History and Activity
For over seventy years the Consortium has actively promoted many of the technical, economical and individual aspects of wine production in the Langhe region.
Right at the start of the 20th century, producers of Barolo and Barbaresco wine decided to unite their forces and, in 1908, created the original ‘certificate of authentic origin’ which was awarded by an association formed from a combination of local administrative bodies, together with the wine producers’ trade union. It was not until 1924, however, that the Italian parliament passed a law on ‘typical wines’ defining their characteristics, which had to remain constant in time.
It was in this way that foundations were laid for the constitution of the ‘Consortium for the Protection of Quality of Local Wines Barolo and Barbaresco’, officially founded in 1934, with the aim of defining region of origin, grape varieties and characteristics of the wine, in addition to protecting the wines from fraudulent copies, adulteration and unfair competition, and defending the wine’s reputation and qualities in a legal context. After the end of the Second World War, in 1947, the Consortium was reformed. In 1963, the Law 930 introduced the concept of Denomination of Origin and defined the precise role of the Wine Consortia.
The Alba Consortium immediately sought Doc Denomination status for Barolo and Barbaresco – which was granted in 1966, with Docg status arriving in 1980. In 1984, the Ministry of Agriculture officially entrusted the Consortium with guardianship of the two prestigious reds. In 1994, following the issuing of a new law (Law 164 of 1992), the old-style Consortium made way for the new, widening its jurisdiction to cover all Denominations produced exclusively in the Langa region. Today, in fact, the Consortium can be said to represent not only its wine denominations but also the entire wine territory.
Aspects of protection of the wines of the Langhe as a whole were perfected in the 2007 to 2009 period, with the entrusting, on the part of the Ministry of Agriculture to the Consortium, controls of all Docg and Doc wines within its legal jurisdiction, thereby including Dogliani, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto (in its various guises), Langhe, Nebbiolo d’Alba and Verduno Pelaverga in addition to Barbaresco and Barolo, thereby guaranteeing them the benefits of perfect traceability.
The activities of the Consorzio
Market Surveillance and Protection of Trademarks
The Consortium actively controls wine products available on the market via periodic sampling, including full analysis of products to ascertain that they comply with their sales description and with the Disciplinary regulations for their appellation. In fact, over the last few years, there have been numerous cases where illegal copy-cat wines or fraudulent wines assuming a prestigious name, have appeared on the market. This has led to the Consortium tightening controls, including at international level, by creating a legally water-tight system of protection for Italian wine appellations.
The up-shot of this procedure has been the registration of Barolo and Barbaresco as trademarks in many countries of the world.
The Consortium’s most important task in this area is to match legal aspects of the profession to wine producers’ practical requirements: for example by requesting laws or modifications to the Disciplinary regulations in order to protect a wine’s authenticity and origins.
Collection of Pricing Data and Market Statistics
Collection of data on prices and the wine market is performed by the Certification Office as represented by Valoritalia, (third party endorsement). Valoritalia periodically publishes these data for the information of wineries and both the general and specialist press.
The Consortium regularly supplies information to the press at all levels, from local to national and international. Over the years, it has published a wealth of material, including promotional and institutional literature, which has been made available to press agencies, opinion leaders and the general public. The Consortium also coordinates the participation of its memebers to international wine fairs through the consorzi’s collective body Piemonte Land of Perfection. Since 2013 it has also been organizing Grandi Langhe, the largest trade event in Alba for Langhe wines.
‘Enocontrol’ is a laboratory for chemical, physical and sensorial analysis of wine. It also provides technical assistance to producers during wine making processes, and assistance for the selfoperated HACCP system of hygiene control during food production.
Certification of the Appellations
The various Denominations are subjected to a system of Ministerial controls represented by numbered neck seals which are printed by the Official Government Press and which guarantee traceability of the product. The associations involved in the process include: the Province of Cuneo, which authorises planting of vineyards and subsequent membership of the official area Wine Estate List of the Region of Piedmont, and the Certification Office, at present represented by Valoritalia, a firm working in co operation with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Craftsmen and Agriculture to organise Tasting Commissions.