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Virus, parasite and globalization… The show must go on

In difficult moments, moving away from the crowd and seeking refuge and peace in nature serves to relax the mind, to breathe, to remain silent with your own feeling and with the space around us.

The look at the past…

During my childhood, I had the opportunity to listen to the stories of the grandparents. They were stories of scarcity, of daily commitment, of “economic miracle”: what the housewives of the time managed to invent to feed large families, in a generous territory, even if difficult and problematic due to the lack of facilities and technologies. Those facilities became available in the second half of the twentieth century and contributed to a progressive well-being. As I walked I thought that these stories are lost in the past and that they could be a good lesson in these days, where panic is unleashing among an average wealthy population, used to checking and deciding at any moment, almost without external influences. The idea that for a few days it is necessary to change one’s lifestyle, without huge sacrifices, to the benefit of the community and the health public system, seems to have triggered the delusion of deprivation.

… and the connection with the present

So, I closed the door behind me and as I often do on the weekend, I took a walk in the countryside, between the crops, an excellent wine tourism exercise for observing nature along seasons change.

Becoming slow for a few hours is a practice that I recommend to anyone, even those who do not have the privilege like me, to walk among the vineyards on the shores of Lake Garda. Slowness helps to regain possession of oneself and one’s relationship with the planet, the profound sense of time, space and limits. Suddenly, a new vineyard appeared on my path, so new that the only part, immediately recognizable, were the support poles for the plants that will arrive.

Once close to the new plant, a few centimeters above the ground, the rootstock appeared, alone. The hidden part, that resists over the decades and on which the Vitis Vinifera plant is grafted.  The tree which produces the fruits. It seemed to be the “message in the bottle”  to bring back to the memory and evidence of those who know wine only in the bottle. The  vicissitudes that humans and plants have endured in the past  centuries and whose memory would help us, if we would not always want immediate solutions

A globalization problem…

It is a fascinating story,  now that we know the solution, but it costed immense effort to all people involved in vine growing in Europe for several decades, who worked like crazy to cultivate the vine and found it completely devoured at the root. The story is well known to wine people, it is a story of globalization and “grafts” in all senses: it is the story that decreed the end of the Middle Ages and officially began the modern era. To image that the discovery of America did not also produce negative consequences is unrealistic, but “in hindsight” positive balance sheets prevail and the harmful consequences are forgotten. From 1500 onwards, just like today, every opening of new spaces has brought with it phenomena of imbalance, exterminations of populations, trafficking of slaves and also transfers of parasites from one continent to another. The world became smaller, the Mediterranean lost its centrality in Europe, the stronger countries militarily occupied the new territories, some cultures dominated the original ones and exchanges with the new colonized territories became increasingly frequent. Those journeys brought  many “exotic” plants such as potatoes, tomatoes and cocoa to the Old World.  Together with this precious stuff  also the notorious parasite were inserted: the devourer of Vitis Vinifera roots: the phylloxera. In practice, while the gardens were filled with new plants, never seen before, but very important for feeding hungry populations, the cellars got emptied of the national drink due to the odious insect that fed on the roots causing the plants to die.

… brilliantly solved by man

It was thanks to the observation and obstinacy of researchers, farmers, scientists, winemakers, if once again, human determination has prevailed, adopting the solution that still allows us to produce excellent wines in Europe and to export them to all the countries of the world as authentic pearls of the secular tradition, of Italian inventiveness and of the custody of so many autochthonous vines to envy the whole world. Who can’t even put them on the map. After decades of attempts, failures and vineyards devastated by the ferocious predator, the stroke of genius. If the parasite does not devour the American root, then we only plant American vine roots in the soil and graft onto the European vines. Voila! How not to have thought of it before? Since then, everyone happily coexists in peaceful peace: the American parasite, the American rootstock, the European Vitis Vinifera, which in the meantime has been exported to America, and grafted in turn, winemakers of the old and new world. Isn’t it a wonderful example of global integration?

The happy ending

Will it also end with the Corona virus? Certainly, and the madness of these days will remain the memory, the vaccine against the virus will be discovered and the Corona will fill the catalog of non-lethal, but highly contagious viruses to which the appropriate remedy will have been found. And humanity at the mercy for a few days, of the limitations caused not by the virus, but by the little flexibility of some presumptuous ones, will return to its usual concerns, forgetting – once again – that you cannot control everything, but it is appropriate to become flexible and learn to live with new “guests”.

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Patrizia Marazzi Wine Tourism Wine Expert

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