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‘Roots and Views’ is the theme chosen by the Masi Foundation, organiser of the Masi Prize for its 42nd edition

The winners of the 42nd edition of the Masi Prize today performed the Amarone barrel-signing ceremony in the Masi cellars in Valpolicella, in the presence of Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti, Sandro Boscaini and Marco Vigevani – respectively President, Vice-President and Secretary of the Masi Foundation. The signing ceremony is a symbolic act, taking possession of the Amarone that is the physical prize for the Prize-winners, namely:  for the Masi Civiltà Veneta Prize – the internationally renowned lexicographer Mario Cannella; the scientist and father of ecohydrology Andrea Rinaldo, recently awarded the ‘Nobel Prize for water’; and the Stevanato Group, the historic Venetian company that is today a leading producer of glass containers for medicinal products. The Masi International Civiltà del Vino Prize was won by Yuko and Shin Kibayashi, Japanese authors of the unique manga on wine called ‘Drops of God’, who also attended in person.

Not at the barrel ceremony, but present at the evening awards ceremony at the Pieve di San Giorgio in Valpolicella, was Iranian film director Rakhshan Banietemad, who received the International Grosso d’Oro Veneziano Prize for her commitment to the promotion of human rights, in particular women’s civil rights, in her home country.

The winners were chosen as exponents of the theme for the 42nd Masi Prize, “Roots and Perspectives”. All of them personalities who have shown how a recognition of roots is important for the identification of a way forward, each winner commented on the significance of receiving the Masi Prize:

Mario Cannella: “I am honoured to have been chosen as one of the recipients of the Masi Civiltà Veneta Prize. The award is for my work as a lexicographer, a ‘frontier’ profession between the study of the lexis and the general public, and all about developments in the Italian language. The Prize, thanks to Tenuta Serego Alighieri, actually refers back to Dante, the father of Italian, and in the Zingarelli dictionary over 900 entries contain at least one quotation from Dante, taken from the Commedia or other works. This year’s theme ‘Roots and Perspectives’ is highly relevant to Italian vocabulary, both in terms of its roots – from Dante himself, and then Boccaccio, Petrarch, Bembo, Galileo, Manzoni and many others – and in terms of the future. The language in current use, as found in newspapers and magazines, Google, digital communications, AI, and culture in general, is rapidly changing, internationally too. I would add that as a good Veneto-Triestine I have always loved wine and the world of wine, visiting wineries and winemakers, especially in Piedmont (Alba, Neive etc.) and Tuscany (the Senese), and have the pleasure of editing the approximately 1000 words referring to wines and grape varieties in the Zingarelli. Three good reasons to be pleased and honoured with my share of the Masi Prize.”

Andrea Rinaldo: “It is an honour and a pleasure to receive the Masi Civiltà Veneta Prize. As a Venetian and a scholar of water governance, I see the award as recognition of the urgency of preparing for the changing world and the challenges it poses to unique and valuable landscapes, in terms of their form, culture and place in our minds.”

Franco Stevanato for the Stevanato Group: “It is with great honour and joy that we welcome the recognition given to us by the Masi Civiltà Veneta Prize. We are well aware of the high entrepreneurial, cultural and scientific profile of fellow Prize-winners. Choosing us to be representative of the theme ‘Roots and Perspectives’ fills us with pride, because the Stevanato Group is an Italian company with a strong international presence, but still firmly linked to the Veneto region. And the people who work there today are the bearers of a transgenerational legacy of values based on commitment, humility, respect and trust.”

Yuko Kibayashi: ‘We are very honoured to have received this prestigious award from Masi, a leading Italian winery with a long history. My brother and I started telling the story of wine in the manga ‘Drops of God’ because we loved wine so much, but it has since become a popular work that has sold 12 million copies worldwide, and this year has been distributed globally as an international work of drama. Manga is a format that communicates emotions to readers in a simple and understandable way. Thanks to the success of the manga and the TV series, we have been able to convey the wonders of wine to many people around the world, and I also believe that we have been able to play a role in popularising the culture of wine. We see this award as encouragement to continue and pursue our role as ambassadors sharing the fascination of wine.”

Shin Kibayashi: “As part of our visit, we have had the opportunity to see the Masi winery and experience its history and tradition, and it was here that I realised I was the recipient of a wonderful prize. Italy is a country that values art. For us, wine is also an art form, and that is how we depict it in our publication ‘Drops of God’. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone at Masi for recognising our work in this way.”

After the ceremony, Iranian film director Rakhshan Banietemad, made the following statement: “I would like to thank the Board of Directors and the jurors. I am honoured to receive the Masi Foundation’s award for my life-time work as a filmmaker. This Prize belongs to those, primarily women, whose lives have been a source of inspiration for me in my work. I am giving it to the Iranian Cinema Museum, in honour and memory of the master of Iranian cinema Dariush Mehrjui.”

This year’s Masi Prize celebrations took place at the historic Pieve di San Giorgio in Valpolicella once again. The President and Vice-President of the Masi Foundation reflected on the significance of the Prize in the current climate:

“For this 42nd edition of the Prize, dedicated to the theme ‘Roots and Perspectives’, we wanted to unite these two contradictory terms to show, also through our selection of Prize-winners, what I believe to be the only possible way forward to safeguard our precious traditions and to be able to look into the future with confidence,” said the President of the Masi Foundation, author and journalist Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti. “Linkage to our roots is nothing to hold us back and prevent change, but rather it is the certainty of having a source to build upon for the exploration of new paths.”

The Foundation’s Vice-President and Masi President Sandro Boscaini, concluded: “‘Roots and Perspectives’ is the common thread linking all the winners chosen for this edition of the Masi Prize. It was not difficult to select the people who best represented this highly topical theme: the ability to look to the future with perspective, without forgetting our historical and cultural roots. With the changes taking place now, even the dramatic events  we are unfortunately witnessing these days, it is essential that there is some perspective, which does not have to be something new, but must provide the strength to go back to our roots in search of new fruit.”