Producer profile: Bosco Viticultori on the success of DOC delle Venezie
As well as being one of Italy’s largest Prosecco producers, Bosco Viticultori is a major producer of Pinot Grigio, with vineyards within the Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC. db catches up with managing director Paolo Lasagni to talk about the success of the DOC.
The DOC was only formalised in 2017 – but its twin goals of boosting quality and building the region’s reputation, seems to be paying off already.
“We’re happy about the introduction as it’s brought to all a general quality increase of appellation from our area,” Paolo Lasagni, managing director of Bosco Viticultori says.
Although he admits that there was a relatively tough period immediately after the DOC was introduced – caused in party by the large volumes of former IGT delle Venezie Pinot Grigio still available and the rising price of the new DOC wines rose, which reached €1.30 per Litre for bulk wine before falling back to around 70c per Litre – Lasagni feels that the situation stabilised itself within a year or two, and has now found a sustainable level for both the supply chain and customers.
However, as Lasagni notes, it was “pretty much the same story for Prosecco when the DOC was introduced about ten years ago”.
In addition, the DOC’s reputation has also been established – the DOC rules preventing over-planting and over-production, with maximum yields in place in terms of production in order to prevent the creation of dilute wines, and all wines undergo taste tests by an independent panel. As a result, far greater awareness of the DOC’s credentials and the quality of the wines, meaning that customers are more willing to pay for that assurance than they might have been initially, Lasagni says.
“At the start bulk wine customers were sceptical about it, and they were threatening to move to IGT wines from Sicily, but after a few years they came back and now they’ve increased volumes as they’ve realised the price difference is due to the quality level,” he explains,
“Customers have started to realise that being a DOC means a higher level of control, so they are happy to spend a few pennies more for DOC than a generic Pinot Grigio, which they don’t know where it comes from.”
“So in terms of supermarket customers, they can have a good product with a good price.”
How rosé is the future?
What sets the DOC della Venezie apart from other Pinot Grigio on the market is its terroir, he argues. The DOC covers three regions, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino and the Veneto, extending to 28,000 hectares from Lake Garda to the Venetian coast, and it is widely considered the best part of Italy to plant this variety, with cool nights, clear days, and free-draining limestone soils producing fine and refreshing white wines.
“The temperature, weather and ground are particular factors that result in certain quality to the grape,” Lasagni argues. “Obviously there are other parts of the world where they grow Pinot Grigio – such as Australia and Chile – but it’s not the same terroir, it is not as suitable for PG, and it can be too hot.”
As a result, the main message the DOC has successfully conveyed is to make people aware that in terms of quality and the land, “Italy is the best place to grow it,” he says.
Despite the success of the DOC, Lasagni feels there is room to grown and develop Pinot Grigio rosé (rosato) and to tap into some of the top international markets for blush wines such as the UK and US. Helpfully, these are also the largest markets for Pinot Grigio – one in 10 bottles of wine bought in the UK is Pinot Grigio – so there is plenty of scope and overlap.
“Even in those markets, the two most important markets for rosé , the presence of Pinot Grigio rose is very small, but I hope that in five years, it will be at least double today’s volume,” he says. “There is potential to gain market share from other rose brands.”