I’m not Happy – help me to #SaveLugana

I encourage all those who love and care about wine to sign this petition to #savelugana – and here’s why:

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say …

I’ve spent a considerable portion of my life encouraging marketing laggard industries such as publishing, exhibitions and the wine business to invest in marketing and technology.

Speeding through life

High Speed Vision

As a marketer, blogger and event organiser I tell wine businesses that they should look forward to new technologies; speak to consumers on social networks, invest in wifi for visitors, develop tools for sharing experiences around their wine like video conferencing, QR coded labels and active digital marketing plans.

So I might be expected to promote technological developments in general.

Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah …

Except not all developments are the same. Take the High Speed train (TAV) proposal that will link Venice and Milan with a new dedicated railway line. In principle this is a good idea (similar to the UK’s HS2) as it is an infrastructure investment that should benefit Italian commerce and tourism.

{Hey, Go, Uh} …

The measure of success of a project like the TAV is not the minutes it shaves off the travel between two cities, but the balance of social and commercial benefits it brings; to the cities, the regions it touches, the country that pays for it, the people who live there and the tourists that will visit who will then use it.

The current proposal for the TAV’s route between these famous cities takes the train just to the south of Lake Garda – and cuts a swathe through the wine region of Lugana.

Please watch this video:

Lugana is a small region, covering only around 1300ha, and the proposed route for the TAV will remove over 200ha (that’s almost 15%) of this and impact even more.

It makes little sense.

No offence to you, don’t waste your time, Here’s why …

  1. Lugana is one of the VERY few wine regions in Italy that already exports successfully more than 50% of its wine production. It is a shining beacon of the ‘commerce’ that Italy ought to be encouraging with its investments
  2. The region of Lake Garda, around Sirmione, Desenzano del Garda and Pesquiera del Garda, attracts over 4 million tourists each year. They do not come in search of fast travel, but relaxation in the beautiful setting of the lake, with the region’s food, and wine, of course.
  3. This small region has a number of fragile eco-systems and historic landmarks that should be protected to make the country better, healthier and happier – not lightly sacrificed.
  4. Cutting a line through a region changes that place, and its structures, irrevocably. It is not just about the line, but the division it creates between each side, the limits it places on development, the change in communities and traffic directed through crossings; never mind the damaged caused by the construction itself.
  5. 50 years ago, this might have been a poor, undeveloped, unpromising land in desperate need of investment and industrialisation. But decisions made decades ago are no longer relevant. Society moves a great deal faster than Italian governmental planning.
  6. There are EXISTING ALTERNATIVES, whereby the new train can use existing railway track. The only argument against this is that the train has to slow down for a few kilometres, adding mere minutes to a journey.

Can’t nothing, Bring me down, I said (let me tell you now)

I believe it is right that all those who enjoy wine, who also appreciate it for what it means to the local cultures, environments and social structures that it comes from, should get together to defend this small, unique and attractive region.

Let’s work together to #SaveLugana and ask that the Italian authorities, starting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, take another look at the proposed route and realise that Italy would be better off supporting regions like Lugana, rather than slashing through them.

Please sign the petition, and share your thoughts with your friends and with all those who love wine wherever you are



Some further background on this petition: Stop That Train!