Centenary of the Chianti Classico Consortium

May 14th is a day that will go down in history for the Chianti Classico Consortium. Exactly 100 years after the founding of Italy’s first wine consortium, the historic milestone for the Black Rooster was celebrated in Florence, in three locations in the city symbolizing its rich history, culture, and beauty. It was an event full of emotion as well as news, beginning in the morning at the Accademia dei Georgofili with the press preview of the book “Sulle tracce del Gallo Nero (In the footsteps of the Black Rooster)” written by wine critic Daniele Cernilli “DoctorWine” in collaboration with Paolo De Cristofaro and published by Giunti, and also the “Manifesto di Sostenibilità della Denominazione Chianti Classico (Sustainability Manifesto of the Chianti Classico Denomination).” These two valuable documents identify the cornerstones of the past, present, and future of the denomination.

The celebration continued in the Renaissance Salone dei Cinquecento of Palazzo Vecchio, the largest and one of the most beautiful council chambers in Italy, which also houses one of the oldest and most significant representations of Chianti. In one of the 42 coffers that make up the splendid ceiling, one can admire the painting “L’Allegoria del Chianti (The Allegory of Chianti),” painted by Giorgio Vasari between 1563 and 1565 to illustrate the legend of the origin of Chianti Classico. Here, next to Bacchus, appears the famous Black Rooster, the symbol of the ancient League of Chianti, which was then chosen in 1924 as the symbol of the Consortium. And imposing and reassuring in the background of the scene, among the fortifications that protect Chianti, stands the Castle of Brolio.

The Salone hosted a large audience of Consortium members, journalists, institutions, and distinguished guests for the conference, eloquently entitled “Back to the future”, which focused on the theme of sustainability. “The quality of a wine is not only about its ability to provide pleasure but increasingly coincides with its regional signature, the ability to express its provenance,” said Giovanni Manetti, President of the Consortium, as he opened the proceedings.

There were many institutional greetings: from the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, to the President of the Tuscany Region, Eugenio Giani, from the Vice President and Agriculture Councilor, Stefania Saccardi, to the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella. There were also many contributions from illustrious representatives of the world’s most important wine regions: from the Consortium of Barolo, Barbaresco, Alba, Langhe and Dogliani, to the Institute of Douro and Port Wines (Portugal), from the Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) and Willamette Valley Wine Foundation (Oregon, USA) to France with the Confédération des Appellations et des Vignerons de Bourgogne, to the Comité Champagne. All brought heartfelt and significant testimony of the commitment and concrete actions taken for the practice of increasingly sustainable viticulture.

Sustainability was then the focus of the Round Table that followed, moderated by Luciano Ferraro, Deputy Director and renowned chief editor of Corriere della Sera’s Wine section: an illuminating discussion on the key themes that emerged during the conference, which we will delve into soon.

Among the most moving moments of the day was the presentation of a plaque dedicated to the descendants of the 33 founding fathers of the Consortium, whose companies are still owned by the same family. Only three remain, including Francesco Ricasoli, who received the recognition for his grandfather Luigi Ricasoli Firidolfi’s commitment. The plaque inscription reads: “There were 33 visionaries and we can say today, 100 years later, that their vision was to believe in unity of purpose, in the strength of the collective, and to focus on integration, leaving behind the short-sightedness of individual private interests because, only in this way, they understood, could the wine production encompassing an entire region be managed.”

At the end of the gala dinner at the Teatro della Pergola, which brought the centenary celebration to a magnificent conclusion, Francesco Ricasoli commented: “This is a great day for Chianti Classico. Grandfather Luigi and the other founders were able to imagine a future that we have had the privilege of experiencing. And today, it is up to us to carry the torch forward in the best way possible to push ever higher our denomination, now synonymous with great wines all over the world. In the name of sustainability and unity of purpose.”

today, it is up to us to carry the torch forward in the best way possible to push ever higher our denomination, now synonymous with great wines all over the world. In the name of sustainability and unity of purpose.