Above: We took Georgia P to Proseccoland for the first time in September 2012 when she was about nine months old. The grapes were still on the vines and about to be harvested. She loved playing in the vineyards and Tracie P and I felt good about it because the two vineyards we visted — Bele Casel and Zanotto — are both organically farmed.
On Friday of last week, a friend of ours from mainland Venice, Paola, alerted me to a report in Oggi Treviso (Treviso Today) about daycare mothers protesting the use of pesticides and herbicides in Proseccoland.
According to the author of the article, the local chapter of the WWF has helped them to organize an assembly (this coming Friday) to address their concerns about chemicals being sprayed in vineyards that lie adjacent to a preschool daycare center.
Yesterday, I wrote about the event for the Bele Casel blog, a site devoted to the Veneto and viticulture in Proseccoland.
Above: During the “Prosecchissima” festival in the village of Miane in April of this year, the WWF Altamarca displayed signs calling for the abolition of chemical-based farming in the Prosecco DOCG appellation (source: PDQNews.it). The signs were removed by thieves.
But this morning, as I poked around the internets looking for more info about the situation “on the ground” in Proseccoland, I learned that similar protests, assemblies, and impassioned calls for a chemical-free Prosecco DOCG have been going on since 2011 when the WWF opened a local chapter, WWF Altamarca (no website).
I also discovered a video feed by European parliament deputy Andrea Zanoni, a Treviso resident and native, who has been documenting his battle with “big Prosecco” to curb the use of chemicals and to stop the deforesting of woods in the appellation.
Here’s a video from his YouTube page:
The video was shot in the township of Tarzo, not far from the preschool where mothers first raised concerns about pesticides being sprayed.
Like the WWF Altamarca, Zanoni has also called for a halt to helicopter spraying.
In another of his videos, he notes that restaurant-diners were recently affected by pesticide-spraying aircraft. Such spraying, he says, is only allowed in extreme cases and he believes that recent airborne spraying is in direct violation of EU regulation.
Before his passing, even the great Veneto poet Andrea Zanzotto lent his gravitas to the cause, publicly aligning himself with the WWF mission.
I first traveled to Proseccoland in 1989 (playing music) and I think it’s safe to say that no other Italian appellation has been transformed so radically by “big wine.”
The Prosecco boom of the last two and half decades and the ever growing demand for grapes are so enticing that chemical-farming and the clearing of land has become a way of life there.
I’ll be following these stories and will continue to report on them here and on the Bele Casel blog.
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