In these months of en plein air life and economic awakenings - including agri-foodstuffs as well as tourism for Made in Italy and for the Italy to be discovered and travelled - with a notable increase in activities towards the new wine tourism and wine-experiential tourism also of proximity, many sector and non-industry magazines, authoritative and with large circulation, have dedicated space and value rewarding the qualitative growth and the biodiverse and multitasking proposal of a wine territory, which is showing itself to be particularly sparkling, which has history and passion to tell and to make people taste. And it is doing so. With success. Here is a series of reviews and press clippings to keep and spread.

Scrolling through a portion of the press review of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese, we discover an increasingly sparkling Oltrepò for the media as well. We start with the weekly Gambero Rosso's Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses) special Bollicine, just released (HERE is the link to the PDF https://static.gamberorosso.it/2021/08/speciale-bollicine-stampa.pdf).

The report/investigation starts like this: after ten years of uninterrupted running, only the Covid could stop the consumption and export of Italian sparkling wines. With the forced closure of bars and restaurants around the world for public health reasons, the Coronavirus inflicted a loss of almost 7% on the value of exports of our sparkling wines in 2020, i.e. almost 110 million euros less than the previous year. And the +4% increase in sales to Italian large-scale distribution channels in the same year was of little use, allowing the category to recover just 26 million euros, leading the budgets of many producers - especially those of the Metodo Classico, more focused on the Horeca channel - to close the 2020 financial year in the red. Now, with the easing of restrictions more or less everywhere thanks to an increase in vaccination coverage, sparkling wine consumption is recovering and, consequently, exports are also on the upswing.

In the first four months of 2021, exports of Italian sparkling wines were up 7% in terms of value and 8.4% in terms of volume. This growth has affected the entire category worldwide, regardless of origin. In fact, the recovery was more sustained for French wines, which had suffered the hardest blow during the pandemic (-19% in 2020 compared to 2019).

In fact, theincrease in Champagne's exports for the first five months (January-May) was +43% and all indications are that this run is only just beginning, given that this level of exports marks +2% compared to the same period in 2019, i.e. at a time when there was not even a shadow of Covid.

ballabio wins

The survey of Italian sparkling wines starts by highlighting a record, the latest, won by our Oltrepò Divino: OP PINOT NERO DOSAGGIO ZERO FARFALLA CAVE PRIVÉE '11 Ballabio .

More than a hundred years have passed since 1905, when Angelo Ballabio set up a winery that for many years was a reference point for the entire Oltrepò Pavese area, not least because of his conviction that it was possible to obtain Metodo Classico from pinot nero grapes of importance in the area, without limiting himself to selling the grapes in Piedmont. It is from here, after many changes, that, after a few years, a reality has restarted that, taking advantage of an avant-garde structure and rigorous protocols, has begun to produce sparkling wines that are increasingly sharp in style and convincing in their interpretation of pinot nero.

This year, the Ballabio range is enriched with a new gem: Dosaggio Zero '11, a sparkling wine of extraordinary purity, balance and clarity. The pure strength of pinot nero tamed in a bottle with a very fine bubble, powerful and elegant at the same time, with an interminable finish. Very high level, as usual, for the other labels, with special mention to the excellent Rosé.

Corriere Vinicolo sparkling wine dossier

THE CHARGE OF THE BONDARDA OF OLTREPO' PAVESE - The Corriere Vinicolo of August 23, 2021 delves into the world of sparkling wine. And it provides a very interesting dossier that begins like this: Lombardy Just under 47 million bottles of sparkling wine will be closed with a mushroom cap by Lombard wineries in 2020. The most produced type by far is Bonarda dell’Oltrepò, 16 million pieces and a 35 percent share (chart 18). Still Oltrepò, with the provincial IGT Rosso at 8.9 million bottles and Moscato, at 4.4.

After a lambruschist interlude, that of Mantua Igt at 3.9 million, anco[1]ra Oltrepò, with Sangue di Giuda and Barbera, for a cumulative total of 82 percent. The most widely used grape varieties are Croatina (17 million bottles), Lam[1]brusco, which between Mantova Igt and Mantovano Doc cubes just under 6 million. This is followed by Moscato and Barbera (9 percent and 6 percent), then a patrol of 12 million bottles with no indication of grape variety, accounting for ¼ of the total (Chart 19). At the appellation level, after Bonarda oltrepadana, the largest incubator is Igt Provincia di Pavia: 17 million pieces divided into 15 types, of which the most produced is red, followed by Moscato. Above 4 million bottles we find Igt Provincia di Mantova and Oltrepò Pavese Doc, divided into nine types, with Barbera in the lead followed by Pinot nero vinified in white. Small productions are still scattered between Milanese (Collina del Milanese and San Colombano) and Mantua (Sabbioneta, Alto Mincio, Quistello).

Carlo Flamini takes stock of the situation and underlines how the sector set a record in terms of value (305 million euros), with the lockdown months confirming Italians' affection for this product category. T he year 2020 closed with a plus sign for the sparkling category in large-scale distribution: 98 million litres sold, with a balance of +6%, for a record value of €305 million, up 7% on 2019. Homogeneous growth for all types of colour, with reds accounting for 48% of the volume share and whites for 44%, weights that mirror each other on the value side, due to a price differential of 55 cents per litre in favour of whites. Whites, however, made less progress in terms of value on the shelf than the other two categories: +6% compared to +8% for reds and rosés, thanks to the better performance of Lambrusco compared to Prosecchi and similar wines.

Unlike other product categories, such as still wines but also sparkling wines, the push on the pink side as far as sparkling wines are concerned is not yet so decisive: in five years, the share of sales has remained practically stable at just over 8%, while it has been the reds that have gained space, leaping forward by more than 1 percentage point, subtracted from the whites. Of the total sales in large-scale distribution, sparkling wines confirmed their weight at 11%, just one point less than in 2015, eroded by the growth of the sparkling wine category, up 3 points to 12%.

Fabio Ciarla, dealing with the positive curve in Lombardy the report emphasizes FROM "PINOTTINO" TO THE SUCCESS OF BONARDA AND SANGUE DI GIUDA, an Oltrepò Pavese where sparkling wines make cash. Even during the pandemic, historic productions have grown, the reasons for a success that goes beyond the territory in the words of Gilda Fugazza and Carlo Veronese, president and director of Consorzio di Tutela Oltrepò Pavese, who point to tradition, versatility and pride for the future of the appellation. Here is the link to the special issue https://bit.ly/3sQXTS8

And an interview with Davide Guarini promotes the courage of a Territory that just needs to dare more: Traditional sales channels, such as the Milanese, are a security, but at the same time they hold back innovation and openness to foreign markets, which are still too small. Yet there are signs that should be analyzed and grasped, such as the sparkling sweet represented by Sangue di Giuda. And on Pinot nero in pink ... DOWNLOAD THE FULL DOSSIER also directly here.