Posted: Friday, 14 April 2023 15:20
Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia 2023 Dinner focuses on the impact of AI
The event held in old part (Centro) of Verona on the evening of Sunday, April 2 at Teatro Ristori was hosted once again as has become a tradition since 2007- on the first day of Vinitaly which organised the 55th event, to celebrate Italian wines representing the excellence tradition.
Grandi Cru wines of the members of the Committee (Comitato) took the center stage. The focus was on the curated dinner by the Cerea Brothers from the famous Bergamo-based Restaurant Da Vittorio. About 300 guests, including national and international journalists, members of the Comitato having about 130 members and other institutions attended the event. They were welcomed by Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia President Valentina Argiolas and Executive Vice President Paolo Panerai. Based on the Bordeaux 1855 model, the Committee brings together the most representative producers of the country’s wine excellence, who have been producing wines with the highest ratings from the main and most authoritative Italian and foreign guides and magazines for at least 20 years.
The event was an opportunity for the wine world to discuss the importance of preserving and enhancing Italian wine heritage, as well as new challenges such as those provided by artificial intelligence. As a result, this topic was explored to understand how artificial intelligence can have a significant impact on the wine industry, accelerating processes, revisiting logistics, increasing interaction with consumers and enabling more effective personalization of communication.
The discussion was led on video by Monica Lerner, the Rome-based American, who is the Italian wine Taster for Robert Parker Wine Advocate. She had a lively riposte with an AI-created taster. The avatar was able to perfectly sum up the weather conditions leading up to the 2022 Chianti Classico vintage, but Monica provided a full preview of the harvest:
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“The wines of 2022 will give us an opportunity to really test the official sub zones that the appellation has so diligently introduced after decades of hard work and research. My prediction is that 2022 Chianti Classico will bring a discussion that goes beyond the standard wine criticism for the Sangiovese grape. The discussion will instead focus on creating a working definition of what is Chianti Classico as a whole,” she said, subtly scoffing at the ability of the AI created robot to give perfect tasting notes of the wine.
Master of Wine from Italy, Gabriele Gorelli, argued artificial intelligence would definitely make his studies different to become Master of Wine, not better: “It is the critical thinking that is important, understanding the reason why things happen”.
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Ian D’Agata, Editor-in-Chief of TerroireSense Wine Review, Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit, and President of Terroir Sense Wine Academy, settled in China for several years now, told the audience that “China is very interested in artificial intelligence and invests a lot in it. By 2030 China will probably be the leader in the AI sector.” D’Agata said there were already several restaurants where food was cooked and served by robots, though supervised by a human being, but there were places where it was possible to reproduce the sensory experience of taste, by means of an algorithm, allowing several people to experience the same moment.
Antonio Galloni, founder of Vinous, joined the event Live from New York and dwelled on the fact generally agreed by all the ‘panellists’ that we already live immersed in technology, but AI can never replace the human experience of wine critics or even the passion of a producer in creating a great wine: “AI is a tool and it’s how we use the tool that determines the end results”, he said.
The 3-course dinner was accompanied by a lavish presentation of wines sponsored generously by the Comitato members. The event did not appear to be as ‘glamourous’ on the couple of occasions Arora had attended earlier including in 2011 when he won the honours for www.indianwineacademy.com being chosen as the Best Foreign Wine Website and one felt slightly cramped. Moreover, there seemed to be less producers this time to interact with.
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At best, it reminded me of the 60-year old song by Bob Dylan, ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’!