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The Native Grape Odyssey welcomes a new commander on board: the Spanish OIVE

Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), the coordinating body of the educational program Native Grapes Academy, completed its partnership negotiations with the Spanish association Organización Interprofesional del Vino de España (OIVE), partnering up for the project. The new collaboration was officially announced during the event in Toronto, the first edition of the Native Grape Odyssey Maestro course. In the past few weeks, the crew has continued working towards promoting European quality wine in Russia and Japan in very similar events.

The project Native Grapes Academy (NGA), financed by the European Union’s “Enjoy, It’s from Europe” programme, found a new partner for the promotion of quality European wine. Unione Italiana Vini (UIV), the coordinator of the project, signed the partnership agreement with the Organización Interprofesional del Vino de España (OIVE) with whom they will continue their journey over the next two years 2020 and 2021.

The inaugurated partnership will allow NGA to expand its educational program, integrating an in-depth study of Spain into its syllabus; one of the most important countries in Europe from an oenological perspective. Besides the analysis of the genetic relationships, NGA participants will be able to learn about the similarities and differences between the vineyards within these two countries: students will have the opportunity to have a taste (literally) of the vast number of wines produced by these two countries. OIVE will in fact offer oenological products from its member wineries, for the courses and the Walk-Around Tastings, increasing the already substantial offer of wines present at these events.

But let’s find out more about this Spanish wine organization. OIVE is the non-profit association that brings together and represents the actors within the Spanish wine sector, covering the entire supply chain from production to marketing. Spain boasts a great variety of soils and styles – just think that 970,000 hectares are cultivated and it holds nearly 5,000 winemakers. OIVE was founded in 2014 and functions as a tool for the industry; it jointly solves the issues within the Spanish wine sector by working together in unison. OIVE made this official mission statement on its website saying: “The wine sector in Spain is at an important crossroads, and now they need a stable framework more than ever: the Interprofesional del Vino de España has developed a program to meet this need.” In concrete terms, OIVE promotes and conveys information for responsible consumption of wine within the internal market; it also carries out surveys for the development and innovation of the industry, as well as initiatives for the improvement to their high-quality wine chain.

The new partnership with OIVE is also valuable because it represents a collaboration between two European countries that are widely recognized abroad for the quality of their wines. According to Statista, in 2018, Spain produced the largest volume of wine exported abroad (21 million hectolitres), followed closely by Italy (19.7 million hectolitres). Moreover, according to the data released by the Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino (OEMV), exports of wine products from Spain grew by more than 6% in the first quarter of 2019 and are still growing. The increase in Spanish exports to Japan and Russia was particularly impressive, and these two countries are significant since they are two of the key countries being targeted by the NGA project.

The decision to rely on an important player like Spain adds value to the NGA project on several levels. In addition to adding more than 130 denominations (identified at European level with the PDO, PGI and TSG marks) to the 526 Italian denominations already included among the topics of study, the common aspects between the winemaking traditions of the two countries are highlighted. The latest editorial work by Professor Attilio Scienza, “Native Grape Odyssey Volume I”, the first work in a series of six books was published as part of the NGA project. Volume I highlights how wine culture developed in these two Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy, and how they have common roots, as well as comparable products; interestingly, certain vine species within these two countries had spread corresponding to the main stops of the most popular consular roads within Europe. The common roots have been genetically studied and verified, proving a close connection between grape varieties such as the Spanish Garnacha and the Sardinian Cannonau, Graciano and Bovale, or even the Tintilla and Tintiglia.  Prof. Scienza writes: “The Mediterranean is an area of union that offers a common horizon where cultures celebrate the fruitful encounter between East and West. Among these cultures, Italy and Spain are the natural heirs of these glorious civilizations, two symbols of equal splendor that illuminated the world“.

“Native Grape Odyssey volume I” represents the first book of the course material that the NGA project will carry out over the next two years. This first volume is provided free of charge to the students of the NGO Maestro course.

Even though based on the aforementioned commonalities within these two wine producing giants, there is also great diversity, making them both unique. Thanks to the availability of each countries own native vines, as well as their extensive cultivation of international varieties, European countries such as Italy and Spain can boast their own specific product types, internationally recognized and certified by the PDO and PGI protection marks.

The collaboration with OIVE will allow the NGA organizers to bring even more examples of European wine varieties to the next activities scheduled for this year in Russia and Japan. You can follow the NGA’s journey on the official website: www.nativegrapeodyssey.com

About: Native Grape Odyssey is a brand of the European Union project Native Grapes Academy (NGA). NGA is a project financed by the European Union and managed by Unione Italiana Vini and Interprofesional del Vino de España (OIVE) for the promotion of PDO and PGI European wines abroad, in particular in three countries: Japan, Canada and Russia. In order to achieve this, the Native Grape Odyssey educational program will organize wine seminars, workshops and b2b meetings both in these countries and in Verona, Italy, inviting wine experts and influencers from these countries. These events, realized in the span of three years (2019-21) aim at creating awareness about European native wines abroad, in particular Italian and Spanish wines, which share a long tradition and a high standard of quality.