What year will it be?
Interview with Giovanni Traini
December is a time for reflections, ideas, and projects. It's the moment to look back at those almost 365 days gone by to understand what they were like, how they unfolded, and where they have led us. We have another year ahead to think about and work on. So, we decided to catch up with Giovanni Traini, our president, in the winery for a chat and hear from his perspective the balance of 2023 and what to expect in 2024.
Giovanni Traini: We've reached the end of another year, and in this 2023, I would like to highlight the investments in the company with a commitment to obtaining certifications, especially the Equalitas certification (for corporate sustainability) obtained in July. This makes us the first sustainable certified winery in the Piceno region and the third in the Marche. This recognition has a long history. For years, our company has implemented actions focused on environmental, social, and economic sustainability. We are one of the first organic companies in the Marche region, and we have implemented energy-saving processes with a keen focus on the health and working conditions of our employees and partners. In 2023, our traditional Colli Ripani Festival took place, providing the opportunity to organize, for the first time, a conference dedicated to the world of wine and the territory. This event will undoubtedly be repeated in the coming years, along with the first agricultural fair and our Festival. We are already working on these, as well as being focused on the goals that will guide us in the coming year. For 2024, we want to continue investing in quality, promotion, and marketing, strengthening our presence in both national and international markets. Our bottled products have reached a high level of quality, confirmed by the awards and recognition our wines continue to receive. Publication in sector guides and the strengthening of the commercial network consistently enhance the recognition of our winery. The path we are on is the right one.
Question: Let's talk about the 2023 harvest. How did it go?
GT: We probably concluded the worst harvest that our company and our region can remember. There are no records of similar vintages. Everything concentrated in May. First, a severe hailstorm damaged a significant portion of the grapes, followed by continuous rains that avoided regular treatments, both for organically managed vineyards and conventionally managed ones, although the latter suffered less damage. Moreover, the rains triggered downy mildew, which, in some cases, destroyed even 100% of the harvest, reducing the quantity processed by our Cooperative by 50%. In this challenging situation, we can highlight two positive aspects. The first is attributed to our organizational capacity: this year, we implemented an agronomic monitoring project of the plants led by Dr. Stefano Acciarri. With the help of internal collaborators and the support of the collective purchasing manager, we managed to contain downy mildew and other diseases in some cases, enabling members to deliver a decent quantity of grapes. At the same time, by making harvest choices in collaboration with our technician, we succeeded in obtaining high-quality products this year as well. The second aspect concerns the wholesale market, which we revitalized. From the end of 2022 until the 2023 harvest, it was a paralyzed market, with more requests for crisis distillation. Today, considering everything that has happened, the prices of stored wines and new products obtained are experiencing a decent demand, with increases of 15-20% compared to the previous year. This gives us some comfort for the continuation of our business and social life.
Q: The project that concludes 2023 is the opening of the new sales point in Ripatransone. How did it come about, and what will it be?
GT: We are pleased to have inaugurated our sales point in the historic center of hometown Ripatransone on December 2, at Piazza Matteotti 1. Here, too, I am proud to say that we are the first company in Ripatransone to invest in the city's territory. The project had been in the works for a few years, since we began investing in promoting the territory as a value to introduce our wines worldwide. Our city is beautiful, attracting tourists and travelers, and its alleys and squares become places of gathering and sharing, especially in summer and during holidays. We want our sales point, the Club dei Colli Ripani – Enoteca e Wine Bar, to become a space that welcomes anyone looking for a memory of their land or vacation and a place to taste, savor, and discover our wines and the territory we represent. The 'Club dei Colli Ripani', by no means an exclusive club, is rather a place to live and share.
Q: Given the season: what wish do you want to extend to the members and their families?
GT: There's a wish I renew every year for myself and extend to all Cooperative members and their families. I hope – and this wish aligns with my commitment and that of all employees – that our board of directors can implement all the necessary initiatives so that our company supports the activities of each individual member. The holidays are also a time for lightness and laughter, so I wish everyone to spend them in a serene and relaxed manner.
One last thing, I want to make an appeal: remember to give our Colli Ripani as Christmas gifts, the fruit of our work, and the beauty of our land.
Thank you, Giovanni, for your time, and happy holidays to you too.