Wine is territory, historical and cultural identity, but it is also a heritage of value and excellence for Italy. Conventional viticulture implies the transformation and exploitation of natural areas that determine a strong loss of biodiversity as the whole variety of living organisms, in their different forms, in their respective ecosystems.
The defense and strengthening of biodiversity in agroecosystems are key strategies for the sustainability of agricultural practices.
However, when trying to establish the economic value of an environmental asset, we are faced with estimation problems, since we need to take into consideration many elements that are not directly quantifiable from a monetary point of view. In this way, methods of indirect estimation are used, such as those used for the valuation of off-market assets. Some of these methods are based on the analysis of consumer choices, used as an indirect valuation of the value of goods.
The European project Life Vitisom foresees an economic analysis on the acceptance by consumers of a biodiversity brand in the vineyard, which would attest to the application of agronomic practices that promote greater biodiversity in the agroecosystem compared to conventional viticulture practices.
The brand would be applied to the bottle of wine, just like the organic brand. The study takes place at the 5 partner wineries, in different production areas. The economic analysis is based on the model of Choice Experiments and estimates the value of the brand based on the potential demand of the product.
The Choice Experiments approach allows the measurement of shadow prices, ie not reflected by market prices, referring to multi-attribute goods (Blamey et al., 1997; Carlsson and Martinson, 2001; Morrison et al., 1996). In the Choice Model Analysis the asset to be evaluated is disaggregated into several attributes (characteristics) and these attributes are in turn classified into several "intensity" levels: the choice given to the interviewee is between different scenarios of offering alternative attributes, characterized from the different levels of the attributes (Mazzanti, 2002).
The disaggregation of the good that is done by making the attributes explicit, follows the modern consumer theory, according to which the consumer is interested in the different properties owned by a good; this conceptual framework allows us to propose an adequate description of the asset and to reduce the emphasis on the monetary attribute.
In the case of Life Vitisom, the experiment will be carried out during events open to the public in each of the partner companies, for a total of over 5 events. The experiment involves the administration of a questionnaire based on the model of Choice Experiments, through which the consumer is asked to specify his preferred choice option with respect to all the proposed choice options.