Try to imagine the biggest food emporium in New York and add to its busy Monday afternoon rush the world's biggest wine showcase. This was the exciting challenge that Eataly and Vinitaly tried to pull off in New York. In an effort to bring Italian wines outside the border of the Bel Paese, Vinitaly, the world's largest wine show, held every Spring in Verona, created the Vinitaly World Tour. At its 12th edition, the itinerant event is committed to showcase Italian wines around the globe, and on Monday, October 25, the newly opened Eataly became the stage for its massive sampling.
Up until now, however, tickets to Vinitaly World Tour had only been available to food industry insiders and members of the press, but this year’s event was open to the public. In addition to that, the expo ran during Eataly regular store hours. “It is quite an unprecedented challenge, and we are very excited to be part of it” said Nicola Marinetti, store manager of the gourmet paradise. “It is truly an unparalleled event; six hundred paying visitors are about to enter the store,” added Stevie Kim, Senior Advisor to the CEO of Veronafiere, Giovanni Mantovani. “But we are well prepared,” she reassured us “we have all the volunteers of the American cancer Society helping us out.” And, in fact, the excitement for the wine expo was augmented by the fact that 100% of the $55 ticket was destined to charity. The Italian food industry has always been about healthy products and, in tune with this commitment to quality and health, all proceeds from the consumer Vinitaly World Tour event were donated to the American Cancer Society.
Among the 200 wines available for tasting we found labels that are well established within the US market, such as Zonini, Masi or Arnaldo Caprai, whose representative Ciro Pirone underlined the exhilaration for such a dynamic event. But quality doesn't necessarily mean a long-term presence in the US. At the wine tasting we found etichette that have just arrived to the American market but promise to leave a mark here, such as Mazziotti from northern Lazio, which is bringing to this side of the Atlantic a half liter bottle called "Solo per Due." Together with wine we also found a selection of prime extra virgin olive oils, defined by Michele Bungaro from Unaprol (Consorzio Olivicolo Italiano) as a paramount symbol of culinary made in Italy “after all Italian immigrants could replicate wine everywhere they went but they could not transport olive trees, hence they had to bring it from Italy.” He also articulated the concept that American consumers are becoming not only more and more interested in Italian products, but are also becoming more knowledgeable. And the buzz last Monday at Eataly for Vinitaly confirms it. It was a hectic night there, and despite the long line outside the store and the crowded aisles, judging by the smiles of the attendees, it was probably a fun one too.