ASSOVINI SICILIA, THE ASSOCIATION THAT’S ALL ABOUT BUSINESS
Promoting high-quality wine from Sicily as if it were a big company, with all that entails in terms of goals, strategy and specific know-how: that’s the secret of the association which, today, groups together some 90 of the Region’s main wine-producing firms, generating 80% of the value of Sicilian wine in bottle.
To inform about a real “viticultural continent”, Sicily, with the voice of the companies that make it great: that is the mission of Assovini Sicilia, which groups together many of the most famous wine producers who promote the name of Sicily around the world. Founded in 1998 and based on an idea of three of the leading players among the winemakers of the island, Diego Planeta (Planeta Estates), Giacomo Rallo (Tenuta di Donnafugata) and Lucio Tasca d’Almerita (Conte Tasca d’Almerita), the association today numbers some 90 members, who have three elements in common: total control over the whole wine production process, from the vine to the bottle; production of high-quality wine in bottle; and a global vision of the market.
United by a shared vision of quality and convinced of the importance of promoting their Region, members both large and small speak to each other on an equal footing and with a common objective: to make Sicily into one of the “classic” areas of the wine world, without neglecting to safeguard the environment, preserve their roots and pass on their extraordinary heritage to future generations.
When it was founded, almost twenty years ago, the goal of Assovini Sicilia was that of carrying out the activities of a sort of syndicate, spurring on the institutions and the producers to concentrate on quality viticulture rather than the quantity-related type that – for years – had created value that was incapable of being reinvested in the island. In the old days in fact, there was a huge trade in bulk wine or grapes, which were sold to other Regions. Obviously, prestigious producers did exist, but the marketplace tended to recognize individual brands rather than a shared value.
Through its activities, Assovini Sicilia has contributed towards creating an awareness that pools together entrepreneurs with the same idea of quality, convinced of the uniqueness of their particular area and of their products. Thanks to its teamwork, Assovini has succeeded in forming infrastructures for the sector, entering into discussions with the institutions, adopting a policy of quality throughout the island and creating a common language. Even today, every member contributes towards creating value; small or medium-sized companies, which represent the majority of its members, have access to resources and promotional tools that would otherwise be unobtainable; the large ones make Sicily’s name known around the world, availing themselves, too, of the considerable work that has been done on preserving the genetic and environmental heritage and on promoting typical local characteristics.
In recent years, as well as its institutional activity, Assovini has added that of promotion and communication, with the result that it now manages the applications for CMO funding on behalf of all its members. Its most important event is undoubtedly “Sicilia en Primeur”, a preview tasting of the latest vintage for the Italian and foreign trade press, as well as opinion-leading and lifestyle publications. This event was created with the aim of revealing the manifold aspects of Sicilian winemaking and of the Region’s wine zones, offering the chance to taste in a single place wines as diverse as Cerasuolo di Vittoria, the Region’s only D.O.C.G., Nerello Mascalese from Etna, Nero d’Avola from Noto, Grillo from Marsala, and a great many more. The event does not only involve tastings and meetings with the producers, but also offers the opportunity to get to know a wide variety of places and landscapes, as well as of artistic, vinous and gastronomic heritages, thanks to “Sicilia en Primeur”’s itinerant formula and the wine tours on offer. In 2015 “Sicilia en Primeur” will be held in Taormina.