The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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august 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  63 throughout our range." These efforts have paid off: Wine Enthusiast named Mezzacorona its European winery of the year in 2009, and Wine Spectator listed it as one of 100 great producers of wine worldwide in 2014. Location, Location, Location Although Mezzacorona has grown quite large in the past 112 years, everything involved in its wine production still begins small. Most of the growers' plots are on average less than four acres each, carved into the flat but narrow bottoms and the steep hillsides of the Noce and Adige rivers, which both have their sources high in the Alps. Nearby, just south of the Alps, are the Dolomite Mountains, a pastoral setting that draws thousands of tourists in the summer and skiers in the winter. Mezzacorona's growers can see snow on the high mountains year- round as they work in their vineyards. Many of them are descendants of German-speaking settlers from Austria who through the centuries traveled south across the high moun- tain passes of the Alps and settled in what was then called Südtirol, or South Tyrol. While some raised cattle, grape growers made wines that were sold primarily in Austria and Germany. "We have always looked outward for our markets," Maccari emphasizes. Harvests at Mezzacorona are still by hand, just like they were done 112 years ago. PHOTO COURTESY OF MEZZACORONA PHOTO COURTESY OF MEZZACORONA PHOTOS COURTESY OF MEZZACORONA Stewards of the Land Mezzacorona's farmers learned to be good stewards of their vines and the soils in which they grow. Today, they are aided by a team of Mezzacorona agronomists who provide general growing instructions as well as updates on best vineyard practices. They also hold technical meetings and jointly work out picking instruc- tions when harvest nears. "The agronomist is like a conductor with an orchestra of 1,600 members," Maccari says. He points out that Mezzacorona has always been a leader in what are today recognized as "green" or sustainability practices, including being the first winery in the region to introduce and implement pest control using "sexual confusion" to control pest reproduction instead of spraying harmful chemicals. Harvests at Mezzacorona are by hand, but the winery where the grapes are processed is thoroughly modern, located mostly underground to conserve elec- tricity for cooling, while solar panels collect heat for energy production. From the vineyard to the winery, green-friendliness and sustainability are not just slogans but daily practices. In recent years, Gruppo Mezzacorona has decided to take advantage of its wine- making knowledge, as well its international marketing experiences, by expanding production into other areas, "gradually going into new geographies," as Maccari explains it. In addition to the Mezzacorona brand, Gruppo Mezzacorona also owns, produces and markets Rotari Trentodoc metodo classico sparkling wines and the Stemmari table wines made at their winery in Sicily. A Leader in Marketing Initiatives Maccari also emphasizes that the company intends to be a leader in its market- ing initiatives just as it is in winegrowing. "We are particularly committed to the intelligent use of social media," he says, "which I see as 'pills of knowledge' on Facebook and other platforms." To emphasize its roots—and its present—as a grower-based company, Mezzacorona is also producing monthly features on individual farmers and their families on social media channels. With more than 100 years of wine making experiencing behind it, Mezzacorona feels well prepared to meet the challenges of the future and the ever-changing demands of consumers around the world.

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