Mezzacorona centres growers in its sustainability programme – The Drinks Business

‘Welcoming’ is the first category in Mezzacorona’s 12-point sustainability manifesto. It has a very literal definition: the group’s winery and headquarters, named the Cittadella del Vino, is designed as a space to welcome visitors and stakeholders. Yet it is also a suitable starting point for a sustainability strategy from Mezzacorona that welcomes and involves everyone, from the growers to the eventual drinkers.
Since its founding 1904 as an association of local farmers, Mezzacorona’s numbers have swelled to around 1600 today. Its projects therefore have to welcome and include its stakeholders. A top-down, uncompromising approach will not work when, as a cooperative, Mezzacorona is owned by its members.
The sustainability project has therefore always been defined by empowering growers. From its very beginnings, Mezzacorona’s work towards sustainable viticulture was rooted in combining efforts with its members.
For instance, as sustainability emerged as a hot topic, Mezzacorona distributed the book ‘Nature and Agriculture’ to all its members in 1989. This document promoted natural, sustainable methods of pest control. Similarly, in 2000, it distributed “Nature and Agriculture, integrated production through knowledge of the main fungal diseases of apple and vine” which updated growers on the latest methods of pest management.
The cooperative’s growers have also repeatedly committed themselves to high standards. In 1990, the Comitato Vitivinicolo Trentino (equivalent to Trentino’s Consorzio today) set up self-governed protocols, including on integrated viticulture, to which many growers adhered. This was supplemented in 2009 by a protocol to protect both land and workers from pesticides.
These specific breakthroughs tie into a continued narrative of incremental steps. It means that Mezzacorona and its growers are now employing a wide range of sustainable practices. This includes drip irrigation, organic fertilisers, maintaining hedgerows for biodiversity and using sexual confusion to deter pests.
Moreover, the viticultural knowledge passed through generations is its own sustainable safeguard. Local traditions protect the vines and lessen the need for interventions. Trentino pergola training, for instance, can protect the grapes against intense heatwaves, while hand harvesting minimises soil compaction by tractors.
As a strong statement of commitment, all of Mezzacorona’s growers have been certified under the Sistema di Qualità Nazionale per la Produzione Integrata (SQNPI) scheme since 2016. The national certification confirms high standards of sustainable production in the vineyard.
Fittingly, the Cittadella del Vino continues the grapes’ sustainable journey as they are made into wines. Indeed, Mezzacorona’s wine production achieved SQNPI certification in 2017.
The dramatic structure is 75% underground, meaning the cellar naturally achieves the correct temperature and humidity for wines to develop. Above, it uses photovoltaic panels on the roof to provide clean energy. The building itself therefore minimises Mezzacorona’s impact on the land.
Even once the bottles have been chosen off the shelf, Mezzacorona commits to a sustainable vision of the wine industry. It is a member of Wine in Moderation, a European body committed to a sustainable culture of wine consumption.
Its membership means that Mezzacorona promotes informed choices around drinking. It involves making appropriate choices regarding health and safety; drinking in a social and healthy environment; and, crucially, finding joy in the wines’ unique characters.
That final consumption seems just as important as the first shoots on the vine. Positioning sustainability as all-encompassing, from planting to uncorking the wine, truly means that Mezzacorona welcomes all in its sustainability plans. With decades spent working with its growers, stakeholders and customers, the winery has made a powerful case that collective action can move the dial on sustainability.

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