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Delhi Wine Club
Vinitaly 2013: The Love Affair Continues

Posted: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 17:03

Vinitaly 2013: The Love Affair Continues

April 17: For the producers, importers, connoisseurs, sommeliers, journalists, restaurateurs, buyers and lovers of Italian wines, Vinitaly is a love affair that continues year after year in Verona where the rendezvous over 4 days on April 7-10, was a hectic but enjoyable affair, writes Subhash Arora who was at the annual wine pilgrimage where a record number of 148,000 visitors were able to connect with over 4,200 exhibitors

Click For Large ViewThe increasing international complexion of the Show was visible with over 35% of the visitors (53,000) being  foreigners- with China being quite visible. Every day they all thronged the 12 huge padiglioni (pavilions) each generally representing one region and a multitude of Halls where uncountable tastings and seminars kept one busy running from one event to the other, the talk of the town being a grand tasting on day 0 at the Palazzo della Gran Guardia where 100 Top wines were available for those who arrived early, on 6th April, through OperaWines.

Sicily Born Again - Born in Sicily

Click For Large ViewOne of the highlights and focus of my visit was to see Sicilians push their claim for the rightful share of the market and get the attraction that they deserve. Going a step beyond ‘Made in Italy’ and borrowing the ides from ‘Born in the USA’ they have developed laws and regulations for the produce of Sicily whereby the end product will be completely produced in Sicily including sourcing of produce, and thus help in quality improvement and image makeover. State Minister of Agriculture Mr. Dario Cartabellotta, who was the Head of the Sicilian producers’ delegation to India last year, that was sponsored by the Regional Institute of Sicilian wines and Olive Oil and has since become theAgriculture Ministor (Assessore), has played a significant role in this image makeover.

Click For Large ViewSunday noon saw an overflowing Sala Vivaldi, the venue for the Press Conference of the Sicilian Region. Spearheaded by Dario, the Conference was opened by the President of the Region of Sicily, Crocetta. Among the speakers that delivered passionate speeches about the ‘Born in Sicily’ concept was Dario Cartabellotta. -that did not quite match the emotional sentiments expressed by l'Assessore all'Agricolturaand Giorgio Calabrese , Director of Vini e Oli di Sicilia.Giorgio Calabrese, the well-known nutritionist and the new Head of the Institute also spoke with passion and emotions about the Sicilian wines at the conference titled “ Born in Sicily, le Eccellenze Siciliane ”..

The World of Sicilian Wine - The Business Area of the Sicilian Pavilion (Pad 2) Sicily, which seemed to be perpetually occupied with some seminar or tasting like the other pavilions at the show, saw the launch and presentation of a book "The World of Sicilian Wine" by an American writer couple, Bill Nesto MW and his wife Click For Large ViewFran Savino, both of whom have Italian lineage. Chaired by the Minister Cartabellotta, the meeting  dealt with the Sicilian wine of excellence in the world. . The Wine Brand Ambassador of Sicily Diego Planeta and  Subhash Arora, President of Indian Wine Academy, were panelists along with Gaetana Iacono of Valle d'Acate, who was also a part of the delegation on a visit to India organised earlir in 2013 by the Indian Wine Academy.

Arora spoke at length about the earlier image of Sicilian wines as cheap wine. The last year’s Master Classes held in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune helped dispel the myth that Sicily was a wine lake producing characterless bulk wines only. Earlier this year, there was a further enhancement of that image with the presence of Susan Hulme MW, the first Master of Wine to conduct such a programme in India in conjunction with Subhash Arora and Michele Shah. The Sicilian producers attending the Masterclasses and the wine imported were of such high quality that the image of Sicily also being a quality wine producer with diverse Terroir was further reinforced. In fact, the Academy had helped in branding the Sicilian wines at a higher plane by having the ITC Luxy hotel chain as a co-sposnor of the visit. All the master classes were held in the properties owned by ITC Hotels in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai. The visit re-inforced the impression in India that Sicily also made some high quality wines. 

Tasting ex…press

One of the exciting ways of learning about the wines is through guided tastings by experts and what better way than attending one or more of the tastings sponsored by some magazines  during Vinitaly. Vinitaly had collaborated with magazines from different parts of the world to present white wines of Danube (Austria), great Australian wine regions (South Australia), Grand Cru Champagnes, Top 100 wines of Wine Enthusiast, Rieslings from Germany, Sweet LH wines from Hungary and Bubbles across the waves.

Click For Large ViewImagine tasting over 300 wines that have won the top Tre-Bicchieri (3-glasses) rating or tasting wines in the company of women who are in the business of winemaking! The national association of Le Donne del Vino celebrated their 25th anniversary with wines poured by their members known internationally.

Another such interesting events was organised by Decanter where Michele Shah, the awarded wine journalist and consultant conducted a comparative tasting of red wines from the volcanic slopes of Etna and compared the indigenous grape Nerello Mascalese with Pinot Noir of New Zealand.

Unique Buzz in the Air

Though it is definitely an Italian wine-heavy wine show, it is a Show with a unique personality.  You love it or hate it. (I love it but hate it because it is too hectic and no matter what I do, I have broken appointments that make me feel very bad). Not allowed for under 18 year-olds, the first day is when the public is allowed and it is like a huge party.  There are Italians chattering away outside the big pavilions which have huge art designs on their outer walls; Italy is still world’s design capital, it seems. Yoo’d think that every Italian smokes when you are outside the Click For Large Viewpavilions till you realize smoking is banned inside. Most stands have the same position as previous comes from Piemonte and is in stand 9 (his wines are imported by Global Tax Free). First time I had a great problem locating it. Now, I reach there like I was on an automatic cruise.  Same was with the Riedel stand at Gaja Distribuzione which had the same stands between the connecting alley between Pad 4 and Pad 5. Most exhibitors are repeats here and confirm their stand for the next edition before leaving. Vinitaly has become a part of their life and business.

Growing in numbers

Despite the slowing down of the economy, there was a 6% increase in the number of visitors with 10% increase in the foreign visitors with China getting a special mention due to the big State delegation coming for the first time.  Effective and targeted incoming promotion by Veronafiere ensured an increase of buyers from major markets and the most promising new ones

‘We achieved attendance of 148,000 people, including 53,000 international visitors. This is an important result for one of the major 'Made in Italy' sectors - one that still drives the country's balance of trade as well as providing employment and income in local areas as well as holding high the image of Italy world-wide," said the President of Veronafiere, Ettore Riello.

Click For Large View"This increase of 10% in international involvement over 2012 was equally accompanied by the high quality of visitors who included specialized international operators and buyers not only from traditional markets but also from emerging countries, where there is growing interest in Italian wine, such as China and Russia." Says Giovanni Mantovani, CEO & Director General of Veronafiere

Even more journalists attended the event - 2,643 journalists from 47 countries including me, compared to 2,494 from 42 nations in 2012.

Vinitaly closed on 10th April but to keep the trading activity alive, the new e-commerce initiative VinitalyWineClub was presented on the eve of the event. Vinitaly 2014 edition is already scheduled for 6-9 April. This edition will also welcome the debutant VinitalyBio, a new section of the exhibition dedicated to certified organic wines organised in partnership with FederBio.

Subhash Arora

Gallery                              Vinitaly Pavilions

Tags: Regional Institute of Sicilian wines and Olive Oil, Susan Hulme MW, Vinitaly, Michele Shah, Nerello Mascalese



Sidd Banerji Says:

It was a great reading specially after my trip to the fair.Educative every line and as usual.Regards,Subhash.

Posted @ April 20, 2013 12:10


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