Francesco Illy asks Brunello consortium to postpone assembly

Above: Grape growers began harvesting Sangiovese today in Montalcino. Photo by Montalcino Report.

Franco and I have obtained a copy of a letter written and circulated today by Mastrojanni owner Francesco Illy. The following is my translation of the letter.


Dear Mr. President and Council Members,

On August 21, a heat storm [spike] with strong winds and temperatures reaching 41° C. [106° F] struck Montalcino. Grapes that were ripening have been dried up in quantities that vary between 5-50% depending on the zone and the age of the vines.

This event will add difficult, prolonged work for producers and consortium members: we are currently harvesting and many of us are bottling. Regardless, this is the toughest time of the year and the heat damage makes it even more difficult. None of us have the time, energy, or desire to attend the meeting called by you for September 7, 2011.

Without even speculating on the reasons that lead you to call an Assembly when the greater part of those with the right to vote will be absent, I denounce your insistence on maintaining this date. Beyond the evident facts that I have listed here, it is weighty proof of your total lack of sensitivity to the interests of your producers and consortium members.

Therefore, in the name of my winery and in the name of all those who will endorse this letter, I ask that the Assembly of the Brunello di Montalcino Consortium scheduled for September 7, 2011, be changed to a later date to be determined because of the difficult conditions of the harvest.

Hoping that I have reawakened your dormant however duty-bound sensitivity, I thank you for your consideration and send you my regards.

—Francesco Illy


I’d also like to bring to your attention a tweet by my friend Laura Gray who manages the Palazzone estate in Montalcino:

    How did we get from a pro-Sangiovese petition to a forced meeting to include different % int. grapes but no option to vote for status quo?

I’m posting in a hurry from the road today but will post again just as soon as I have the chance to share some insights into today’s developments.

Thanks for reading!

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