Slow Wine Stops by Eataly - Cheers!

Tommaso Cartia (February 07, 2017)
Eataly is the biggest market for Italian products in the world, so what better way to celebrate its tenth anniversary than with a toast? For this occasion, the beautiful Eataly NYC Downtown location was transformed into a vineyard to host Slow Wine 2017’s New York event. Every year the traveling Slow Wine event offers small and medium-sized Italian wine producers the chance to present themselves to the international market.

Slow Food Movement

Slow Food is more than just an association: it’s a philosophy and a way of life. Carlo Petrini founded the international nonprofit group in 1986 in Piedmont, Italy. His organization identifies itself as a movement to “prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, and to counteract the rise of fast life.” The organization also looks to build relationships between producers and consumers, teaching both groups to understand the origins of authentic products and to respect the planet–including protecting biodiversity. Upon its founding, Eataly shared the same fundamental principles as Slow Food and immediately adopted its philosophy. As it also includes wines, the slow movement is about more than just food products. Before arriving in New York, the wine tour had seen both small and medium-sized Italian winemakers present their wine collections in some of the most important American showcases.

Eataly and Slow Food Celebrate 10 Years Together

Dino Borri, International Brand Ambassador & Head Buyer of Eataly USA, and fan of the wine initiative, told us a bit about Eataly’s first ten years and its new collaboration with Slow Wine: “We just finished our tenth year, and we’re celebrating not only our anniversary but also our great collaboration with Slow Food. The Slow Food movement was born in Bra, which also happens to be where I was born. When the founder of Eataly, Oscar Farinetti, had the idea to open Eataly, he asked the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, for advice in selecting the best Italian products to put in the new store.

The marriage between Slow Food and Eataly is ten years strong, and we decided to host the Slow Wine event this year. It has already been hosted in other cities across the United States. We realized that our Eataly Downtown location was the perfect space to host it. We never had an event like this in our stores because they aren’t spaces for producers to hunt for buyers or distribuitors. However, our Downtown location also allowed us to host the producers, who we normally work with, for this event.

Our philosophy, and it applies to wine as well, is to gravitate toward small producers that care for the land, the planet, and sustainable agriculture. This event is a pilot event; we’re talking about making it a traveling event between all of our stores. We currently have locations in New York, Chicago, and Boston, but we are soon opening one in Los Angeles, and following that, another in Las Vegas. The producers seem happy, and the public is also very content. Cheers!”

95 Producers for more then 100 Wines Degustation

There were more than one hundred Italian wines and 95 vineyards, some well-known, others hidden gems. Romolo Algeni is an important sommelier from Paola’s Restaurant, a historic Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. Algeni attended the event and spoke to us about some of the wines that struck him the most: “Slow Wine is an interesting entity, and it’s growing a lot. We’re following it in collaboration with Italian Food and Wine magazine Gambero Rosso. There is a great selection of wines, and we’re finally seeing some Sicilian ones. I love Sicilian wines; there are some varieties near Etna that are growing, and it’s proof of the strengthening Sicilian wine industry. Wine production in the Marche region is also growing with its Verdicchio. There’s also something new in the region of Campania. Right now, Tuscany and Piedmont are the leaders.”

Buyers, distributors, and other professionals had the opportunity to sample excellent regional Italian wines. The Italian tradition of winemaking is world-renowned, and it’s indicative of high quality.

A Unique Selection

Among the Sicilian wines, Planeta’s really stand out. One of their representatives spoke with us regarding the importance of being present at Slow Wine: “Palm Bay International distributes our wines all over the United States, and it's a great resource, not only on a commercial level but also for publicity and marketing. We chose to participate in Slow Wine because of New York’s image and importance; it is, without a doubt, the center of the world.”

Another interesting winery is RoncSoreli. It’s comprised of 72 hectares of land situated in the wine-producing region of Colli Orientali del Friuli. The representative who we spoke with described it as “a small entity in the comune of Prepotto that’s famous for its production of Schioppetino. One of the things that certifies wine originating from this vineyard is that it stays in the barrel for at least twelve months, at no less than 12.5 degrees Celsius, before it’s ready to be sold. This process gives the wine its characteristics, such as its particular wooden note. This variety of Schioppetino contains a hint of pepper and berries, and unlike other wines, it can be sparkling. We have Ribolla, Friulano, Merlot, and Sauvignon, and we also have a new attractive brand called ABC. The Pinot Nero isn’t dated; it’s from 2016, and it’s targeted toward a younger market that doesn’t seek wines that are too grandiose."

RoncSoreli is looking to distribute in the US, as are many of the other wine producers present at the event. They came hoping to gain publicity and attract important buyers.

Borgo Paglianetto is yet another winery in search of publicity. It’s based in the heart of Marche, specifically in the area famous for its Verdicchio wines. One of their representatives tells us, “Terra Vignetta is our ‘entry wine.' It’s fresh and lively. We also have Ergon, which is made according to biodynamic certification standards. Finally, we have Vertis, which represents both complexity and balance. All of our Verdicchio wines are pure and are made in steel.”

In the true spirit of Slow Wine, the wine producer Mossio is a family-run business based out of Rodello, Piedmont. Valerio, one of the two brothers who runs the business today, tells us that the Mossio family has quite a history: “I represent the fourth generation of wine makers in my family. I have seven hectares of Dolcetto grapes, one of Nebbiolo grapes, and one of Barbera graps. We have four different types of Dolcetto, one of which is made from old vines and is therefore unique. I truly believe in the Slow Food movement. It’s fantastic for small producers because it respects biodiversity, which is great for a small business like us that produces only 50,000 bottles. Wine is a part of our family and our life. It’s in our DNA. Our grandparents made sacrifices; they sold wine in order to put food on the table. I sell it for pleasure.”

Slow Wine also confers certifications to the wines that best represent the movement’s core values. Indie Wineries is a company that was fortunate enough to have received this certification for its Italian wines. In addition to Italian wines, Indie Wineries decided to surprise the crowd this year by also bringing Slovenian wines. Rosanna Chella, Indie Wineries’ marketing, enthusiastically spoke to us about this decision: “We are presenting thirteen different brands, all of which have previously obtained a Slow Wine certification. There’s a lot of visibility to be had for small producers that respect the Slow Wine philosophy. For the first time, Slow Wine has included Slovenian wines, and we’re very happy about it. Personally, I really enjoy these.”

A Passage to Italy Through the Streets of Wine

These accounts represent some of the most intriguing stories we heard, but the event as a whole was truly like taking a trip to Italy–with its scents and its flavors soaking in the drunken pleasure of wine.

It was an outstanding day that celebrated the new marriage between Slow Wine and Eataly, a pairing that is sure not only to last but also to highlight the excellence of Italian products worldwide. Cheers!