Vino 2010. Sipping the Italian Nectar of the Gods in NYC

Marina Melchionda (February 05, 2010)
Facts and Figures of the Largest event dedicated to Italian Wine outside of Italy

The number one event dedicated to Italian wine outside of Italy; 400 Italian producers; more than 50 distributors; 4 Italian regions participating (Apulia, Calabria, Tuscany, and Veneto); 3,000 wine buyers, marketers, sellers, journalists and educators; 120 never-before imported wines; 3 days of seminars, conferences, and degustations. These are just a few figures that describe Vino 2010 - The Italian Wine Week, which on February 3rd in New York.

Giuseppe Morandini, member of the board of the Italian Trade Commission, indicated the three objectives that the Italian Trade Commission had in organizing the event during the inaugural press conference: "First of all, with Vino 2010 we aimed to group together big and small enterprises, consortia, chambers of commerce, regional institutions. Under this umbrella we find the best representation of Made in Italy wine, which we put together with great effort. Four important results come with this: the optimized utilization of the limited budget we have at our disposal for promotional activities; a structuralization of such initiatives; efficacy of public investments; institutionalization of a one and unique interlocutor for the US market".

Mr. Morandini indicated as a second objective the creation of a promotion that can easily reach the American consumer and understand its demands. "Let's not forget that the US is our prime market of exportation: 30% of our wine production is imported in this country, and our sales reached the value of 1.5 billion USD in the last year. Consider that just the sale of our sparkling wine increased of a an average 14% in the last year. "The third objective, finally, is to overcome difficulties posed by such a large market as the US, which has a very complex chain of distribution".

It was the Consul General of Italy in NYC Francesco Maria Talò that pointed out another important goal to be reached through initiatives such as Vino 2010: "Italy, which is 2/3 the size of California, is the largest producer of wine in the world. Where ever you go in the country, you have different wines, according to the regional traditions. In a globalized world, we need to catalyze the attention on local excellency, and start a 'glocal' operation", said the Consul General of Italy in New York Francesco Maria Talò during the inaugural press conference. "Together with the Italian Trade Commission, which has always been the flagship of Made in Italy, and with the Ministry of Economic Development, this year the Italian Wine Week enjoys the participation of BuonItalia and VinItaly, that confer it even more prestige", he continued.

The new collaboration, set under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture,Food, and Forestry Policies was indeed one of the main novelties featured in Vino 2010. VinItaly, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition held every year in the month of April in the city Verona, figures as a lead event in the world with 4,213 exhibitors and 151,216 visitors from over 100 countries in its 2009 edition. BuonItalia Spa, on the other hand, was founded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry Policies with the aim of providing the Italian agricultural and food system with a control mechanism to reinforce the country's competitive capacities in the global marketplace for agricultural products.

"BuonItalia believes it is crucial to emphasize and strengthen the relationship between the product and its territory of origins and, at the same time, become a single point of reference for the internationalization of the Italian agricultural system. In order to achieve this, we start from the absolute awareness of the extraordinary value of our products", said the director of BuonItalia Spa Franz Mitterutzner.

The importance of a greater collaboration among Italian producers was indeed recognized by four of the major Italian Wine consortia Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Monetepulciano and Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, that launched on the occasion the new US Promotional Campaign "The Italian Wine Masters". Their participation was another novelty presented by Vino 2010, and enriched the fair with a grand tasting hosted on Feb. 4 at the Waldorf Astoria, featuring more than 150 producers from these prestigious Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G) wine producing regions.

It comes apparent that "for anyone working in the business of buying or selling wine with a focus on Italy, this is the most important conference in the US to attend this year", as Mr. Aniello Musella, Trade Commissioner and Executive Director of the North America branch of the Italian Trade Commission, stated.

Yet... how to keep track with the dozens of seminars going on? How to contact and stay in touch with producers and importers? The Italian Trade Commission responded to this need launching Virtual Vino, a dedicated program for wine bloggers aimed at opening dialogue with online wine enthusiasts both nationally and internationally. It was another novelty introduced this year and allowed participants to tweet and post comments on VINO 2010's Twitter and Facebook Pages. The initiative was also at the center of one of the dozens of seminars taking place during the Week, "Virtual Vino: Millennials & Social Media decanted", focused on the impact of digital media on the education and spread of Italian wines.

Vino 2010 registered even more presences than last years' editions, both in terms of importers and distributors and in terms of producers, and proved that Americans love Italian wines and constitute a constantly expanding consumption despite of the current economic contingencies. Giovanni Colombo, PR Director of VinItaly, defined it as the American twin of the important fair held in Verona. "China, Russia, Singapore, India, Japan, Brasil...delegations from all of these States will be attending this year's edition of our globally famous fair. Among the 120 countries participating, last year, the United States represented the 17% of those attending, a figure that we expect to increase this year. That's why we consider it fundamental to be co-sponsors of Vino 2010. There is a strong bond between America and Italy in the field, and it is our goal to strengthen it. This said, I invite all of you in Verona on April 8-12 to continue with us this fascinating journey through Italy and its vineyards".