Tradition and innovation are often discussed in the wine world, as if they were two opposing directions: if a winery is bent on innovation, it will certainly have lost its identity, whereas if it is anchored in tradition, it will have no future. What if it wasn’t as so?
Innovation, tradition, technology and sustainability have always gone hand in hand at Vinchio Vaglio, in order to pursue one single goal: ensuring the territory and vines express their full potential.
Vinchio Vaglio winery was founded in 1959, and a lot has changed since then: in the vineyard, in the cellar, in the world. Consumer tastes have changed, viticulture technologies have changed, and the territory we operate in has also changed. If we then look at the most recent events of the past few years, it is easy for anyone to realise the abruptness of the historical changes we are experiencing: the health crisis, the climate emergency and energy problems are just the tip of the iceberg of more profound socio-political changes.
Such changes represent new challenges for the wine world, and they once again confirm Vinchio Vaglio winery’s ability to adapt, evolve and anticipate the times, while remaining true to its own tradition.
Vinchio Vaglio’s tradition: wine’s identity value
Everything starts from the earth. From these Monferrato hills that are so harsh that ‘if your cap falls over, you need to chase it down to the valley‘. From this ‘green sea’ of Val Sarmassa that has always fascinated romantic souls. From these territories, now a UNESCO heritage site, also thanks to our vineyards.
Our story begins way back in 1959. A story from another era that tells of the strength of simple men who decided to accomplish extraordinary things. The coming together of two long-time rival villages, in order to pursue the common good of the entire population.
Vinchio Vaglio winery is the mirror of everything this territory has to offer: sociality, communion, excellence and dynamism.
Vinchio Vaglio’s innovation: the fruit of the future
What is innovation if not a drive dictated by competition, the market, consumers, laws or new technologies? It is a reaction to external stimuli that foster and impose change. Not seizing them would mean not reaping the rewards (and not only in a literal sense).
Thus, the history of the winery tells the story of what brought great innovation from the very beginning. Were the market conditions in the 1950s too difficult to do it alone? So, Vinchio Vaglio cooperative was born. First external stimulus, first reaction.
Is the market lowering grape quality in favour of quantity? In the 1990s, the ambitious Piedmont DOC Barbera project was born, in which the Cooperative was the first to seize all the potentials of the vine to produce an everyday wine of excellent quality/price ratio, that is also fresh, fruity, easy to drink. A stimulus, a reaction, in absolute countertrend. As was also the case for Barbera Vigne Vecchie, born from the selection of the most productive vines that are over 50 years old, and for the Barbera Sei Vigne Insynthesis super selection project that ended in 2004 with the Tre Bicchieri award.
Is the young consumer drinking less, but more attentively and consciously? Vinchio Vaglio responds with I tre Vescovi, a fresh and pleasant Barbera that meets the palate of all those who love this grape variety.
And again: is the environment becoming the most precious asset to be protected? This is where all the environmental sustainability initiatives that have been at the forefront of the winery’s attention in recent years have been developed. From the large investment in new bottling lines to the introduction of the Bag In Box format, from the introduction of solar panels to programmes for the enhancement of the territory such as the ‘Picnic al Casotto’ and the ‘Nidi di Vinchio Vaglio’ itinerary.
Packaging, labels, new corking models, cultivation techniques: innovation must be seen as the process of enhancing the wine product. Winemaking is both an art and a science that combines soil, climate, grape varieties and production techniques. New technologies therefore support the winegrower and the cellar at every stage of winemaking, from the vineyard to selling.
Added to this is the introduction of digital technologies crossing all areas: from cellar management to the use of social media to bottling processes.
Over the years there have been constant stimuli, and the cooperative winery has continued to maintain that same spirit of adjustment. Because wine is not just about the grapes, but rather speaks of the story, the territory and the people who live it, yesterday as today, as tomorrow.
Does it still make sense to set innovation against tradition in wine?
“Innovation and tradition are no longer two opposing principles, but rather two sides of the same coin. It is precisely thanks to innovation expressed in all its milieus that a tradition such as that of Vinchio Vaglio, which began even before the winery itself was founded, can be carried on today. Innovation, therefore, as a means of protecting tradition and being able to continue to transmit all the values of our territory, our winegrowers and our wines in a modern key’.Cristiano Fornaro, Vice president Vinchio Vaglio