From the 3rd to the 7th of April, Vinitaly held its annual wine fair in Verona, Italy. Made possible through AIS or the Associazione di Italiani Sommelier, it represents over 43,000 exhibitors from over 30 countries.
The largest wine fair in the world, it occupies around 87 thousand square metres and is subdivided into 12 pavilions representing different regions in Italy and other countries. People arrive from all over the world to taste the latest and the greatest. Don’t feel like tasting wine on one of the four days it's open? No worries! Each day different events are held to teach or inspire new methods of growing or making. Competitions are given for the best wines and spirits and to the most knowledgeable.
If it's not wine you're looking for, some pavilions have grappa or other spirit selections. Don’t feel like liquor at all? Try the oil pavilion--which not only features olive oils, but also balsamic vinegars, jams, and other jarred preparations for veggies and fruits. There is pretty much something for everyone.
What's really special about events like these is the possibility to try wines that are rare and hard to come by; for example, Schiaccatrà from Liguira or Moscata di Scanzo from Lombardia. Many people start off by running to Tuscany and Piedmonte, wanting to taste the Brunellos, Barolos and Chiantis, but who wants to wait in a crowd to try something they can have almost anywhere? The point of these fairs is to try something new!! So if you have the chance, buy a ticket and visit the Emilia-Romania or Friuli stand!
My day started off with a mission to get to the South African, Chilean and Argentian stands-- wines not always easy to come by. However, easily distracted by the craziness, I found myself first stopping in the Pulgia pavilion. Since it had an enormous stand to itself, my husband and I had no idea where to go, and so decided to pull up to the AIS counter. Each pavilion has a stand created by AIS to help aid people who don't know where to start in the pavilion! For someone who may not know what winery offers what, or which is more interesting or special, the AIS counter has at least two wines from every exhibitor in their pavilion to help you out.
And so we began. We started with whites, then onto roses, then reds and finally desert wines. Two hours in all, and well worth it. We had heard that Pulgia could put out some great wines, and boy, were we impressed! What's even better about Pulgia is that the costs of these wines are relatively cheap--and that includes their more well-known desert wines like Moscato di Lipari or Aglianico Passito. After stopping at a few other stands, our day was done.
Unfortunately, we never got to South Africa or Chile, but we did have a wonderful time. Guess we’ll have to wait until next year to try the wines we missed out on, or maybe plan a trip…