Thanks for a great Vinitaly!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our stand to taste and meet this year in Verona!

It was another great Vinitaly. Looking forward to next year.

Villa Sandi acquires leading Friulian winery Borgo Conventi

We look forward to seeing you at Vinitaly in Verona this year, April 7-10! Please come and taste with us in Hall C, Stand E4.

This week, Villa Sandi announced its purchase of the Borgo Conventi estate, one of Friuli’s most venerated wineries and prized properties.

Founded in 1975 by Gianni Vescovo, the estate includes 30 hectares planted to vine in the Collio and Isonzo DOCs and currently produces 300,000 bottles per year.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Borgo Conventi to our family,” said Villa Sandi owner Giancarlo Moretti Polegato (above) in a statement. “It’s a top estate and it’s been managed with skill and passion by the Folonari family,” who bought it 2001.

The Moretti Polegato family plans to improve the estate’s sustainability.

“We’re well aware that the future depends on sustainability and care for the environment,” said Giancarlo, “and so we are planning to implement the same low-impact farming practices that have allowed Villa Sandi to obtain Biodiversity Friend certification.”

The winery will continue to be managed independently although Villa Sandi will distribute the wines.

The name of the estate — Borgo Conventi, meaning “convent hamlet” — dates back to the 17th century when a local land owner donated it to Dominican friars on the condition that they build a monastery there.

Verona, a UNESCO Heritage designated city

We look forward to seeing you at Vinitaly in Verona this year, April 7-10! Please come and taste with us in Hall C, Stand E4.

Next week, thousands of wine professionals from across the world will gather in Verona for Vinitaly, the annual wine trade fair. It’s the biggest and most important event in the Italian wine industry.

The four-day fair gives Italian winemakers the opportunity to connect with domestic as well as foreign buyers, international and local media, and key players in the trade.

For foreigners, it represents a unique opportunity to taste new vintages and new releases from producers from all of Italy’s 20 regions.

But one of the most exciting things about the fair is the host city itself: Verona, a UNESCO Heritage designated township and one of the most beautiful places on earth (see the Wikipedia entry for Verona here).

Shakespeare set two of his plays there, including “Romeo and Juliet” (that’s Juliet’s balcony in the photo above).

It’s also home to one of the most well preserved Roman arenas, the famed Arena di Verona where classical, pop, and rock concerts are still held regularly and where some of Italy’s most famous opera productions are mounted.

The history and culture of Verona is as rich as the city is beautiful. There’s even an unparalleled literary legacy there: Dante “found his first refuge” in Verona after he was exiled by the city of Florence for his political activism.

Unfortunately, many trade members are so busy with the fair, tastings, and meetings that they don’t take the time out to enjoy this magical place — one of the world’s greatest artistic and cultural treasures.

No matter how busy you are at this year’s fair, be sure to take time out for a stroll in Piazza Bra (where the arena is located) and in Piazza delle Erbe, one of the most gorgeous squares in all of Europe.

You won’t regret it!

Taste Villa Sandi at Vinitaly with leading Italian wine critic Daniele Cernilli

We look forward to seeing you at Vinitaly in Verona this year, April 7-10! Please come and taste with us in Hall C, Stand E4.

On Sunday, April 7 (the first day of the Vinitaly trade fair in Verona), leading Italian wine writer and critic Daniele Cernilli (above) will be pouring Villa Sandi Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta for his seminar on sparkling wines.

It’s one not to miss! It’s a great opportunity to taste one of Villa Sandi’s flagship wines with one of the top Italian wine experts in the world.

Click here for info and registration details.

Taste with Villa Sandi at Vinitaly April 7-10

We look forward to seeing you at Vinitaly in Verona this year, April 7-10!

Please come and taste with us in Hall C, Stand E4.

Click here for more info.

Prosecco producers concerned about Brexit as deadline looms

With just 10 days to go before the Brexit deal deadline arrives, it’s looking less and less likely that British lawmakers will agree on a plan exit the European Union with a new trade agreement in place (see this Politico article, posted today).

