VINITALY -- TEXT by GERALD WEISL Photo
Assistance by Kareasa Wilkins
We've been attending what was once a little wine fair (back in
the mid-1980s) to what's now an annual celebration of life and Italian wine.
VinItaly is held annually in the city of Verona and it's evolved and developed,
mirroring to some degree, the evolution of the Italian wine business.
The fair is attended by thousands of wineries and if you're a small producer
from some obscure place in Italy, this is a good venue to showcase your wines
and, hopefully, meet importers from around the world.
Large, well-established wineries construct elaborate stands. Groups of
small, "farmer" wineries might pool their resources and have very Spartan
stands with little more than some brochures, price lists, wine glasses and
bottles of their wines.
The fair was a five day marathon until a few years ago. Now it's merely
four days of strolling around numerous pavilions.
And if you've been attending VinItaly for any length of time, you know precisely
where certain wineries are going to be located, as they've rented the same space
for perhaps the past two decades or more!
Knowing the stand of the Vietti winery is a popular spot, we immediately made
tracks to taste their latest releases.
The Coppo brothers from near Asti shared a stand with Vietti and they make some
exceptional wines, from Chardonnay to Barbera to Barolo.
The Cogno winery makes wonderful Nascetta, but a range of typical Langhe reds.
The "artista" who designed the colorful art-work on this exceptional
bottle was on hand to pour their liquid artistry.
We sampled some Ruche wines and the wine of Luca Ferraris is amongst the best.
The wines of Northern Piemonte are worth researching, so we stopped to taste the
wines of Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo.
Carlo Arluno showed us his current line-up and we're delighted that his wines
are finally available once again in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Many stands have tables for tasting, discussion and negotiations.
Da Capo's wines were excellent, by the way.
The wines of Conterno-Fantino are mighty impressive.
Oberto's new releases are also impressive.
Beatrice Boschis presents the wines of her famous Zia, Chiara.
E. Pira wines...
The Vaira Family's winery is in a prime spot amongst the Piemontese producers
and it's always crowded thanks to their fine work in the vineyards and cellar.
Chiara at Cascina Gilli offers a taste of their remarkable fizzy Malvasia.
Silvia Altare is able to speak eloquently about her family's wines, either in
Italian or English.
Vittoria Alessandria poured her family's wines, while her father, Gianfranco
visited with prospective customers (in the background).
One winery brought in "dirt" from their vineyards and displayed the
work shoes and boots of their vineyard crew.
You'll find various pavilions devoted primarily to the wineries of a particular
region, though their are always a few "lost souls."
We accepted the invitation from some friends to be their guests at a restaurant
just outside of Verona.
They hosted a veritable "United Nations" table of guests...customers
from Japan, Russia, America and Australia.
The next morning, bright and early, we continued our visits in
Domenico Clerico and Giorgio Rivetti.
Clerico was at the 2017 VinItaly, but passed away suddenly during that summer.
He will be missed.
Seghesio makes some exceptional wines and they arrive at sensible price levels.
But there's more to Italy than solely Piemonte (hard to believe, I know!).
A neighboring building is chock full of Tuscan producers, so off we went to
explore the world of Sangiovese (and more).
Some consorzio stands allow one to taste many of the wines of the various
This snapshot shows the Chianti Classico wines available for evaluation.
We even ran into some friends from San Francisco who were
hanging out at a stand of a great Brunello winery...
Amanzio and Paris Tamante
We had to stop to taste the latest wines of Piancornello, a long time favorite
Capanna...another favorite Brunello producer.
It was great to meet the enologist of the Le Chiuse winery...I'd visited some
years ago, having been thrilled with their wines.
Caprili opened a 1985 vintage to show off the aging potential of their wines...
In the background, coincidentally, is their San Francisco importer, the great
Dino Capriotti of Vinity Wines.
We ventured to taste some wines from Le Marche and Claus was impressed with
those from Marotti Campi.
Signor Caggiano from Campania, a noteworthy producer of Taurasi and other
Giampaolo Chiettini is from Trentino, but these day he lives in Toscana.
He's a winemaking consultant and works with wineries all over Italy.
That's Elisa Sandri of Trentino's famed Pojer e Sandri winery.
The end of a long day of pouring wine at VinItaly...Pojer & Sandri.
Another famous Trentino winemaker: Terol-Diego Bolognani from the town of
And what about Sicilia?
Twenty years ago you'd have trouble finding a winery from Etna...today, they are
happy to show you their latest releases.
We were delighted to find a favorite Vermentino producer, Piero Mancini from
Le Ragose from Valpolicella.
And if you're lost, there is even a crew to direct you to the
producer whose stand you're looking for.
A young winemaker who produces good "Rosato."
Various grower's consortiums will set up a stand and you can taste various
producer's wines of a particular appellation...in this case, the wines from
Montefalco in Umbria...Sagrantino.
Some producers whose wines have been featured in a particular guide book have a
table to show off their works.
We start at the opening bell in the morning and sometime around mid-day, or so,
we're pleased to take a ten minute break for a simple panino.
The Pasetti family make some wonderful wines...Montepulciano is a favorite here.
We like the Contrade di Taurasi wines made by Signor Lonardo.
The "Team" of Torre dei Beati.
The end of a hard day's work!
And we look forward to next year and the upcoming 2020 edition of
Thanks to Kareasa Wilkins for helping assemble the photos and