This photo is one of setting up at Vinitaly, the large Italian wine fair that starts in about eight days. I love Vinitaly. This will be my 10th in a row and I think my 12th show over all. I never get tired of it and it is a highlight in my spring calendar. That said it is tiring so what I tell people are the following tips for enjoying the fair.
1. Wear comfortable shoes. While we all want to look beautiful down to our shoes, especially in Italy, comfort is key. The fair is huge and you will be exhausted. One spends most of the day walking.
2. Pace yourself and make appointments. I always go to Vinitaly wearing different hats: PR maven, Journalist, Blogger, trade relations manager, student, translator, friend. I always meet clients, look for new ones, taste new wines, attend seminars, hang out with fellow AIS sommeliers and end up translating for an importer or two. I like to leave myself openings in my schedule though just to discover new wines. Build in free time. Also, spit a lot of wine in the morning, especially. Italians tend to spit less than Americans. You can spit, even if you are female.
3. Have lunch at one of your contacts’ stands. This is key. The lines are huge at the restaurants and in the bars however, every stand has some food and usually, clients and friends want to share with you.
4. Bring a bottle of water. Drinking water throughout the day can help keep you fresh.
5. Visit stands where AIS sommeliers are pouring wines to discover new gems. They are usually incredibly well-prepared. I love the ones from the Valle d’Aosta but they are all good.
6. Remember if you have evening and day appointments, it can be a slog by day 2. Again, pace yourself. I like to really take advantage of the days and my nights are a little more tame. Everyone is different however but remember, you still have to get up the next day.
7. Wifi in the pavilions is not always great. If you have to meet people, choose an exact place and give it 20 minutes of leeway. The halls get really crowded and walking around is sometimes hard.