[ September 27, 2004 ]
The Wines of Italy—so much more than just wine!
It’s definitely worth repeating—the wines of Italy are so much more than a delectable drink for us to savour! They are a true expression of their land and people. They are the embodiment of the entire region in which they were born. As such, it is now our duty—we, the enlightened wine aficionados—to be attentive and respectful enough to discover all of this richness and authenticity with every sip.

This is a reality that the Italian wine culture wants us to be fully aware of—a reality without which Italian wines risk fading away, mercilessly crushed by globalization. The only real safeguard against such a horrible fate? Promoting the specifities of Italian wine. And no one is in a better position than Italy to do so! These wines, contained within the bottles that you place upon your tables, do not stand alone. They have not been tied off from their roots. It is quite the opposite, in fact. The wonderful wines sing the praises of their homes—and what a glorious song it is!

They sing of their homelands, their terroirs (soil and climate), each one unique. They sing of the hands that have raised and created them. They boldly and proudly celebrate their differences, their singularity, the originality of their history, the beauty of the landscape, the culinary and artistic traditions of their land, of their regions, of the very earth from which they were created. They are, in a word, the true embodiment of their cultural heritage.

On a global wine-producing scene that is growing increasingly homogenous—one where the palette of tastes seems restricted to so-called “quality” varieties (Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, …)—and where any relationship to the terroir is often artificial, Italy has taken the initiative to preserve and promote a diversity that, after all, is its natural and cultural heritage.

Italy: a mosaic of cultures and flavours

Italy’s tremendous diversity is evidenced in its landscape and climate which transports one from the glaciers of Trentino-Alto Adige to the sub-tropical vegetation of Sicily through to the sweeping plains of Tuscany. The diversity of the numerous cultural influences brought by renowned civilizations such as the Greeks, Etruscans, Romans, Arabs, Germanophones, Normans, to cite but a few, make Italy a true mosaic of languages and dialects as well as of traditions—culinary or otherwise. A diversity such as this cannot help but be evidenced in the country’s wines.

A thousand and one native grape varieties

Let’s start with a look at Italy’s countless native grape varieties. Did you know that some one thousand varieties have been identified throughout the country? That 400 are required, recommended or authorized for the creation of wine in all of Italy’s vineyards? That some of these varieties only exist in Italy? Aglianico, Grignolino, Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Fiano, Garganega… these are varieties without which Italian wines would simply cease to be!*

* Information taken from Nouveau guide des vins italiens, written by Jacques Orhon and published by Les Editions de l’Homme in 2002.

Wines unlike any other in the world

And because it is the fruit of the intimate collaboration that has existed between mankind and his land for thousands of years, Italian wine is a true expression of the history, culture, gastronomy and way of life of its region of origin.

So, when you pour yourself a glass of Sangrantino de Montefalco, you are preparing not only to enjoy the unique nectar of a vine variety found only in Umbria, you are also awaiting to embark on a fantastic journey—a stroll along the banks of the Tevere or by the shores of Lake Trasimeno, or perhaps the discovery of flamboyant Perugia and its magnificent ruins. And, for a taste of completely sublime harmony, you may decide to pair this prestigious wine with a traditional Umbrian dish such as truffle lentils or goose stew!

… All of this makes Italian wines among the most unique in the world.

In the image of the wines of Italy

This is a truth so absolutely wonderful that it was made into an illustration that would allow the message to be easily shared. Hence, a new advertising approach was introduced in an effort to let people take a “voyage” to Italy through the country’s unique and exquisite wines.

Keep an eye out for the following publications: La Sélection Chartier 2005 (available in October), Vins & Vignobles (available October 29), FOOD & DRINK (available November 10) or click here to see the ad.

print article


back to articles

©2007 All rights reserved. Italian Trade Commission
Trade Promotion Section of the Consulate General of Italy