As a wine journalist, I'm fortunate to get to travel to wine regions all over the world on a regular basis. Sometimes I'm judging in international wine competitions, other times, I'm on PRESS or FAM (Familiarization) trips organized by Trade Commissions of countries, wine regions and other related associations. These travels also include trips to attend international wine trade fairs like Vinitaly (Italy), Vinexpo (France), London Wine Fair (UK) and Prowein (Germany).
Huge, international shows like these, with massive attendance, are great venues because producers from all over the world are there under one roof. For agents and distributors, it allows them to meet up with their suppliers and producers without having to travel to their individual countries to do business with them. For restaurateurs, hoteliers and other licensees, it acts as a buying trip where they can stroll around tasting product from all over the globe and purchase it for their establishments. For journalists like myself, it also provides a great opportunity to meet producers and taste product from all over the world for writing and broadcasting purposes, again without traveling to different countries. During these fairs there are all kinds of special events taking place for the PRESS: tastings, lectures, lunches, dinners, side trips to wine regions, etc. Many of these shows actually host their own wine competitions, of which I often judge.
Italy is one of many countries I travel to quite often. It hosts one of the largest of these wine fairs in the world, Vinitaly, held every April in beautiful Verona. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to Vinitaly this year, 2011, as I was tied up with other business. However, a writer from Degusta Magazine (www.degusta.it), a well-known, Italian wine and food lifestyle publication with an internet and television presence, contacted me requesting an interview. They wanted my thoughts on the Italian wine industry for their March issue just in time for Vinitaly. I was honoured that they chose to place me on the cover.