Lugana, 50 years in 5 steps

Claudio Andrizzi
Written by Claudio Andrizzi

A celebration tour in five stages, one for each of the villages where the wine can be produced: this is the way Lugana prepares to celebrate its first half century, an important anniversary that celebrates the past fifty years since the establishment of Doc (the first of Lombardy) in the distant 1967.

The program was made official at Vinitaly by President Luca Formentini and director Carlo Veronese (with them the Federdoc president, Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, a Franciacorta producer), which did not fail to recall the decisive stages of a virtuous circle, which in a few years brought a wine region in identity crisis to become one of the most striking phenomena of Italian wine in recent years.

The numbers are impressive: the Turbiana grape, quoted above 200 euro per quintal, is one of the most expensive in Italy, with the average price for non bottled Lugana now stable beyond 4 euros per liter. All the while the production has flown over 15 million bottles sold for 80% abroad: “Not only in Germany – director Veronese said – but also in countries where people don’t even know what Lake Garda is”.

Not bad for an area where, as witnessed in Verona by past president Francesco Montresor, “in 1956 the grapes were left to rot on the plant as my father wrote in a letter that I recently recovered”.

But even in more recent times to be honest things were no better. “Up to twenty years ago picking grapes cost more than to leave them on plants” -, told the director. But then things changed, grafting the way for a recovery that, as president Formentini said, “is born not from a marketing research but from the passion of honest people.”

And then the celebrations: it all starts in June with a tasting of old vintages in Desenzano, then in July a convention in Lonato and in September the classic tasting  Armonie senza Tempo in Peschiera. Sirmione and Pozzolengo will be involved in October and November with two other initiatives, respectively “Lugana with taste” and a great gala dinner for the closing of the celebrations.

Happy birthday, Lugana.

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