The Essential Guide in times of Covid 19
Compiling the guide is an arduous task but we are working on it full-speed. If it will not be possible to organize a tasting for its presentation (in Milan October 3-4), we will offer a lot of seminars.
Compiling our wine guide this year has been decidedly complicated for us and for everyone involved. Producer associations are resuming their activities and the collaboration they have offered has been decisive and very important, as have been all the tasting previews that took place before the lockdown in March. Many wines were tasted on these occasions and we were able to already collect hundreds of reviews ahead of time, to the extent that almost half the guide was ready and is in the process of being translated.
Among our staff, part of the work was done remotely and many reviews were “elaborated” and never more than this year has it been done so carefully. I, obviously, would like to thank all those who have worked so hard and all our collaborators involved in an effort that was decidedly more complicated than before.
This time around we had to request more samples than usual, especially for certain regions, as opposed to our established practice of preferring to taste wines at public and preview events. But then this year none of the important trade fairs were staged: Vinitaly and Prowein, for example, while the Decanter Wine World Award was organized using only judges resident in Britain. Thus there were many fewer occasions to sample and compare wines and we had to come up with alternative solutions. This did not result in a flood of requests for samples and when and where possible we continued to not ask producers directly for their wines, which was true for some 80% of the wines.
Another problem, in no way small, was the fact that some estates still have their wines from last year, having been unable to sell them due to the reduction in sales venues. In these cases, we decided to include them again in the guide because it would have been unjust and unfair not to. If one is compiling a publication dedicated to consumers, then the wines selected need to be those that a consumer can find on the market or soon after the guide comes out. A small percentage of the upcoming guide will thus include wines tasted and reviewed in the previous edition. This will make it more useful for consumers and wine lovers and is an act of collaboration with those producers that will still have these wines available for many months to come. For us it is also a way to lend them a hand.
The presentation is still set for October 3-4, in Milan, and we really hope it will take place because it would also be a sign that things are returning to normal. However, we have also come up with a “Plan B”. Should it not be possible to stage our usual “crowd tasting” for reasons you can imagine, we will organize a series of seminars with the wines from participating producers. A slew of seminars conducted by our collaborators with hundreds of wines and participants all respecting a proper distance between them. They will be staged at different times over a two-day period in abidance with the regulations and common sense. This is the least we could do. For sure this will all be a bit sad, we being aware of the tragedies that have taken place, but if we all work together and roll up our selves we can be on the move again. This will not be easy nor immediate, but we must try.