Associazione Produttori Mirto di Sardegna Sardinia
Mirto and Myth
Picking the Berries
Association and Research
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The Association

In 1994, under the aegis of the European Community and Confindustria Sardegna (the Sardinian chapter of the Confederation of Italian Industry), four myrtle-liqueur producers founded the "Associazione Produttori Liquore Mirto di Sardegna Tradizionale" (Producers' Association of Traditional Myrtle from Sardinia). The goal of the Association is to preserve and promote Sardinian myrtle, both as a raw material as well as its method of processing, and to protect consumers - those who in the end enjoy the product.
In order to do this, the Association collaborated with two prestigious scientific organizations: the University of Sassari and the Istituto Agrario di San Michele all'Adige (Agricultural Institute of San Michele all'Adige). In 1994, lengthy, complex research was initiated (due also to the lack of studies on the subject) and developed over various phases, which required the application of extremely sophisticated research techniques. 
In order to obtain a group of parameters able to describe the main features of that which the myrtle-liqueur market had to offer consumers, assorted products on the market were purchased in different points of sale. In addition to determining the main product parameters that characterized the liqueurs analyzed using official methods, amino acids and phenolic, volatile and fixed compounds were also identified in these samples of red myrtle.
The commercial products taken into consideration (their labels stating they were myrtle fruit-based) were then compared with a laboratory-prepared hydroalcoholic extract of berries. Simultaneously, a control of Association members began; this control, which gave way to a "Quality Program", not only served the purpose of carrying out constant quality controls on the product but also on its processing by the members.  During visits, various samples of berries used for production were collected in order to establish their features and the possible differences deriving from the diverse harvesting locations. Later, comparisons were also made between these berries and berries originating in areas outside of Sardinia, with the goal to determine a number of discriminating parameters.
During this phase, and at programmed intervals based on the technological cycle, samples of infused product were analyzed, which had been taken from Association members at different moments of the production cycle. The analysis phase terminated with the final control of the product at the time of bottling.
This then led to the final phase of the research: the two scientific organizations drafted rigorous "Product Specifications of Production", based on the Association's fundamental principles, aimed at guaranteeing quality, genuineness and the originality of the myrtle liqueur produced. First of all, the specifications establish the features the raw material (that is, the berries) used must have. They must be fresh the moment they are infused, harvested only from November through mid-February and exclusively of Sardinian provenance. In addition, the specifications also regulate that the production technological cycle of the liqueur not include the use of any type of  additive or artificial colouring. In order to assure the consumer that these principles are respected, the parameters of those elements that allow an evaluation of the traditional character of the product and its main physical, chemical and organoleptic features must be verified, for the purpose of  establishing the minimum requirements that must be met as well as the control procedures. In fact, the producers, members of the Association, and those intending to become members, must allow periodic controls within their companies and must pass the random controls made on their products, which are purchased for consumption.

The Research

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