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Wine and Feeding the Planet

Expo 2015 asks the big question of how to feed a growing population. But what’s wine got to do with it?
by Giancarlo Gariglio

By now we’re all familiar with Expo’s core theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. A slogan that is certainly timely and intriguing. Not exactly a simple objective, but a pressing one in a world that is divided between obesity and famine. But how does wine fit in?


Until the 1970s, particularly in Mediterranean countries such as France, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, wine was considered, to all effects, food–as much as bread, pasta or rice. Consumption exceeded 100 liters per capita (today is less than 40, to give you an idea), and the type of drinking done was completely different to how we know it today.


Our grandparents talk about how they went to work in the fields armed with flasks of wine. The contents were nothing more than a form of fuel to get through the day. Lighter, often purposely watered down, it was a faithful companion to a different type of agriculture, one of enormous physical exertion for almost zero financial gain. Not exactly the good old days.


Today, wine consumption is light-years away from this image. Perhaps too far–transformed into something elite and destined exclusively for occasions of fun and recreation. But despite being far removed from the strictly functional role of providing human nourishment, we find it popping up in various forms throughout Expo.


Slow Food is present at Expo with a large space dedicated to biodiversity, a longtime central theme for our association. Here you can visit our exhibition Discover Biodiversity dedicated to food biodiversity, and taste Italian cheeses and pair them with… you guessed it! But what’s wine got to do with biodiversity?


Well, a lot actually, particularly in Italy. In our Enoteca at Expo, the wine list was put together by Slow Wine and the Wine Bank at Pollenzo following a series of criteria. We have favored wines that are made from indigenous grape varieties–in Italy alone, some 600 grape varieties are still used to make wine, many at risk of extinction–and produced in a way that protects local biodiversity and the environment. The wines we have chosen have strong links with the regions in which they are produced and are “everyday” wines, sold at accessible prices. If wine can have a role in feeding the planet, then it needs to be artisanal, produced with clean agriculture, and sustainable–also for the wallet.




The Slow Food space is located on the Decumano, on the far east of the exhibition site – Pavilion H12. Save time and come visit us by taking the shuttle “People Mover” at the F10 bus stop (behind pavilion Zero) and getting off at stop F7. In just five minutes you’ll arrive at Slow Food and avoid the lines between pavilions. What’s more, visiting Expo walking the Decumano from east to west you’ll see everything and walk less. See you there!   


Find out more about Slow Food at Expo at