I’m just back from the annual Omniwines trip to Italy and, to be honest, I haven’t written a word in weeks. Sprinting through Verona’s convention center and tasting hundreds of wines a day at Vinitaly – the world’s largest wine tasting – didn’t leave me much time for blogging; on the subsequent winery visits I found myself much more drawn to my camera than to my pen.
I have a dirty little secret to confess: I don’t really like wine tastings.
I’m not talking about the get-your-friends-together, open-some-funky-wines, drink-and-discuss-while-you-nibble-on-charcuterie kind of DIY tasting, but rather the put-on-a-blazer, go-to-a-convention-center, taste, spit, and shmooz-your-way-around-the-room industry events. Many of my non-wine friends jealously yearn to attend, but my colleagues and I are all too familiar with the manic chaos that generally comes with the territory.
For centuries, the city of Verona in Northern Italy’s Veneto region was best known as the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Today it has become synonymous with wine – specifically the Valpolicella (and Amarone della Valpolicella) made in the hilly area from which it takes its name, just outside of town.
Since 1967, Verona has also played host to VinItaly, the world’s largest wine fair, which begins tomorrow and has provided me with the perfect excuse to come enjoy spring in my favorite part of the world. It’s a bit intimidating, however – 5 days, more than close to 4,500 exhibitors, and God only knows how many tasters from more than 100 countries. I hope I’m tough enough to keep up.