After any major wine event, the behind-the-scenes folks gather together, take a load off and have a drink (or three). Standing on your feet all day and pouring wine to assorted consumers and sales reps, followed by entertaining clients at dinner takes its toll. So when everything is said and done and the credit card slips are signed, those with some spring left in their step converge on “the” place to be. Every city has one: The Supper Club in Melbourne after Wine Australia, The Matterhorn in Wellington following a session at the New Zealand Pinot Noir Conference and RN74 after anything in San Francisco. And following a big day at Vinitaly, the entire wine world crowds into the Bottega del Vino, one of the best wine bars on the planet.
Wall of Armagnacs at Bottega del Vino
Tucked away on the Scudo di Francia, the traditionally-styled wine bar Bottega del Vino had an inauspicious appearance from the outside, save for the throngs of people that packed the alley and made getting to the door quite a challenge. Working the crowd, I shouldered my way through to the entrance, greeting friends and business associates along the way. Once past the security guards (Vinitaly crowd control), you enter a warm space crammed with wooden tables and walls lined with hundreds of old wine bottles. Every seat was occupied, and waiters and busboys darted past clutching bottles and glasses. The noise level seemed to ebb and flow on the same tide as the bottle fills. (more…)
Following our adventures at en primeur week in Bordeaux (and prior to that a week in Burgundy), some of us decided we needed to taste more wine. So we donned our helmets and made our to Verona to attend the annual wine fair known as Vinitaly, a trade event that has taken on legendary proportions. Held each April for over 45 years, it plays host to thousands of wineries from all across Italy, along with a few international estates. The main purpose is to connect wineries with distributors and importers, but the public is welcome on selected days. Attracting visitors from across the globe (this year saw 156,000), Vinitaly is of such massive proportions that it is triple the size of Vinexpo, probably the most well known trade fair held every other year in Bordeaux.
A lot of wine
I had heard about Vinitaly for years and always wanted to attend, despite industry colleagues complaining about the crushing number of people. While the stories about the sheer size of the event were enough to interest me, it also seemed like a great chance to taste a lot—and I mean a lot—of Italian wine. But as is often the case, none of the stories could hold a candle to the reality. It was everything I had heard about—and more! (more…)