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If I had the right term, I would be a billionaire. Angelo Gaja says that there is no more effective word than ‘natural' to define an agricultural food product. It is a very appealing term. Natural, in the consumer mind, is something healthy, genuine, and clean.

Professor Attilio Scienza

This third VIA Guest Blog post comes from Tiziana Forni of Dark Star Imports in New York. Tiziana, an esteemed Italian Wine Ambassador, called in the early hours of March 2, 2020 NYC time to talk directly with Stevie and Professor Scienza. Here, she helps to translate her own questions to Professor Attilio Scienza and you can listen to the original recording in Episode 281 of the Italian Wine Podcast (starting around minute 9:00).

Translation by Tiziana Forni

(Phone ringing)

Stevie: Ciao Tiziana, how are you?

Tiziana: Ciao Stevie, I am fine and how are you?

Stevie: I am here with Professor Attilio Scienza. Have you met him?

Tiziana: Unfortunately, I do not know him in person!

Stevie: Tiziana is one of our Ambassadors and she lives in NYC. How is it going there?

Tiziana: The situation is still calm, no panic with the very first cases starting to happen.

Stevie: But do not worry, your President will fix everything.😎😎

Tiziana: Well, I am an Italian citizen...

Stevie: Ok, let’s take your question.

Scienza: Buongiorno Tiziana, I hope to see you soon on one of our ‘gite scolastiche.’

Tiziana: So do I. Professor Scienza, which is for you the most appropriate definition of ‘natural wine’?

Scienza: Eh, a tricky question. It is more a trap, than a question…

Stevie: You better watch what you say!😰😰 Attilio, I'm warning you, I'll have to censor you!!

Tiziana: No, no it is not a trap. The reason for this question is because natural wine is a popular subject in NYC and consumers have no idea what this means.

Scienza: But also, producers don’t know the meaning…

Stevie: Scienzaaaa! 😱😱 I warned you!

Scienza: Natural wine is a misleading term; just think that the European Community forbids printing the word ‘natural’ on wine labels. This should lead people to think that something is not working properly. Natural means that something develops or happens in nature without the help of man, so natural is a strawberry in the forest, natural is the grape from a wild vine in Maremma. However, the right moment that a variety or a species is brought from nature to an agricultural setting, that variety or species loses all ‘natural’ essence. Domestication by man has substantially modified the genetic structure. These varieties cannot live any longer in a hostile environment without any help. They do not have any chances of survival!

Stevie: Can we use another term?

Scienza: I would like an alternative, a different term. It could be ‘anarchic’ wine

Stevie: Scienza!😱😱 Tiziana could you imagine selling anarchic wines?

Scienza: An unconventional wine.😄😄 Natural cannot be used. 😄😄

Stevie: All right, Attilio! Give me a different alternative.

Scienza: If I had the right term, I would be a billionaire. Angelo Gaja says that there is no more effective word than ‘natural,’ to define an agricultural food product. It is a very appealing term. Natural, in the consumer mind, is something healthy, genuine, and clean. Natural wine is not the kind of wine as described by this term, because men need to farm the grape, you need to do something in the cellar. The juice pressed from the grape needs to be managed by man, otherwise you get vinegar.

Stevie: Yes, yes, Attilio you are a great storyteller… And how do you explain this overwhelming passion for natural wine?

Scienza: It’s an anthropological approach, it’a a kind of refusal of industrial wines. It is the alternative to industrial wines. I am truly convinced that the modern wines are manipulated too much. I am the first to assert this.

Stevie: Ok, stop it, stop it!

Scienza: Today the spirit of the origin is lacking. The wine, and I will also confirm this concept in another answer, is too commercial. Wine lost the ideals related to the myth, the story, the tradition, the culture.

Stevie: Romantic wine.

Scienza: Exactly. Romantic wine has disappeared. The natural wines should represent the alternative to such sophisticated wines, that is, wines produced essentially according to industrial criteria. Then, the consumer sees in the selected yeasts, sulfites, clarifications something changing the original nature of a wine, and they believe that these substances or processes are totally unhealthy.

Scienza: Tiziana, now let’s talk about your second question on Erbamat.

Stevie: You already answered to Patty about Erbamat

Scienza: Right, but Tiziana was highlighting that Erbamat is registered in the National registry of Grape Varieties with the synonym of Verdealbara. This is a mistake. Verdealbara is an old variety from Trentino.

Tiziana: Right.

Stevie: Be careful, Tiziana. Attilio is from Trentino.

Scienza: Albamatta is a correct synonym of Erbamat.

Stevie: Ok. Tiziana what time is it in NY?

Tiziana: 6:40 AM

Stevie: Are you dressed? It is very early.

Tiziana: Um, more or less...

Stevie: Ok, ok, we do not want to know more details. It’s time for your shower. 🚿🚿 Ciao.

Tiziana: Ciao.

Scienza: Ciao e a presto in Italy.