The 52nd edition of Vinitaly, one of the world’s largest wine fair, hosted more than 120 thousand attendees from 143 countries in Verona (Italy) this year. Events began with Operawine, the Oscars of the Italian wine world, honoring 107 of the best Italian producers selected in collaboration with Wine Spectator Magazine. With icons such as Sassicaia from Bolgheri, Barbaresco Sorì Tildìn from Gaja and Amarone Capitel Monte Olmi from Tedeschi, most of the producers hailed from Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto in the event which focused on the American market.
Later, attendees at the Gala dinner enjoyed the legendary cuisine of late Gualtiero Marchesi with chef Davide Oldani at the Mercatali Galleries, toasting this great fair with prosecco from Carpenè Malvolti ‘s 150-year-old vineyard.
If you missed the chance to visit, here are some of the highlights from this year’s event.
Organic and Sustainable Wines
While the Vinitalybio, Vivit and Fivi pavilions exhibited organic and natural wine producers as well as wines from independent producers, many producers concentrated on the concept of sustainability, suggesting that it’s not a passing fashion, but is in fact here to stay. Italy is the world's largest producer of organic certified wine, mainly exporting it to Northern Europe, specifically to Germany.
Eastern Europe in Focus
This year the International wine hall hosted countries like Ethiopia, Denmark and Santo Domingo for the first time. Tasting sessions from Croatia, Ukraine and Hungary displayed the revival of Eastern European wines. Highlights included Malvasian white wines and sour cherry dessert wines from Croatia, sparkling whites and brandies from Southern Ukraine, Hungarian volcanic wines Olaszrizling from the Balaton Highlands (Hungary) and Juhfark from the Samlo region (Hungary).
Women in Wine
Wine produced exclusively by female winemakers, growers and winery owners were also showcased in a seminar lead by Cathy Huyghe (founder of Enolytics) and included Elderton Ode to Lorraine 2014 (Barossa Valley), Riesling from Sofia Thanisch (Germany) and Larue from Sonoma Coast. Le Donne del Vino (the Women of Wine) celebrated their 30th anniversary with roundtable discussions on women as both consumers and producers, and on women and wine in Asia.
Another ongoing trend was the growing popularity of rosé wines on the international wine scene, in particular amongst the millennials. Tastings of sparkling and still rosé wines from Italy demonstrated the potential of the “Drinkpink” movement, not only with wines made from canonical Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blends but also those made from local grapes. Pink lovers could also taste the exceptional rosés such as the recently launched rosé cannonau Nudo by the Sardinian (Italy) Siddùra winery.
While wine is the main focus of Vinitaly, craft beer got a lot of attention in the Sol & Agrifood area, the international agri-food fair within the fair. In particular, the Italian grape ale and barrel aged beers from Baladin, which were served in wine glasses, suggesting an ever blurred relationship between the world of beer and wine.
Haute cuisine was also not left behind. The on-site restaurant Ristorante d’Autore served a special menu from some celebrated Italian chefs like Enrico Bartolini of Mudec Milan, Nicola Locatelli of I Castagi in Vigevano, Pavia and Daniel Canzian of restaurant Daniel Canzian in Milan, each day. However, there was one overriding theme to their menus, the four elements, highlighting the importance of environment in the fair once again this year.