Italy: The Future is Now

It seems that The Italians are on a roll! Once again they are back in The States, talking to restaurant and wine shop owners. They are back in the game!

Historically the French and the Italians have accounted for about half of all wine made in the world. And they have consumed about half of that at home. But times are changing. While they develop the youthful palates for the taste of wine, foreign markets tempt the growers and vintners to import a greater portion of the better wines to countries like the U.S., Canada, China and India. Wealthy and emerging economies looking to the premium production. What was once the wine for the home market (in Italy’s case)now is becoming more valuable for trade.

The economy of Italy is slow in this period, and uncertain. And while the U.S. economy is challenged by the unrestrained exuberance of their politicos, the growth of the fine wine drinking population is still a magnet for Italian artisanal wineries. The success of California and France has not gone unnoticed by the likes of Querciabella, Argiano, Ceretto and Allegrini, to name just a few. The young ambassadors are road tripping America in a Kerouac-like manner, but with the purpose of re-establishing their primacy in places like the finer Italian restaurants across the land. Just take a look at wine lists like Babbo and Fiamma in NY, Da Marco of Houston, Trattoria Angelini in Los Angeles and A16 in San Francisco.

The harvest of 2006 may be taking place right now in the vineyards of Italy, but the planting of the future is being done by the young Italian emissaries, crossing the oceans, once again, in search of new world markets.

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Reader Comments

Savvy Italian restaurants having savvy Italian wines is not, er, impressive. When you see these wines in non-Italian restaurants, then you can get excited; too many of those still just have Cal and French wines.

I agree.
We must have the ambassadors, and they are the Italian places.
But yes, I would like Italy to ascend to it’s rightful place in the scheme of things.
Thanks for the comment!

Nice posting and comments. I have to say that the turnaround of Italian wine — from the straw fiasco with candle wax — to a more modern image is progressing fairly well. But Jack is right — Italian wine is still regarded as a category to be paired with Italian cuisine and basta.

Granted, the food of Italy is one of the country’s glories, and no wonder people all over the world are crazy about it. But we must decouple Italian wine from that cuisine or it won’t reach the mass of (American) consumers the way I believe it should.