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An epic journey of rediscovery


Native Grape Odyssey (NGO) is a brand of the Native Grapes Academy (NGA) project. This educational program is aimed to creating spokesmen for European quality wines – especially those found in Italy and Spain – in Canada, Japan, and Russia. NGO targets wine professionals, creating a deeper awareness of PDO and PGI wines and detailing their distinctive features such as their grape varieties and evolution over time. It is through training that the Native Grape Odyssey program promotes the image of Europe, and its ancient winemaking traditions. This will increase competitiveness of these products and draw greater attention to them, and as a side benefit, it may also result in an incentive for wine tourism.

The program was launched at Vinitaly 2019, and now it carried out in Canada, Russia and Japan included a five-day course, complete with its own customized material, especially prepared for the course and culminating in a final exam; this was followed by a Walk-Around Tasting of high-quality European wines. From its inception, the entire format was intended to transpire as an all-inclusive experience and organizers feel this goal was realized thanks to an approach that combined practice with interdisciplinary incorporation. As the students themselves stated, there are three main aspects that made the difference, making the Native Grape Odyssey Maestro course a valuable educational experience.
1. the NGO educators tell the story of a wine from its origin, allowing the participants to delve into the historical, cultural and geographical aspects of a territory, which are of predominant influence in the case of European wines.
2. there are many facets that one might assume make a European wine complex to a foreign audience. For this reason, NGO keeps its communication as simple as possible, engaging the listeners using personal experiences, historical anecdotes and metaphors, without forgoing a pinch of irony.
3. the NGO team provided 24-hour assistance, working to file details, tending to matter that had been overlooked or just providing one-on-one help with the attendees. The NGO team is international and composed of people with different skill-sets, making them particularly suited to provide solutions to the sensibilities and problems that might crop-up in a culturally diverse environment.

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For 2020 and 2021, the NGO project will increase its activities scheduling wine seminars and Walk-Around Tastings in 5 different cities for each target country (Canada, Japan, and Russia) for a grand total of 15 high-level training and tasting events.

The players


Unione Italiana Vini Servizi Soc. Coop. (hereinafter UIV) and Organizacion Interprofesional Del Vino De Espa.a (OIVE) represent the wine sector in Italy and Spain respectively. Italy and Spain are two of the largest European wineproducing countries reaching more than 50% of the European wine production and export. Based on 2018/2019 statistics1, Italian wine production amounts to 27.97% of the total European wine production, followed by Spain with a market share percentage of 25,60%. In terms of European Quality wines (PDO and PGI schemes), Italian wine producers cover more than 30% of the overall European wine production while Spanish producers 18%.

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Unione Italiana Vini Servizi Soc. Coop.


Since 1895, Unione Italiana Vini is the oldest trade Association of the Italian wine market. To date, UIV is composed of 477 members, co-operative societies, private agricultural wine-companies, bottlers, consortia, and associations representing the wine industry at large (manufacturers of wine-making products, laboratories and others) located throughout the Italian territory. Its members represent more than 50% of the wine sector total turnover and more than 85% of the entire Italian export market. In addition to its political role, Unione Italiana Vini provides technical and specific services to meet the Italian wine sector’s needs, helping companies to grow both in terms of quality and traceability. UIV is a member of Comit. Europ.en des Entreprises Vins, the European wine organisation that brings together the associations of winemakers from all over Europe, and also of the European "Wine in Moderation" program, which encourages an informed and moderate drinking culture.

The wine sector is one of the leading agri-food business areas in the Italian economy, with high production performances (in terms of volume and value) that steadily confirm positive trends. During the long period of Italy’s economic crisis, the agri-food sector concretely supported the Italian image with the “Made in Italy” brand. Italian wine is synonymous with quality and excellence; it is a product which evokes Italian wine-making traditions, passions, and values. Excellent vines, which are highly suited to the production of grapes of outstanding organoleptic quality, grow throughout all Italian regions, and are supported by the recognition of European Quality Schemes such as PDO and PGI.

The turnover of the wine industry in Italy is estimated at around 13,9 billion, that is, 10% of the entire national agri-food sector2. The Italian wine sector counts 310,000 farms and nearly 46,000 winemaking companies3. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) represent a strategic resource for the Italian wine sector due to their competitive position in the internal and third-country markets, and to their excellent production methods and products. The role of cooperatives and consortia is also crucial in the creation of a solid network among wine producers. In 2017, the vineyard area was 695 thousand hectares (including more than 440 different types of land and 1,200 grape varieties), equal to 9% of the International surface.

