How do wine consultants, dealers and others in the wine industry keep up with the enormous mountain of facts and takes on each vineyard’s crop for a particular type wine from a particular season?
They succeed with a lot of hard work, by the looks of it.
At IEEM’s October 28 Chicago stop on the “Simply Italian Great Wines” tour, the industry was abuzz.
Sip after sip, vineyards in search of U.S. dealers and consultants, wine merchants and others who need to keep track of all things wine, mingled in the hall exchanging news of choice bottles.
More than 40 vineyards and exporters were offering samples. This is serious business as the USA is the single largest importer of Italian wines worldwide and our consumption of Italian wine actually beats that of Italy.
The tour event also included classroom instruction by experts who drilled down into more details about different region’s wines.
We attended one on Chianti taught by Paul Wagner of the Napa Valley College Culinary School. Some of the factoids we learned include:
-Chianti is made on 25,000 acres in Italy---about half the size of Napa Valley;
-The rooster trademark of classic Chianti is safeguarded jealously by Chianti producers:
-wine tastings in Italy often end in fisticuffs—because competition is so fierce;
-vineyards have recently changed techniques such that grapes are riper when they arrive to be bottled.
Good news: The $12 Chianti from Podere Torcilacqua was just as tasty and satisfying as $49 bottles we sampled in the tasting.
Bad news: The operation that makes Podere Torcilacqua is so small that you will likely have a very hard time finding it in the US.
Consolation news: That vineyard runs a B&B where you can drink that wine to your heart’s content if and when you go to Italy.
Want a directory of Italian wines? There an App in the Apple Store that you can find "Federdoc". It's like putting a dictionary of great Italian wines on your phone.
Photos: Peter Kachergis