After the comments made by Franco Soldera in one of Italy's most important newspapers, Corriere della Sera, on 26 March, the Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino has decided to take Soldera to court on charges of libel.
In the newspaper interview, Soldera had boldly stated that the Consorzio's offer to help after he lost six vintages of his coveted Brunello due to the rogue action of a disgruntled former cellar worker, who opened the taps on the vats, was 'inadmissible and offensive'. In an act of solidarity with Soldera, the Consorzio had offered to donate to him wine from other Brunello producers, a gesture Soldera had dismissed as 'a fraud to the consumers'.
It seems the Consorzio's patience with Soldera is all used up. The Consorzio's president, Fabrizio Bindocci, who filed the case against Soldera, explained the course of action in a press release, saying 'Our decision was made as a result of the request voiced in unison by the winemakers to take a strong measure against someone who offends the reputation and work of each of them. This is the only reason behind our decision, and we are firmly underlining it, for once and for all.'
But that was not all, because the Consorzio responded twice to Soldera and expelled him with immediate effect from the producer association. This may seem water under the bridge, as Soldera had already publicly resigned when he leaked his intention to the Sicilian online newsletter Cronache del Gusto, which broke the news on 20 March. But in spite of his resignation, Soldera would still have been a Consorzio member until 2015.
In the Consorzio's press release, Bindocci stated: 'We consider it important to point out that the statement reported by Corriere della Sera, as well as the tone adopted by [Soldera] and his groundless inferences made during that interview, have considerably damaged the image of Brunello and its territory, one of Italy's expressions of excellence worldwide.'