I have been to Vinitaly for the last five years in a row. Every year is very different from the previous one, somewhat like vintage variations. Some years it is raining and other years it is almost Summer it seems. Additionally, sometimes Nature intervenes and puts a pale on the events such as the earthquake in L’Aquila two years ago. This year, sadly, Japan has been hit again with a massive earthquake while it is still reeling from the earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear plant disaster that began on March 11.
While some of this seems very far away while one is at Vinitaly, there is always an understanding that the world exists outside of this lovely fair, especially when one runs into colleagues from Japan. That said, Vinitaly is also different each year because of the producers one gets to see, conferences or tastings you attend and what you do at night.
In the past I have come with clients, importers who need help trying new wines and with Italian translations, I have been at the fair as a freelance journalists and this year, I am working for the fair itself doing a variety of things. That said, when I came with an importer the first two years, I attended massive dinners with producers which were lovely but hard on the body after tasting wines all day. For the past two years, there has also been an additional part of the fair, a tasting for consumers in a beautiful building in the center of Verona. The initiative is calle Fuorisalone in Citta and takes place in the Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Piazza Bra.
I went last year and listened to music with a friend. This year I also tasted some wines. This is the consumer part of the tasting which is somewhat economical. The wines that are chosen are those that the principal Italian wine guides select. These guides include the one by the Italian Sommelier Association, Luca Maroni, Veronelli, Slow Food and Gambero Rosso.