Bellazoia 13 March 2018

“Ribolla Gialla undersold. Producers protest: damage to the whole system.”

This is the title of the article published today in the newspaper Il Messaggero Veneto. Friuli’s growers have unanimously accused the region’s large-scale wineries of underselling Ribolla to Venetian bottlers to be then distributed by some supermarket chains at unacceptable prices (€ 2.49).

The growers’ disappointment and concern is understandable, given that we are talking about a white wine whose qualities are increasingly appreciated by the national and international market, in both the still and sparkling versions.

Producers who are committed to obtaining excellent wines, and not interested in quantity, are not prepared to tolerate such economic debasement. Among those who have expressed serious concern about Ribolla being undersold is Paolo Valdesolo, oenologist and wine expert, who has raised the problem several times. “If we fail to seriously protect this variety,” he said, “we will not be able to attribute value to its wine. To do this, a new protective production protocol must be established as soon as possible. The DOC consortiums must make proposals, changes and additions to the draft document presented in late December 2017, and they must do so now.”

Valerio Civa, owner of Tenimenti Civa in the Colli Orientali del Friuli, also criticized the slashing of Ribolla Gialla prices. “The product goes there, to Veneto,” he told the Messaggero Veneto newspaper, “and will soon also end up in Piedmont, where there are facilities capable of producing large quantities of sparkling wine.”

“The excess production from the 2017 growing year,” he added, “determined the very low prices of Ribolla must, which ended up elsewhere, due to the lack of adequately equipped facilities in the region for sparkling wine production. The area planted to Ribolla on the Friuli plain and in the Pordenone area is excessive; we have gone from a situation where Ribolla was a niche wine,” he continued, “as it was until two decades ago, to production levels high enough to spill over into Veneto and Piedmont, where it is then sold below cost.”

For Ribolla Gialla, then, it is hoped there will be protection through a strict production protocol which focuses on quality to avoid the product ending up in other regions. “If the Venetians want Ribolla,” concluded Civa, “let them come to Friuli, invest here and provide jobs for the local people”.