This year a new research has been commissioned, the Soave Smart Wine Garden, to be conducted by the Venetian university, as a natural continuation of their primary study which ultimately led to the Italian Ministry’s recognition of Soave as the first rural landscape of historic interest in Italy.
“Soave Smart Wine Garden” is the title of the new research launched by the Soave Consortium in collaboration with the IUAV University in Venice, and dedicated to the “Vine-clad hills of Soave”.
The study is a natural continuation of the first research, also conducted by IUAV, which led to the Italian Agricultural Ministry’s recognition of Soave as the first Rural landscape of historic interest in Italy and its inclusion in the National Register of rural landscapes of historic interest.
This new project has the ambitious aim to develop and propose a model to conserve Soave’s landscapes, based on a collective understanding of their cultural value.
The study will be conducted by Chrysafina Geronta PhD, here on a research grant at IUAV, originally from Rodi and in living in Italy for the past eight years; and by Francesca Peroni, also a IUAV researcher, over the course of an entire year of on-site work.
Soave Smart Wine Garden represents another element that pushes deeper into the themes of protecting, promoting and developing the production area. This commitment by the small Consortium team actually began over ten years ago when there were few that really believed that protecting the landscape could play an integral role in wine production.
The dry-stone walls, the votive shrines, the pergola trellising, the historic hillside vineyards still productive and cultivated by hand, a “heroic viticulture”, as well as the terraces and embankments, and many other traditional building elements, are the defining features of the “Vine-clad hills of Soave”.
The definition of innovative guidelines and methodology for the conservation of these characteristic elements, along with a realistic plan for the removal or transformation of elements which detract from the landscape, are the goals which the research aims to reach by the end of the year.
The Soave landscape was already largely defined in the 1930’s when the first zoning of the wine production area took place. It is one of the most interesting examples of Italy’s first moves toward a concept of modern viticulture. The research aims to transform what amounts to a ministerial declaration into innovative yet practical moves to raise awareness of this historical and rural heritage amongst all players in the Soave area, including growers, citizens, policy makers, local businesses, wineries, visitors and consumers.
The study involves a multilevelled mapping of the area, and the analysis of a series of surveys and polls regarding the perception of landscape and its relative value. A particular focus will be on the terraces and embankments, which are not only characteristic elements of the production area of Soave, but also guarantee more fertile soil and improved quality.
The entrance of the Soave Doc in the National Registry of historic rural landscapes is certainly a recognition for what has been done by the Consortium in the past, but at the same time has created a new and more conscious commitment towards the protection and promotion of the landscape. The newly restored capitello di San Rocchetto, the last of ten votive shrines that have been restored or the children’s guide book to the area, Soave: a little guide for big explorers, written and illustrated by local elementary school children, are just two examples of how the Consortium remains committed to the territory.
Since 2006, in fact, the Consortium, with the collaboration of Viviana Ferrario, a professor at the IUAV in Venice, took the lead to enrich and promote the area. The resulting publication of the book “A Soave Landscape“, a volume which documents years of research regarding the production area, stimulated national interest around the themes of historic landscapes and their protection.