Small wines grow
If there is an area in the wine world where Italy is truly in the forefront it is in its great number local wines that are of good when not excellent quality. I can think of over a hundred of them between those classified either controlled designation of origin (DOC) or typical geographic indication (IGT) including some authentic gems many of which were only invented in recent years. What’s more, up until a couple of decades ago areas like Etna, Valle Isarco, some zones of Sardinia, Montecucco, Boca and even Roero were basically unknown but have now come into the limelight thanks to individual producers or small groups of winemakers who knew how to give value to their wines and territory. Some examples include Giuseppe Russo, Francesco Sedilesu, Gunther Kerschbaumer, Cristoph Kunzli and Walter Massa. They and others are authentic pioneers, great craftsmen of the vineyard who made their mark to the benefit of the areas they work as well as their fellow colleagues there by enhancing the value of the zone’s wines. In other words, they created something greater than themselves and beyond just gaining fame and recognition. There are many other examples and one needs to just focus on a single town or area and the names come out: Marco Carpineti in Cori, in the region of Lazio; Maria Cuomo in Furore, in Campania; Edi Kante in the Carso area in the province of Trieste; Luigi Viola in Saracena, Calabria; Ottaviano Lambruschi in Liguria’s Colli di Luni; and Salvatore Geraci in Messina. They are all founding founders of their small wine homelands who with tiny masterpieces have enriched the Italian wine scene and made themselves known to wine lovers the world over. All this is well and nice but the fact is that still today too many consumers do not know their achievements nor their wines and along with this being a shame there is also a danger. If we want these small wines to continue to grow it is essential that they are not trampled upon by globalization or diminished by the term ‘excellence’, often over used by politicians. These wines and their producers, on the other hand, can contribute to creating a dynamic image for Italian wine, one that includes the great producers and wine cooperatives as well as many small craftsmen who together compose such a rich, assorted an unequaled wine reality.