Italian wine production relies on a rich panorama of 526 European Quality Schemes: 408 PDO (74 DOCG and 334 DOC) and 118 Igp. The total amount of wine production for 2017-2018 is represented in the following way: 50.15% by PDO wines (18,155,000.00 hl); 24.79% by PGI wines (8,975,000.00 hl); and the remaining 25.06% by common wines. Based on these figures, it is clear that the Italian market is covered—for the largest part (74,94%)—by wines produced in coherence with European Quality Schemes regulations, and that this specific figure is constantly growing.

Organizacion Interprofesional Del Vino De España


The Spanish Wine Interbranch/Interprofessional Organisation (OIVE) is a nonprofit private organisation established in 2014 by professional bodies including six national organisations that represent the wine value chain in Spain—from grape production to the transformation and marketing of wine—with the aim of serving as an industry improvement tool. Interbranch organisations in Spain are regulated by Law 38/1994 of December 30th dedicated to agricultural interbranch organizations. These organisations are an instrument of collaboration among different players in the food chain and contribute to their efficiency and transparency. There can be only one interbranch organisation per sector at a national level. Their approval and control are sanctioned by the Ministry of Agriculture. OIVE strives for unity and common goals within the Spanish wine sector. It represents approximately 85% of the industry in Spain, including both producers and companies in the whole supply chain.

Spain is one of the world's largest producers of wine: it is ranked first for planted surface area and third for production of wine and grape fruit. It is also one of the world's largest exporter in terms of volume. Moreover, the Spanish wine sector has increasingly become more influential not only for its economic importance, but also in social and environmental terms, as well as for the image of the country worldwide. However, the Spanish wine sector is also extremely fragmented, with over 5.000 wineries making and selling wine, and over 150.000 vine growers. For the most part, wineries are small businesses and are mostly run on domestic capital, often family money, while a great number of wineries are made up of agrarian co-operatives.

Spain has 90 production areas of quality wines with the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) label and 41 areas which are considered Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) wines. This great variety and the fragmented nature of the sector make it difficult to create powerful companies, or organisations sharing common projects. To address these needs, the OIVE was founded in 2014 with the aim of providing a shared tool for the Spanish wine sector. The whole industry, in turn, promotes OIVE actions through contributions regulated by a Ministerial Order (published in Official State Gazette). OIVE plans to promote wine communication standards among operators and to build an even bigger culture of social responsibility around the Wine in Moderation program and principles.

Actions to improve knowledge and information in the sector to help the industry make strategic decisions especially with reference to the markets, have also been launched. OIVE is also currently working in strategic programs in the field of R&D. For the period 2019-2024 OIVE has approved a new extension of rules with new objectives and lines of action, that will come into force in August 2019. These new objectives include wine communication and promotion on wine consumption patterns in foreign markets, among others.

NGO Tasting App


In 2020, moreover, the NGO Tasting App piloted in 2019, will be further expanded. The App allows users to create and share tasting notes and stay in touch with the community of course participants. Keep reading to learn more about the App!

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How to use it in just 6 easy steps:

1. Register on the app:


Well begun is half done: get to your device, go to tasting. nativegrapeodyssey.com and click “Sign up”. Enter your details, subscribe and… get ready to sip, scribble, share!


2. Add new wines:


Now that you are part of the community of NGO Heroes, it’s time to record your achievements. Enter the details of your wines including region, vintage, and grape variety.


3. Select intensity and hue color:


You cannot judge a book by its cover, yet you are going to get a fairly accurate impression of the genre! Look at the hue and intensity of your wine, and pick the right gradation on the app chart.


4. Nose:


You can get fascinating insights just by smelling your wine. Take your glass and focus on the aromas: try to identify them and record here their notes, intensity, and complexity.


5. Palate:


Take a sip. Concentration, acidity, body, tannins and texture, sweetness, perlage, alcohol, balance, length: did you write everything down? If so, continue on!


6. That’s it:


You have stored a complete tasting profile of your wine online, all in one place. Take a look at the “Community” section and compare your tasting notes with your fellow NGO Heroes!

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