As a result, it’s not clear what’s going to happen for Italian winemakers once the March 29 deadline has passed. And it’s looking increasingly likely that imports of Italian wine will be blocked — at least in the short term.

According to an article published last week in The Drinks Business (“Is Prosecco Losing Its Sparkle?” by Lauren Eads), the United Kingdom is the largest market for Prosecco in the world, accounting for nearly one in two bottles of Prosecco shipped outside Italy (unfortunately, the article is available only to subscribers and has not yet appeared on the masthead’s website; we’ll publish a link as soon as it does and in the meantime, we highly encourage you to read it).

In 2018, England imported nearly 122 million bottles of Prosecco according to the author (her source is Coldiretti, the Italian Farming Confederation, which includes fine wine grape growers). Compare that with the roughly 69 million bottles imported to the United States.
Continue reading “Prosecco producers concerned about Brexit as deadline looms”

Thank you Folio

Before we get back to the business of blogging about Veneto culture and what makes Prosecco DOCG so great, we would like to to take a moment out to thank Folio Fine Wine Partners, our U.S. importer.

That’s the Tri-State Folio team, above, at the New York Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting last week (the event’s 30th anniversary).

At each one of the recent Gambero Rosso events in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (where Villa Sandi was pouring its Prosecco Cartizze Vigna la Rivetta DOCG, this year’s Tre Bicchieri winner), the Folio team was there helping to pour and interacting with wine buyers, restaurateurs, media, and consumers.

Whenever you travel to do “market work” or pour at trade and consumer tastings in the U.S., it’s so important to have support on the ground and to be accompanied by colleagues who “know the lay of the land” and all the key players in each city.

Throughout the tour, the Folio team was there and ready to pour and schmooze!

Founded by California legacy winemaker Michael Mondavi and his family, the Napa-based Folio Fine Wine Partners imports wines from six countries and three continents.

Across the board, the Folio team represents the brightest and the best in American wine professionals. And we couldn’t have been more happy or pleased to be accompanied and supported by such a wonderful group of top American wine professionals.

Their presence and help was key to the success of each event and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. We also had the opportunity to spend time with some of the sales managers and representatives after each tasting and we would also like to thanks for the extra time, after hours, that they were able and willing to devote to us.

It couldn’t have been a richer or more fruitful experience and we couldn’t have done it without them.

Thank you, Folio! We’ll look forward to seeing you in a few weeks in Verona at Vinitaly, the Italian wine industry’s annual trade tasting and fair.

Thank you Gambero Rosso New York for 30 great years!

One of the most exciting things about pouring at this year’s Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting in New York City was that this year marked 30 years (!!!) since the very first Gambero Rosso event there.

When Gambero Rosso senior editor Marco Sabellico took the mic and addressed the already packed room just 30 minutes after the doors were opened and guests begin to file in, you could feel the emotion in the air as he remembered his first visit to New York with the guide.

It’s incredible to think how much perceptions of Italian wine have changed since that time.

Before the Italian food and wine renaissance began to take shape in the late 1990s, Americans scarcely knew Italian wines beyond Valpolicella, Soave, Chianti, and Salice Salentino.

Super Tuscans were just beginning to get the attention of a handful of top collectors and Prosecco was just making its first appearance on the horizon.

Today, Italian wine is firmly established as one of Americans’ favorite categories and their perceptions and interests span a wide spectrum of Italian native grape varieties and appellations.

The Gambero Rosso and its editors played such an important role in that evolution.

Thank you, Marco, and thank you, Gambero Rosso, for all you have done for Italian wine in the U.S.!

And thank you to all the members of the press and trade members who came out to taste with Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto, the Folio team, and our English-language blogger Jeremy Parzen.

It was a fantastic turnout and the brio in the air reflected the celebratory nature of the occasion.

