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A Taste of Italy: Lamberto Frescobaldi's Leadership at the UIV

Strategies for Growth and Excellence in the Italian Wine Industry

Lamberto Frescobaldi, President of the Italian Wine Union (UIV), has been a pivotal figure in steering Italy's wine industry towards new horizons. With a family legacy deeply rooted in winemaking, Frescobaldi's leadership has brought a fresh perspective to the challenges and opportunities facing Italian wine today. In this exclusive interview, he shares insights into his presidency's progress, upcoming initiatives, and his vision for Italian wine on the global stage.

Lamberto, as the President of the Italian Wine Union (UIV), could you share some insights into the progress made under your leadership so far and any new initiatives you plan to implement in the coming year?

We have always tried to address the key issues with extreme transparency. We are in fact convinced that hiding dust under the carpet is counterproductive in the long run. We might have made some enemies by saying things as they are, but we note how many are acknowledging today what UIV had long anticipated. Italy is now a leading country in wine, but it is not immune to difficulties and there is room for improvement along the supply chain: we work on this, from the need to activate promotion strategies in step with the times to the issue of overproduction, the consequent need to reduce yields and much more.

Image:  Lamberto Frescobaldi, at the National Council of the Italian Wine Union, hosted at the Crealis Group plant addressed the issue of grubbing up to cope with the increase in stocks.

Sustainability is a key focus for you. How do you plan to make sustainability more measurable and impactful within the Italian wine industry, especially concerning environmental and social aspects?

Sustainability is certainly a fundamental path for Italian wine, as long as there are no compromises: too often we observe examples of "greenwashing". We want to preserve Italian wine from this dangerous drift: for Unione Italiana Vini, sustainability only makes sense if it is measurable. The wine world wants to provide answers, not sell superficial (environmental and social) facade virtues, it would be a sensational boomerang. With the single national standard, the sector has a unique opportunity to give a serious answer and also certify its wines with a single recognition mark, on the New Zealand model.

Italy is known for its diverse wine production, yet there's room for improvement in global recognition. How do you plan to enhance the visibility and understanding of Italian wines, particularly those without a designation of origin?

In my opinion, Italian wine must be able to communicate on a double track: on the one hand, the expert audience on which to convey detailed information about our great variety, and on the other hand -and this is the majority part- the consumers who must perceive the values of our wine. To communicate this we have great allies: Italian style, tradition, culture, and table pairing. 

With the rise of moderate consumption trends, how do you see the balance between preserving the identity of Italian wines and adapting to changing market preferences, especially regarding the shift towards white and rosé wines?

I think that precisely because of the great variety of our production we naturally have a competitive advantage over our foreign colleagues. Prosecco, for example, is the symbol of a vineyard that has changed profoundly in the last 20 years. Our products are now able to accommodate new consumption trends, it is up to companies to organize an adequate offer. 

What do you consider to be the Italian wine industry's greatest strength, and how do you plan to leverage it during your presidency?

Undoubtedly the great versatility, and the ability to produce quality for so many different consumer segments. This is a strength that certainly does not begin and end with my presidency. What UIV can do is to have a guiding role for both companies and institutions.

Image: Lamberto Frescobaldi at UIV and FIPE meet in an important context such as Vinitaly to discuss the problems and opportunities for the growth of wines in Italian catering

Conversely, what do you see as the industry's biggest weakness, and what strategies do you intend to implement to address and overcome it?

We are better at making wine than we are at marketing it, but it must be said that our main competitor, France, started first, and the game is not over. I think the managerial skills and competence that we have achieved in the vineyard and in the cellar should also be reflected on the commercial side. We have made great progress but in many cases, the gap is not completely closed. 

As President of the Italian Wine Union (UIV), you've emphasized the importance of rationalizing denominations and expanding markets for Italian wines. How do you plan to further these goals during your presidency, and what impact do you hope to achieve in the Italian wine industry?

We are convinced that institutions are very sensitive to the priorities of a sector worth 1.1 percent of Italian GDP, so we are confident that we will find answers through dialogue between the wine world and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Image: Lamberto Frescobaldi at vineyards Castello NIPOZZANO

Looking ahead, what role do you see technology playing in the future of winemaking, both in terms of sustainability and quality improvement?

Innovation has been a fundamental ally in recent decades: if quality is better it is thanks to the knowledge of producers and the help of technology. Research and innovation are therefore an increasingly fundamental tool to be able to produce wines that are qualitatively impeccable, but also increasingly sustainable. The vine growers’ profession is exposed to a thousand variables, an open-air shed that in times of climate change needs to refine its techniques through innovation in vineyards and cellars. This is also why every year we organize a specific fair, taking place every year in a different vine territory, Enovitis in Campo, dedicated to the most modern technologies, materials, and equipment that can be used in all vineyard cultivation operations.

Image: Enovitis in Campo 2024.


As Lamberto Frescobaldi continues to champion the Italian wine industry, his commitment to transparency, sustainability, and innovation shines through. His strategic approach to marketing, promotion, and quality improvement promises a bright future for Italian wine. With a blend of tradition and modernity, Frescobaldi is leading the charge to ensure that Italian wines not only maintain their unique identities but also thrive in the ever-evolving global market.

In conversation with Malvika Patel, Editor and VP, Beverage Trade Network

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