The centuries-old tradition of Chianti Classico adopts sustainability
September 2020 – Ricasoli obtains the Equalitas certification from Valoritalia, an important recognition that rewards the choices and sustainability policies of the oldest Italian winery. Today Ricasoli is also one of the most important and prestigious wine companies on the international market.
Ricasoli’s journey towards sustainability began several years ago and led to a first significant result in 2019, when the company obtained, yet from Valoritalia, Italy’s leading certification body in the agri-food sector, both the SQNPI certification for soils and the Organic one for some product lines. By complying to the Equalitas standard, Ricasoli completes a transformation process that has made it an avant-garde winery, oriented towards progressively reducing the environmental impact and, at the same time, attentive to social and economic sustainability.
Since the mid-1800s, when it was led by Bettino Ricasoli, the second President of the Council of a united Italy, the company has made of experimentation its distinctive feature. It is in the famous cellars of Brolio that “Barone di Ferro” (as Bettino Ricasoli was nicknamed) developed the so-called “Chianti formula”, the current Chianti Classico, cornerstone of the Tuscan wine heritage.
With 240 hectares of specialized vineyards, Ricasoli is currently the company with the largest vineyard in the Chianti Classico area, the Tuscan designation of origin recognized since 1716 and considered the oldest in the world. Francesco Ricasoli, direct descendant of Barone di Ferro and current president of the company, has followed the family tradition by carrying out intense research, with the aim of delineating the peculiarities of the company’s viticultural heritage. The result was a very precise zoning, which has led to the production of some cru of great quality. Research, quality and sustainability are the pillars around which Francesco Ricasoli has shaped the company and which make it one of the best known Italian brands in the world.
The corporate goal declared by Francesco Ricasoli is to quickly achieve a zero environmental impact for the company. “Sustainability – he declares – will play an increasingly decisive role, both in production processes and in consumer choices. For morphological composition and location, the farm lands are among the most uncontaminated and pure in Tuscany; our cellars are located where woods and stony ground existed, we grew up in harmony with nature and we made interventions only where necessary and always respecting the environmental and territorial balance. In such an intact context, choosing to practice a viticulture very friendly to nature, using agronomic techniques with low environmental impact was easy. The research carried out over the years and the technologies applied, have allowed us to fully respect the territory and at the same time to produce quality wines. For these reasons, we interpret and put into practice a 360-degree approach to sustainability and we consider it our great point of pride. ”
For Francesco Liantonio, President of Valoritalia, the verifications carried out in the company have highlighted a leading reality: “We are impressed by the attention that Ricasoli has towards the Chianti area, the environment and the organization. Equalitas is a difficult and demanding standard; an objective that can only be achieved if you have an efficient structure and great technical skills. I am convinced that Ricasoli constitutes a reference model for all Italian wineries. Maintaining a strong bond with tradition while creating innovation and value implies courage and commitment out of the ordinary “.
The Equalitas standardization body – which developed and owns the standard – provides for the possibility of certifying three production dimensions pertaining to the wine sector: the producer company (Organization Standard), the finished wine (Product Standard) and finally the territory circumscribed by a Designation of Origin (Standard of Territory). The Equalitas Body is a so-called “Standard Owner”, that is to say a company that does not carry out the checks directly but for this purpose accredits other certification bodies, in this case Valoritalia. To be certified with this standard, wineries must adopt “good practices” defined by economic, environmental and social indicators that are integrated with each other and which affect all production phases, from the vineyard to the transport of the finished product. At the end of the process, companies must draw up a Sustainability Report in which the results are illustrated and the improvement objectives established.
Ricasoli (www.ricasoli.com) – Ricasoli is the most representative company of the Chianti Classico area. Located among the hills, valleys and woods that frame the Brolio castle, in the municipality of Gaiole in Chianti, the 1200 hectares of property include about 240 vineyards and 26 planted with olive trees. In this portion of Chianti, in central Tuscany, Francesco Ricasoli has been leading the company since 1993 in continuity with a family heritage intimately linked to the territory.
Under his leadership the company has introduced innovative concepts, starting from sustainability: the study of the soils and clonal selection of Sangiovese of Brolio are the main tools used, as well as the greatest passions of Francesco Ricasoli, to the extent that he has completed both a complete mapping of the different characters of the company terroir and the total renewal of the vineyards. The company’s wines are the result of constant research and experimentation and respect for the characteristics of the territory, as well as that rigor and passion that are typical of the great Tuscan family.
Valoritalia (www.valoritalia.it) – Valoritalia is the leading Italian company in the certification of wines with Designation of Origin. The company guarantees the traceability of the product from the vineyard to the placing on the market, ensuring that companies, institutions and consumers comply with the production standards established in the Production Regulations adopted by the respective Protection Consortia. Twelve years after its birth, Valoritalia is present in most of the italian territory with 35 offices, in which 230 women and men work, supported by over 1,000 external collaborators. Between DOC, DOCG and IGT, Valoritalia certifies 230 Designations of Origin, equal to over 60% of the national production of quality wines. In addition, Valoritalia also offers the certification of organic and integrated crop management production (SQNPI) of several thousand companies, as well as certifying innovative sustainability standards, such as EQUALITAS, VIVA and VINNATUR. Finally, Valoritalia operates in equivalence with other international standards such as NOP (USA), COR (Canada) and JAS (Japan), Bio-Suisse (Switzerland).