Friday, April 11, 2014

OperaWine 2014: Finest Italian Wines 100 Great Producers

Third Edition of OperaWine previews 48th Vinitaly
Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

VERONA, Italy--If there ever an "Oscar Night" for wine, then OperaWine 2014, the premiere event to Vinitaly 2014, the world's largest wine fair, is certainly it. Presenting 100 Finest Italian Wines as selected by Wine Spectator magazine, the evening brought out the brightest stars in the galaxy of Italian wines. 

Among the standouts, Allegrini Valpolicella Amarone della Classico 2004, Arnaldo Caprai 25 anni Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2009, Donnafugata Mille e Una Notte Contessa Entellina DOP 2008, and Damilano Cannubi Barolo DOCG 2010. The wine makers and the more than 500 guests turned out in their best evening wear to celebrate the best of Italian wine in the elegant surroundings of the Palazzo della Gran Guardia, overlooking the historic Piazza Bra and the ancient Arena that dominates this most elegant and romantic of Italian cities. 

At an earlier news conference,  Vinitaly International Managing Director Stevie Kim, Ettore Riello, President of VeronaFiere, site of Vinitaly 2014, and  Giovanni Mantovani, CEO and Director General of VeronaFiere, discussed the evolution of the OperaWine event over the past several years, including the association with Altagamma, the Italian luxury brands and lifestyle coalition, which was launched at the Opera Wine news conference two years ago, and last year's introduction of the Vinitaly Wine club, now completing its first year of operation.

This year, Managing Director Kim introduced Mr. and Miss Vinitaly 2014, Andrea Amadel and Alessandra Scarci. "There's will be the face and image of Vinitaly to the world as we seek to make inroads in the 18-34 young adult market. They will serve as ambassadors of Italian wine to youth within Italy and around the world. Their faces will rejuvenate the face of Italian wine."

Kim, along with Veronafiere General Director Giovanni Mantovani, accounced the launch of, the wine club of the daily Italian business paper Il Sole 24 Ore. The new collaboration with Il Gruppo 24 Ore will allow Italian consumers to expand their knowledge of Italian wine, accessing an inital offering of 250 wines from all 20 regions of Italy, starting with the 100 Finest Italian Wines presented at OperaWine 2014.

Stevie Kim concluded the news conference with a reminder of the importance of social media in the wine trade, highlighting Vinitaly's international social channels-Facebook, You Tube, Instagram and  the Chinese platform Welbio, and a re-vamped website that broadcast live-stream photos of Vinitaly.

Wine Spectator is the world's leading authority on wine, reaching more than 3 million readers worldwide. Wine Spectator is solely responsible for the choice of producers at the OperaWine event.

Vinitaly International also announced the appointment of Dr. Ian D’Agata as the scientific director of its new educational initiative Vinitaly International Academy (VIA). An innovative masterclass series that combines focused tastings with academic lectures on Italian grapes, VIA is designed to explain, divulge, and broadcast the characteristics of Italian wine, for all levels of wine knowledge from novice to expert, tailored to each international market.

Opera Wine is the premiere event to Vinitaly 2014. It is a precursor to the type of quality presentations that would mark the next four days. According to Ettore Riello, President of Veronafiere, the event has confirmed its leadership as the main landmark for the international wine business, with a 6% increase in visitors for a total of 155,000 people over the 4 days of the event. Business and the quality of that business also increased, with the number of foreign buyers up to 56,000, representing  36%  of the total.
Verona 2014 ended with a significant event. For the first time ever, an Italian Prime Minister visited Vintaly. Matteo Renzi traveled to Verona for the final day of the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition, which was held alongside the Sol and Agrifood Exhibition of Quality Agro-Foods and Enolitech, the Wine-Growing and Olive-Growing Technology Exhibition.  In his address to the body, Prime Minister Renzi launched an initiative with the objective of a 50% increase in wine exports from Italy to the world by 2020. He also announced an 18-point simplification plan in support of agriculture in general and agricultural enterprises and young people. The plan involves outreach to youth through the internet and social media. The Prime Minister promised "a major investment undertaking"in these areas of growth over the next several years. The 49th edition of Vinitaly is scheduled at Veronafiere March 22-25, 2015.  
OperaWine "cast members" in full Opera regalia
Dwight The Wine Doctor with Sabrina Tedescbi and her Monte Olmi wine at OperaWine 2014
Mother, daughter team of Federica Mascheroni Stianti and Giovanna Stianti of Castello di Volpaia of Chianti
Marco Caprai (l) winemaker at Arnoldo Caprai of Umbria, last year's European Winemaker of the Year
My good friend and fellow wine writer "Charlie" Artuola (r)

With Marilisa Allegrini of Allegrini Wines
Stevie Kim, Managing Director, Vinitaly International
Andrea Amadel and Alessandra Scarci, Mr. and Miss Vinitaly 2014

Below; Stevie Kim, Managing Director, Vinitaly International, Dwight The Wine Doctor, Thomas Matthews, Executive Editor, Wine Spectator, Giovanni Mantovani, CEO, Vinitaly International, Dr. Ian D'Agata, scientific director, Vinitaly International Academy                                       

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