INTERVIEW WITH ANTHROPOLOGIST ERNESTO DI RENZO
REGARDING THE SECRETS OF THE WINE LANDSCAPE
By Emanuele Cenghiaro
Beauty, colors, harmony, history, culture, symbolism: there are a thousand fascinating aspects within a wine landscape. A richness that has also caught the attention of Unesco.
Prof. Di Renzo, what is a landscape?
The landscape is a “category” of culture. It is not nature itself, it is not a simple physical space but how man works on these landscapes, transforming and bending them to meet his needs. It is always the result of a dialectical relationship that becomes structural over time.
Is this why wine landscapes have aroused the interest of Unesco?
Let’s clarify that talking about landscape in the context of Unesco means referring to an agreement drawn up in 1972, aimed at preserving and enhancing all the aspects that concern heritage, or rather, the world heritage of humanity. This is divided into a cultural heritage, a natural heritage and, since 1992, also in a “cultural landscape”, a category that implies a constant and joint cooperation between nature and man. That is, something in which culture is the “agent” element, nature is the “medium” and cultural landscape is the “result”. Wine landscapes also belong to the “result”.
Can you provide some examples?
So far, Unesco has recognized a dozen sites, the first being the wine-growing landscape of Saint-Émilion in the Dordogne valley, in 1999. In Italy there are two registered sites, the wine-growing landscape of Langhe Roero and Monferrato (2014) and that of the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (2019). Then there is a third Italian main character to mention, the cultivation of sapling vine in Pantelleria. This is however included in another list, the one representing the “intangible cultural heritage” of humanity, which is the object of another convention signed in 2003, concerning everything that refers entirely to the intangible aspects of human culture. In this case the different techniques, and the combination of material and immaterial skills behind that particular type of winemaking, are enhanced.