full with the fraud probe.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ian Downes says:

    Is no Chainti safe?

  2. Noone enjoys the news segments!

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