It is an instrument for the analysis and collection of data related to the production, consumption and marketing of Italian sparkling wines. The term sparkling refers to a way to produce a kind of wine different from all others as well as to a world of emotions and feasting. It is an open page to get to know the differences, the typologies, the denominations that make up the great and wide world of Classic method bubbles or traditional spumante wines or Franciacorta…the Italian method with its versions, whether sweet or dry, the simplest method to make sparkling wines.
OVSE was born in 1990, on the initiative of Giampietro Comolli, who at the time was the director of the Consortium for the protection of Colli Piacentini wines, one of the very first agencies that dealt with traceability and international protection of labels. The cooperation with the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore and its Viticulture Department (thanks to prof. Mario Fregoni), and the position of national counsellor of Federdoc, the connections with Oltrepo Pavese, with the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Wine Committee, chaired by sen Desana first, then by prof. Fregoni, in particular with Minister Giovanni Goria and with Ismea, as well as his presence at the Enoteca Regionale in Emilia Romagna, allowed Comolli to get in touch with institutes and companies, getting an overall picture of the “bubble” sector, and to set up a privileged observatory. The Observatory took a clearer shape, also internationally, when Comolli was called to the position of director of the Franciacorta Consortium. Eventually the instrument of analysis and research became a point of reference for data and, with the creation of the Forum Spumanti d’Italia by Comolli, a temporary “unicum” of information, background and communication came off until 2009, favouring the uniformity of data.
Since 2010 the Observatory has resumed independently its original autonomous makeup of contacts and references, updating and modernizing itself.
In the course of 20 years the Observatory has laid the foundations for close important collaborations and relationships. Today it counts on a network of informers and reporting institutional subjects spread all over the country and the world, with the goal of providing elements and figures “as real and sure as possible about the consumption and the markets of the Italian wines made by the productive methods of prise de mousse”. Identified by the law in an anonymous generic way as “spumante wines or sparkling wines”.
Production data are important and are provided, tracked down, examined, checked, retrieved at the sector agencies: from protection Consortiums to associations of producers, from the different Unions and Federations and CCiaa offices to the Regions’ departments. An important essential point of reference is certainly Assoenologi, that, thanks to a network of technical operators scattered on the national territory, is able to draw up careful forecasts about harvests and production, making them public and providing fundamental basic data for any line of argument and comparison with the max. production figures obtained from the different production disciplines of Docg, Doc and Igt typologies. But production, including Vsq and Vs products which are a substantial, though not traceable at the origin, part of it, represents only one reference datum. The Observatory collection of figures is based on a vague framework of subjects that can supply also partial data and observations, such as the bureaux in charge of shipment controls, the customs, State wrappers, winehouses, associations, consortiums, newspapers, magazines, surveys, etc…. The data they supply are monitored and crossed with the data directly obtained from two channels: a panel of market operators, such as buyers and intermediate or final sellers from Italy (nearly 100 from different regions, among business agents, area managers, sales managers, wineshops, restaurants, bars, restaurant and hotel owners, catering, etc.) and from the main continents ( among them, national and international boards collecting data through their own sources, like IWSR) and a panel of final consumers (about 400) divided into homogeneous statistic groups by composition, geographic area, consumption typology.
The Observatory also collects all the file data and all the strategic knowledge gathered in years of contacts with winehouses, technical bureaux and foreign countries by means of personal acquaintance. This way it wants to grant the possibility of contrasting and comparing all the different entrepreneurial components that produce a “wine subjected to a prise de mousse” and aims at observing and studying the evolution of the market, the trends of different typologies, the tendencies of taste and consumption, of demand and offer, both in Italy and abroad. A constant action also devoted to the collection and filing of data and figures on the behaviour, development and trends of different denominations, geographic indications, typologies, and different Italian regions; besides, yearly the Observatory effects and/or commissions several researches and surveys on final consumers.
The historical elements are necessary to create a real research centre available to the public, that can be used by research workers, students for their thesis, foreign studies and operators of the sector. In fact, as a natural evolution of direct professional knowledge and of the research set going with universities, a research centre was born, dedicated to didactic and professional training and education, including the arrangement of the first programme of studies for an interuniversity Master degree in Oenology, Trade and Marketing of sparkling wines, divided by production method. An Italian one-off.
That’s why the Observatory will have to contribute more and more to provide a support in order to “differentiate” typologies, denominations and production methods.
A questionnaire of control and survey is regularly sent , through research agencies and universities, to producing companies ( 275 out of about 600). Italian winehouses, whether producers of sparkling wines or not, require that a step further is taken in the gathering of somatic data on markets and consumptions, opting for tailored surveys and inquiries that may help them in their strategic choices, so as to guide consumers in the maze of different typologies, methods and values on the market, and to simplify and pinpoint comparison parameters. The Observatory wishes to provide a general reference, but one that helps all those concerned to find their way through the differences and diversities of the Italian heritage. It must go on growing so that it can indirectly contribute also towards a greater institutional dialogue among the different qualified souls of production and so create a “differentiated force of the line” that can lay on the rule making table proposals directed to simplifying and clarifying rules for final consumers, insiders and novices. Anyway, a catalyst, a moment of strategic sharing, no matter how autonomous for every territory or producing area, becomes necessary to understand and work together. That’s why we wish to stimulate the emergence of separate observatories for every Origin and Territory Denomination, to better itemize our work and provide a more complete outline, one that can be directly used by direct interested parties. Precisely cold figures (when real and sure) can help understand the need for a permanent cognizant work to inform and explain production and consumption peculiarities.
Data, surveys and international responses lead us to understand once again that the national producing world of “spumante and sparkling wines” is heterogeneous, that typologic differentiation and production diversification are positive factors to be encouraged, but also to be presented (even in the designation) more clearly and directly to consumers. We, www.ovse.org , undertake to differentiate, in the shortest possible time, data, figures and comments, even the archive ones, even the first to be investigated, the ones of the ‘90s.
Information (that is knowledge of typology, territory and identity) can contribute predominantly to eliminate seasonal variations in consumption, to make these wines an all-meal drink, to develop and foster the growth of every single Denomination.