Key Insights from Vinitaly 2023
The 55th edition of Vinitaly, one of the world’s largest wine fairs, saw resounding success and excitement among producers this year. Held annually in Verona, Italy, this year’s event was held from April 2 to 5 and welcomed 3,000 guests from 140 countries and nearly 4,400 wine producers.
Hosted at the Veronafiere grounds, the roughly 1,013,780-feet of exhibition area was divided between 13 pavilions—plus a collection of a few temporary structures—making this a marathon of tastings, meetings and seminars.
The energy across the fair was palpable. From day one, stands were busy with producers whizzing about with wine in hand, ensuring clients all got to taste the new vintages or latest edition to their lineup.
Here’s a look at some of Vinitaly’s highlights.
Producers Showcased More Than Wine at Vinitaly
Many producers used Vinitaly to introduce additional categories, such as vermouth and spirits, to their more traditional core wine brands.
“More and more producers are showcasing a variety of beverage options,” says Kevin Natoli, North American export manager for G.D. Vajra, who was promoting the brand’s new brandy project.
Ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages also had a strong presence at Vinitaly. A large number of producers demonstrated alternative packaging options like cans, kegs and boxes.
“The pandemic better defined, in the consumer, what they like and do not like and that was on full display this year,” says Alberto Tasca, chief executive officer of Tenuta Regaliai. “Clients expressed the need for wines that can define, clearly, what they are and where they are from.”
Italy Introduces a Classification System and Takes a Closer Look at Terroir
There were plenty of learning opportunities throughout the fair as well.
For instance, the new Unità Geografiche Aggiuntive (UGA) system for Chianti Classico was explored via multiple small seminars. In addition, representatives from the region of Franciacorta held seminars focused on their multi-year study of soil types of the region and Campania. Their findings showed the power of volcanic soil upon their native grapes.
The Importance of Vinitaly to International Markets
The United States contingent was in full attendance this year with importers, sommeliers, monopoly buyers and everyone in between. Luis Rivera, wine director at Marta, a Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant based in New York City, expressed how important this year’s show was for his business.
“Being a restaurant manager today, it feels like we wear more hats than usual. And being able to go to a tasting and/or have vendors visit the restaurant seems impossible at times,” says Rivera. “Going to Vinitaly is a great way for me to see producers, check on new wines, vintages and meet new producers that I can introduce my guests to.”
Many other attendees shared this sentiment as well, including Iacopo di Teodoro, NYC portfolio manager of Artisanal Cellars an importer/distributor from New York and Vermont. “Vinitaly is extremely important to my business,” he says. “It is the moment I can meet with most of my Italian suppliers and make plans for the rest of the year.”
While producers came from all over the world, Vinitaly still showcases how Italian wine continues to evolve for the better.
Anna-Christina Cabrales, tasting director for Wine Enthusiast perhaps summed it up best “Despite Wine Paris making quite the splash, Vinitaly is still the best fair for Italian wines,” she says.
It is never too early to prepare for next year: Vinitaly 2024 will take place from April 14 to 17 2024, so book those flights, hotel rooms and prepare your walking shoes.