A Taste of Umbria: The Wines From Orvieto

F. G. (July 17, 2012)
The traditional Orvieto wines produced by Le Velette winery were presented on July 12 at the Italian Trade Commission. Imported by AgriLand, an Italian-American import-export company that recently inaugurated its Bronx showroom, Le Velette wines have been produced in the surroundings of Orvieto by the Bottai family, running the winery for over 150 years. Umbria also has a lot to offer as a touristic destination, and oenogastronomic tours of the region are gaining popularity among the American customers.

On July 12, the Italian Trade Commission hosted a wine tasting of fine Orvieto wines from Umbria, to entice the curiosity of the food, wine and travel industry operators in what the region located in the heart of Italy has to offer to their trade and clients.

The selected winery for the occasion was Le Velette, an historical winery that has been producing wines for 7 generations. Situated on the hill overlooking the city of Orvieto, Le Velette vineyards benefit from a very favorable exposure and from the volcanic mineral soil. 

Le Velette produces traditional white wines, in both the Orvieto and Orvieto Superiore varieties, as well as some traditional Orvieto red wines and new varieties such as Merlot, Grechetto and Sauvignon.  

Corrado Bottai, owner of Le Velette, is pleased to have the chance to step foot in the American market thanks to the support of the Italian Trade Commission: “It’s a great way to start,” he tells i-Italy. 

“We want the American clients to get more directly acquainted with our production philosophy that is so deeply influenced by our history,” Bottai adds. “We are respectful of our tradition and we put great attention in research and development, in innovation. We have been making wine for 150 years with great passion.”

Le Velette wines are imported by AgriLand, an Italian-American import-export company that just opened their USA branch last weekend, inaugurating their Bronx location at 2347 Lafayette Avenue. With Agriland, Le Velette launched a new label specifically tailored for the North American market, the “Contessa Adele” label.

Giacomo Maggiaro, corporate partner at AgriLand, explains to i-Italy that “Adele is the name of Corrado’s great-grandmother, suggesting the strong tradition Le Velette embodies. They are an historical winery, they are very competent and organized and this is what motivated us to collaborate with them and help them enter the US market.”

But Umbria is a secret still too well kept among Italians, “especially as far as some of its specialties are concerned, such as wines,” the Director of the Italian Trade Commission Aniello Musella tells i-Italy. “For example, Umbria is still not as established in the wine segment as Piedmont and Tuscany are, and given its great potential there’s much room for improvement.” 

That’s where organizations such as AgriLand have a strategic function, “bringing quality products to the US market and curating the packaging and marketing aspects so that their appeal to the US customers is maximized,” Musella comments.

In order to promote not only the wines from Umbria but a more comprehensive knowledge on what the region itself has to offer, AgriLand started an important partnership with Shop Wine and Dine, a tour operator specialized in oenogastronomic trips to Italy. 

Anna Maria Sorrentino, president of Shop Wine and Dine, is very satisfied with the collaboration: “It has been very successful so far, we tailored these three-nights itineraries for the AgriLand clients that buy wines from Umbria and we believe they will be an incentive to the sales.”

At the wine tasting event, Shop Wine and Dine promoted a special itinerary to discover Orvieto during the Christmas Holidays: “In that time of the year the city hosts the Umbria Jazz Festival, it’s really a magical time,” Sorrentino adds.