The 100 Top Italian Wine Producers Show Off Their ‘grand Beauty’ at La Grande Bellezza of OperaWine 2014
Verona, 5 April 2014 - Connection and communication – these were the buzzwords today as Vinitaly International opened the doors to La Grande Bellezza of OperaWine, the premier event - now in its third edition - that precedes tomorrow’s official opening of Vinitaly 2014. In the Palazzo Gran Guardia in the center of Verona, producers, journalists, and distinguished guests from around the world gathered for a grand tasting of the Top 100 Italian wines, as selected by American Wine Spectator Magazine. The tasting was preceded by a 1pm press conference that highlighted the truly global nature of the event, and of the activities of Vinitaly International over the past year.
“Looking around at the guests of OperaWine, many of them – importers, educators, buyers, sommeliers, press and wine lovers - are the people we’ve met on our world tour,” explained Vinitaly International Managing Director Stevie Kim. “Vinitaly cannot be a once-a-year trade fair – that’s the old way of doing business. The new way is year-round continuity. In the past year, we’ve held events in Hong Kong, Russia, New York, China and Italy. Everywhere we go, we meet key players in the industry - and now we bring them home to Verona. We make hospitality the most important part of sharing wine knowledge - not only helping us sell Italian wine – but also creating a truly international network of all the players involved.”
This message came on the heels of last week’s affirmation by Paolo De Castro, President of the Agricultural Commission in the European Parliament, who named Vinitaly, “the ambassador of wine, in Italy and in the world, center of knowledge and of value creation for a product that symbolizes the best of Italian tradition and quality.”
It is that combination of tradition and quality that Wine Spectator sought to capture in its selection of 100 Italian producers. “Compared to the 4000 exhibitors at Vinitaly, 100 producers is a very small sampling,” explained Thomas Matthews, Executive Editor of Wine Spectator. “We cannot represent all of Italy, but the goal is to show the diversity and the quality present in the various regions. Italian winemakers are dedicated, talented and passionate; they respect tradition, but never cease in their efforts to improve their wines. We strive to showcase part of it – arguably the very best – here at OperaWine this evening.”
Stevie Kim also reminded attendees that in addition to touring world capitals, in the past year Vinitaly International has also made its foray into e-commerce with the Vinitaly Wine Club, which launched at last year’s OperaWine press conference, and has since spread to the UK and China. Today, together with Veronafiere General Director Giovanni Mantovani, she announced the launch of Vini24.com, the wine club of the daily business paper Il Sole 24 Ore. “This new collaboration with Il Gruppo 24 Ore will allow Italian consumers to expand their knowledge of Italian wine, accessing an initial offering of 250 wines from all 20 regions of Italy – starting with the 100 Finest Italian Wines presented at OperaWine today,” explained Mr. Mantovani.
Turning to the second theme – communication – the press conference highlighted Vinitaly’s recent efforts to rejuvenate the face of wine, crowning the first Mr. and Miss Vinitaly International - Andrea Amadei and Alessandra Scarci – who will help serve as ambassadors of Italian wine to youth within Italy and around the world. Stevie Kim also announced the winner of last week’s Twitter contest, #BestOperaWine, in which users voted Rotari Flavio Trento DOC Riserva 2006 as their favorite among the 100 Top Italian Wines at the event.
The press conference concluded with a reminder of the widely-recognized importance of social media in the wine trade. Stevie Kim led the audience through a tour of Vinitaly International’s social channels – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, the Chinese platform Weibo, and a re-vamped website – all of which were already broadcasting live-stream photos of the event itself.
Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine that reaches more than 3 million readers worldwide, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 15,000 wines each year. Wine Spectator is solely responsible for the choice of producers at the event.
Veronafiere is the leading organizer of trade shows in Italy including Vinitaly (http://www.vinitaly.com), the largest wine event in the world. The 47th edition of Vinitaly counted some 148,000 visitors (+6%), of which 53.000 were international attendees (+10%) visiting from 120 countries. On 95.000 square meters, 4.200 exhibitors welcomed trade professionals, media and producers alike. The next installment of the fair will take place on 6th- 9th April 2014. The premier event to Vinitaly, OperaWine (http://www.vinitalyinternational.com) “Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers”, will unite international wine professionals on April 5th 2014 in the heart of Verona. Veronafiere also created Vinitaly International in 1998 to develop a global platform for the promotion of companies in the Italian wine and food sectors.