Every year on the third weekend of September the vintners of Panzano meet in the village square to show their wines, often pronounced as the best of the region. You have the chance to sample the different styles of wines, chat with the winemakers and listen to some great jazz! Interested? Then come and join us in Panzano in Chianti, the heart of Chianti. The dates for 2013 are: Thursday, September 12th 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm Friday, September 13th 12:00 pm – 7:30 pm Saturday, September 14th 11:00 am – 8:00 pm Sunday, September 15th 11:00 am – 7:30 pm Life Jazz Music Saturday & Sunday from 6-8 pm The vintners of Panzano don’t just gather once a year to show their best wines to the public. We are also a close-knit group that unites to control quality production, promote organic & sustainable vineyard techniques and much more. Find out more about each member of the unione on the aziende page or have a look at the open letter from our president here underneath. An open letter from Giovanni Manetti (Fontodi) about the Unione Viticoltori and Panzano Sustainable Panzano The “Unione Viticoltori di Panzano” is a free and independent group of 20 wineries and was born out of the idea to promote Panzano and its wines through the annual event of Vino al Vino wine festival, which since it’s beginning has been a great success. With time and getting to know each other better, a group was formed, friendships made, experiences were exchanged and initiatives and projects were augmented. The things that unify us are many but these are among the most important: -the love for our land, Panzano, where we choose to live, work and raise our children. -The passion for our work as vintners and winemakers, each of us making wine with their own grapes and running their winery directly taking care of all principal aspects. -The commitment for further the quest for quality, a quest that sometimes can become obsession. Talking about quality we are convinced that quality wine, or better said excellent wine, is and will always be wine that represents its terroir – meaning a wine that is able to incorporate in its taste and aroma the typicity of the territory it is grown in and makes this wine so unique and unable to reproduce in other parts of the world. This aspect gets more and more important with every day in the light of the current crisis the wine world is living through. One of the ways out for the Chianti territory, where costs of production are high but the potential quality is equally high, is without doubt to strive for the uniqueness in our wines and give them more character and personality. How does one strengthen the character of the territory in a wine if one does not respect the territory? How does one make a wine that is supposed to express its territory senses if it gets continuous bombed with chemicals ? The respect for ones territory one obtains through sustainable viticulture that does not consume the environment but that defends it and preserves it for future generations and at the same time satisfies the needs of producers and consumers. To be sustainable, viticulture must point towards organic and anticipate the elimination of all chemical products of synthetic origin and to exclusively use natural products and methods. All this has to be integrated in a more efficient use of internal resources of the wineries eliminating as much as possible all outside interventions. So what motivated us to change: viticulture if sustainable and organic, to live and work in a cleaner environment that enables us to make healthier wines without chemical residues, and most of all the quest for higher quality. When we started the project “Sustainable Panzano” in 2005 after an encounter between the vintners of Panzano and Ruggero Mazzilli, there was already a lot of “fertile” ground. Some of us were already working organic and even biodynamic, but most important of all there was the strong desire of all to reduce chemicals and the knowledge that it was the only way forward. The big jump of quality introduced by Ruggero was by introducing organic as a whole concept and not just for every single winery, but as a larger territory. We understood straight away that working all together the results would be without doubt much superior to any singular wineries achievement. The next step was the birth of of SPEVIS (Stazione Sperimentale per la Viticoltura Sostenibile – experimental research station for sustainable viticulture – www.spevis.it ) in Panzano. The station coordinates the various vineyards and their actions of defense in the vineyards, helps those wineries that want to convert to organic methods and works closely with the academic world on many researches and experiments that are helpful and aid to increase knowledge about better and more efficient methods and organic farming in viticulture. This project has as objective to make Panzano into the first Italian organic zone and not only where no synthetic chemicals are being used. We are already at a good point with more than 70% of all vineyards in Panzano being worked on either organic or sustainable, a total of more than 300 hectares (741 acres) which is a quite significant area. We are always more convinced that our road to sustainability is bringing us to reach contemporarily also: -Advantages for the consumers, giving them a wine that is better, cleaner and respects the territory it comes from. -Advantages for the environment with less pollution for the soil, water and air we breathe -Advantages from a social point with a better interaction between wineries and locals that live on the territory and between the wineries and their own workers that work more happily in the land. All this has to be able without losing the sight of its economic sustainability, guaranteeing the necessary earnings to the wineries without which they would be compromised and not be able to work ideological and with much sense and passion. I have great faith in this project and that it can become a positive model to follow and diffuse ever more the organic mode in Tuscany. I want to reassure all our follow vintners that do not yet believe in the change, that organic and sustainable viticulture is not only possible but also a necessary change. To underline and support the facts with our own success, the vintners of Panzano are happy to meet all those who want to meet us and discuss the changes we have lived through and the experiences we have made.