The International Year of Vine and Wine commemorates the first 100 years of the OIV activities. To celebrate the rich history of the organisation, several events will be held throughout the year and around the world. The year will end with the inauguration of the new OIV Headquarters and the 45th World Congress of Vine in Wine in Dijon, France. We present you here the OIV President’s speech highlighting the relevance of this year’s commemoration where he underlines the main achievements and challenges the Vitivinicultural sector has faced over the last hundred years.
Luigi Moio, Opening Ceremony of the 44th World Congress of vine and Wine in Spain.
June 2023 - A century ago, on 4 June 1923, senior representatives from Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece met in Paris for an International Ministerial Conference of Wine Exporting Countries.
Three fundamental points were addressed:
First of all, examining and developing suitable measures to highlight and appreciate the positive value of moderate wine consumption, paired with meals and in the context of a healthy lifestyle.
Regarding this first aim, we should recall that the first article of the founding treaty of the OIV, dating back to 1924, stated that the organisation must ‘collect, examine and publish information that demonstrates the beneficial effects of wine’. In fact, to give an immediate and concrete boost to the dissemination and promotion of wine culture, the OIV Award was established in 1930. At the time, it was called ‘The Truth About Wine’ and today it is the oldest wine award at the international level. In 77 editions, it has been awarded to the authors of more than 800 publications.
The second point under discussion sought to examine the standards adopted in the various countries on the definition of wine, for the purpose of establishing a common definition of wine, which is still valid today, and encouraging the development and adoption of analytical and regulatory procedures aimed at guaranteeing the purity, authenticity and integrity of wine.
Finally, the third aim was to create an International Wine Office to define science-based agreements to be forwarded as recommendations to the Member States to facilitate a harmonisation of their policies and to promote international trade.
On 6 June 1923, after three days of work, the five delegations agreed on the principles discussed and approved them at a second diplomatic conference held from 30 June to 5 July 1924, which also involved the participation of Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Chile and Mexico.The two conferences eventually led to the signing of the agreement that established the OIV on 29 November 1924.
Spain has thus taken part straight from the start in the building of what would later become the International Organisation of Vine and Wine. It is a country with millennia-old wine traditions and the largest vineyard area in the world, where viticulture and wine have deep historical roots. A country that has always been an active and dynamic supporter of the OIV, as evidenced by two of my predecessors as president, the engineer Eladio Asensio Villa, the first non-French President of the OIV, who served from 1963 to 1968, and Dr Gabriel Yravedra, President from 1991 to 1994, who sadly passed away not too long ago.
In mentioning the Spanish Presidents who have preceded me, I cannot fail to mention another Spaniard from the OIV, thanking him and above all paying tribute to the tireless work he does with great passion and determination in the exclusive interest of growing the OIV, the first Spanish Director General, our dear Pau Roca. Spain’s absolute commitment to the OIV is also evidenced by its willingness and generosity to regularly host our scientific community: in 1929 in Barcelona, with the second World Congress of Vine and Wine, and three times in Madrid with the General Assemblies of 1951 and 1973 and the Congress in 1992, and most recently in Logroño, La Rioja, in 2006.
With this Congress, as I mentioned at the start of this introductory address, our scientific community is in Spain for the sixth time. To that end, I would like to personally thank, expressing my gratitude also on behalf of all the delegates and scientific experts of the OIV, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Kingdom of Spain for once again having supported the enormous effort needed to organise this event.
Yesterday’s date, 4 June 2023, is destined to have a special place in the history of the OIV, as it coincides with the date when the first international governmental conference on wine took place 100 years ago. It is even more significant that during these days, precisely in this historical country of the OIV, a series of events will begin to celebrate the centenary of our Organisation, starting with the proposal, which will be presented at Friday’s General Assembly, to proclaim the year of the centenary as the ‘International Year of Vine and Wine’, which will culminate on 29 November 2024, the day of the centenary. The announcement of an international year of vine and wine, in addition to the high symbolic value, aims to stimulate and promote meetings and debates of a scientific, technical and cultural nature in all wine-producing countries of the world under a general theme: THE VINE AND WINE OF TOMORROW.