The Italian sparkling wine and vermouth brand celebrates its 150th anniversary with a milestone that pushes parent company Bacardi closer to achieving its 2025 goal of sustainably sourcing 100% of its key ingredients.
This week, Martini® — the world’s number-one Italian sparkling wine and vermouth brand, from family-owned Bacardi — announced that all of its Asti grape suppliers are on track to being certified sustainable in 2021.
The Martini Santo Stefano Belbo winery, located in the heart of Italy’s Asti region and responsible for producing 30 percent of all the grape ‘must’ (juice) for Martini Asti, was recently certified sustainable by Equalitas — the most comprehensive sustainability standard in Italian wine-making — following an audit by certification body Valoritalia. Of the remaining 70 percent, more than two-thirds of the grape must suppliers — cooperatives representing hundreds of small grape growers — have also been certified sustainable by Equalitas with the remainder on track to be certified this year.
Stefano Stefanucci, Director of Equalitas, said: “This is a big achievement for Martini. Equalitas only works with third-party auditors who are experts with a deep knowledge of the wine sector and the certification process is wholly holistic. Equalitas embraces three sustainability pillars — environmental, ethical and economical — and takes into consideration everything from a winery’s carbon footprint and water consumption through to fair commercial terms for farmers and good social practices including training and welfare.”
Together with the recent announcement that the 10 botanicals used to create Bombay Sapphire® will also be certified sustainable in 2021, this news is another major step towards Bacardi achieving its 2025 goal of sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its key ingredients.
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Martini has apparently been a quiet sustainability innovator for decades. Bacardi says that in 1987, Martini established a center dedicated to sustainable business practices called L'Osservatorio Martini (the Martini Observatory). Led by a local agronomist, expert in the cultivation of vineyards, L'Osservatorio Martini has introduced many sustainability practices to the Asti region — from natural ways to manage pests through to integrated viticulture, looking at the balance of what is grown in the microclimates of the region.
“There is a deep connection between Martini, the land and the people — it’s a solid foundation for making quality wine,” said Giorgio Castagnotti, Director of the Martini Operations Center in Pessione, Italy. “We have worked closely with the same farming communities growing the finest Moscato grapes in the same beautiful hills for generations — in fact, for the last 150 years — and we want to continue to do so for generations to come. It’s always made sense then for us support our grape growers through our sustainability initiatives.”
The steep, sun-drenched hills of Asti are the ideal growing environment for the Moscato Bianco grape and have a DOCG designation — the highest quality level for Italian wines. Expertly harvested in late summer by more than 200 small growers — known collectively as the Conferenti — the grapes are pressed quickly to capture the desired natural flavors in the fresh juice/must. Through fermentation, this ‘mosto’ becomes the basis of Martini Asti’s delicate flavors —including notes of peach, sweet wild sage, fresh pear and pineapple.
This announcement — along with other recent innovations, such as the development of the industry’s first biodegradable spirits bottle — may be pushing Bacardi steadily closer to its ambition to lead the spirits industry in environmental responsibility.