The Italian Nursery Industry
THE PROFESSIONAL VINE NURSERYMAN
In the vine growing and wine-producing supply chain, the nursery industry can be seen as the start of a chain made up of different links, symbolically represented as a glass of wine on a laid table.
This image is hardly ever thought of as the result of a complex world, which starts with the production of plants (our grafted rootlings) to make a vineyard, bunches of grapes, musts and lastly wine, that “symbol” that temptingly awaits us on our table. We must not forget that, to produce this elixir, it is necessary to face an extremely complex bureaucratic system that makes production anything but simple.
While the production of industrial drinks: water, beer, spirits, … can count on figures and margins, thanks to more production cycles each year, the vine nursery industry stops at one. One production cycle per year, one year for the cuttings to become rootlings, i.e. plants with the potential to become vineyard plants, only one chance to get the right combination of variety and rootstock for an unstable market that is constantly changing.
The peculiarity of the nursery market is the direct relationship with the customer. A relationship of eclectic communication that can establish a dialogue with the different social fractions of the wine-producing chain. From those that still constitute important testimonies of the archaic world, passing through those that move in the environments of speculation, up to those who try to build themselves a respected and recognized image through titles of nobility and notoriety.
Only the years give the nurseryman complete professionalism, which allows him to correctly interpret the expectations of the supply chain, apparently static and rooted in their values, but in reality, extremely dynamic and competitive.
The ideal nurseryman must have a formidable general culture, combined with a historical and specific memory of the sector. Must know very well the characteristics of the area (terroir) where will be planted its roots, the varieties it produces, the market trends. If necessary, he must be able to become an undecided customer adviser unable to extricate himself from the fashions of the moment and the opinions of the experts, who often lack foresight.
The capable nurseryman is the alter ego of a capable oenological consultant because both know the evolution of the product over time. The first can predict how the viticulture will evolve in the future, the second to imagine the potential of its wine in decades to come.
A vineyard needs efficient people, who know the reality of the supply chain and its development prospects. We must not forget that its duration is around 25 years, so the rooted vines are a capital asset and that is a good investment in the long term.
In conclusion, the nurseryman must have a passion for his craft and be an artist, a poet, a visionary at the same time to advise the client better. In practice, a professional figure with many facets that has few equals!