Villa Sandi pours Prosecco Cartizze La Rivetta at Gambero Rosso Chicago

Not only did tasters get the opportunity to taste Villa Sandi’s Prosecco Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta DOCG at yesterday’s Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting in Chicago, but they were also offered a complimentary glass of the estates Prosecco “Il Fresco” as they arrived at the venue.

And then, when they stepped on to the elevator that took them up to walk-around tasting, their eyes were treated to sweeping landscape photos of Venice and the Cartizze sub-zone of the Prosecco DOCG (above).

Presenting three wines from the winery, Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto and the estate’s English-language blogger Jeremy Parzen were joined by importer Folio’s regional team for the midwest.

More than 350 food and wine professionals and food and wine writers attended the packed event. And many of them commented on what an unexpected and welcomed surprise it was to be offered a glass of Prosecco as they arrived on a frigid Chicago afternoon.

Flavio and Jeremy are headed to New York today to pour and speak at the Gambero Rosso event there tomorrow. We hope to see you there!

Click here for event details and registration (still open).

Taste Villa Sandi at Gambero Rosso tastings with export director Flavio Geretto

Villa Sandi export director Flavio Geretto will be pouring the winery’s Tre Bicchieri (Three Glass) winner Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Vigna La Rivetta next week at the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tastings in Chicago (Wednesday, February 27) and New York (Friday, March 1).

Click here for event details and registration (still open).

Flavio, who grew up in Veneto not far from where Villa Sandi grows and makes its wines, is one of the industry’s leading experts on Prosecco production (and he’s also one of the nicest and most gregarious people working in the Italian wine business today).

He’ll be joined by our English-language blogger, Jeremy Parzen, author of the critically acclaimed blog Do Bianchi.

The two of them will be pouring and speaking about Villa Sandi’s wines and Prosecco in general. It’s sure to be a fascinating conversation.

We hope to see you next week in Chicago or New York!

The Carnival of Venice begins tomorrow! What’s the origin of the name “carnevale”?

The Carnival of Venice begins tomorrow! Click here for more info on events and travel resources etc. The following is a piece by our blog master, Jeremy Parzen, a scholar of Italian literature specialized in the history of the Italian language. Enjoy!

No one knows the true origins of the Carnevale of Venice.

We do know that the festival began in the high middle ages, probably in the 1100s.

And it’s likely that its beginnings were related to ancient pagan traditions that called for a time of feasting when winter ended and the hard work of spring began.

Those same traditions later expressed themselves in Judeo-Chirstian rituals.

The Passover, for example, was a spring festival that can probably trace its roots to a pagan celebration of spring.

Easter is the Christian expression of that same tradition: Jesus’ Last Supper, it is widely believed, was a Passover seder.

The Carnevale always ends on Strove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

For Christians, Lent is a period when “something is given up,” a time when many devout Christians fast and in the case of practicing Catholics, they give up the consumption of meat.

For this reason, many believe that the name Carnevale is derived from or is a corruption of the Latin carnem levare, literally, the removing of flesh [meat], although no hard evidence exists to support this claim, however likely it may be.
Continue reading “The Carnival of Venice begins tomorrow! What’s the origin of the name “carnevale”?”

“Top-Class Prosecco.” Will Lyons (Times) recommends Villa Sandi for Valentine’s Day

“The trick to really enjoying Valentine’s Day: do it yourself,” writes Will Lyons for the London Sunday Times (February 10, 2019). “Stay in, tackle that ambitious recipe you’ve had your eye on since January and share a bottle of something special. There are plenty of options. I’m thinking of a gentle glass of Prosecco, produced in the shadow of Venice.”

“If there’s one night you can indulge in a top-class Prosecco, this is it. Villa Sandi [Prosecco DOCG Millesimato 2017], from grapes grown on hillsides in Veneto — an hour’s drive from the world’s most romantic city — is delicate and pale, with notes of acacia, white flowers and crunchy apples.”

Click here for fact sheet.

Click here for Lyons’ recommendations for Valentine’s Day 2019 (subscribers only).