Analog Wines For the Digital Age

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What I learned at VinItaly this year . . .

New wines from Abbazia di Propezzano arriving May 15th 


Back from VinItaly.  I go every year and every year I have some sort of sickness that prevents me from fully enjoying the week but this year, I was good, and it was amazing to be (almost) in full form for the fair.  I was sick the week before so was still recovering a little but it turned out great.  The only thing that I didn't like was that I missed my family very much this year.  A week away is rough on my lovely wife and a week away is a long time for the children, who grow so fast and change so fast.  It is tough to leave them, but hopefully worth it so I can try to make a good living and give them a great environment of love and security as they grow and mature.

Things I learned this year:

  1. Doing my research before arriving is key to having a successful fair.  I pinpointed a few needs in the portfolio and went out and found them after researching beforehand.  I picked up four new producers that will be arriving in the fall.
  2. Don't trust other importers to be as honorable as you are or do what you would do in a given situation.  It is a competitive marketplace out there and good wineries of a certain size and style are actually not that easy to come by.  All is fair in love and wine importing but I guess I am a little old fashioned and try to not cross certain lines.  Others importers may not see the same line in the same place as I do.  
  3. Use the resources I have in the country to my best advantage.  With some of the hottest producers in Italy in my portfolio, I need to use them to find and attract other talented winemakers to my portfolio.  And it works.  
  4. Always stay the whole fair.  I confirmed two of the four deals I made at the fair on the last day. The crowds are gone and people are relaxed and the masks come off and you can really talk with people and connect.
  5. Remember why I go in the first place.  I love the Italians, I love the food, and I love how I feel when I am in Italy.  I feel like I am nineteen years old again and having the experiences of a lifetime ahead of me.
  6. Lastly, I need to remember to trust my gut.  Whatever my first instinct of a brand is usually the best and most clear picture of them I am going to get, before I get influenced by them, by others, by the urge to do right by people and to be nice and to be seen as a nice guy.  That doesn't make for good decisions.  And this year, I think I avoided most of that.

When I started this five years ago, only one of my wines was imported by other importers in the U.S.  Now, almost all of them are in NY/NJ and some others are in multiple states.  I am proud of them and hope that their success continues to expand.  Producers like Cirelli went from being totally unknown to being one of the producers with the most "buzz" at the fair.  It is thrilling to see a producer grow and change and become something prized in the market.

The wines of Francesco Cirelli.

Lunch with Francesca Vaira at Terroni DTLA . . . best lunch ever!

Francesca Vaira  2010 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library  2006 Langhe Freisa Kye` Library 2014 Luigi Ba...