I just returned from Italy this weekend, where I attended Vinitaly, the annual Italian wine trade show in Verona.  Every professional in the Italian wine business reacts to this event with a very strange mixture of excitement, fear, hope and read.  It’s 4 days of non-stop, full-throttle tasting, negotiating, planning, and blind-mad running at full speed.  There’s always too much to do, too many people to see, and not enough time or infrastructure within which to get it all done.  But I love every second of it.

Elisa Scavino talks 2008 Barolo with Thomas Burke and Kirk Petersen of Las Vegas.

As a professional in the wine industry, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these wineries are not “products”- they are people. They are winemakers, families, cooperatives, who dedicate their lives to farming grapes and crafting  wine: a culturally indispensable, expensive, gut-wrenching prospect.  Manage to keep this in perspective, and it changes everything.

As a salesperson of Italian wine, it’s my job to represent my wineries and make placements with their wines in retailers and restaurants.  However, after spending time with them in person like this I become more than a salesperson- I become their ambassadors.

How could I not pick up the sword for them after looking these people in the eyes and listening to them tell about the generations through which their winery has survived war, poverty, natural disasters and the economic roller coaster?

Italian wine is just as important to Italy’s cultural identity as its art museums, literature and food history.  If you want to know the real Italia, learn to know her farmers, her winemakers and her enological traditions. If you are fascinated by Italy, you will fall in love with Italian wine.

Every time I am faced with this reality the salesman inside me dies a little, while the true enthusiast takes a deep breath.

About The Author

I love all things Italian: the beautiful country of Italia, the Italians themselves, the language, the food… and above all, I love Italian wine. The people I meet in my charmed life are fascinating, the wines are extraordinary. I needed a special place like this to write about them, and to remember them.

Related Posts

7 Responses

  1. Captain

    However, since these wines are a continent away and we are not visiting the tasting rooms ourselves (nor your clients), without the passon, knowledge and excitment that you bringforth, you being this great salesperson, these wines would “die a little” ………..and would,, over time, not be within our reach.

  2. Antonio Gardella

    I have enjoyed VinItaly 9 times and what you say is true. Bringing back stories, tasting new releases, sharing the winemaker’s joy for their life in wine – brings enthusiasm for Italian wines to all who are eager to listen. Thanks for sharing your wine adventures, insights, tips, and passion Joanie! You are an intrepid explorer in the marvelous world of wine!

  3. The Blissful Adventurer

    Nice welcome home piece. I hope to see some shots from your visits and more of your having fun. I am way too old and crotchety for these kinds of events so I am glad to have a warrior on the ground to document them for all of us 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.