Naples, Wine Capital
"The Southern Roots: The Wines of the Future"
Press Room "Prima Pagina" - June 9, 2004
The event, organized by the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers (Italian Association of Sommeliers, or AIS), and dedicated to Italian wines produced in the souther regions of the peninsula, was introduced by actress Carole Bouquet and actor Franco Nero.
Rewarded three wineries from Campania, one from Apulia and two from Sicily.
The message delivered by the event is clear, and it's shared by all the participants: sommeliers, producers, enologists and wine associations. Italian wines from the southern regions of Italy are going through a golden period of grace. In fact, they are being acclaimed worldwide. Their positive image is leading a revival of all the southern industries on the national and international markets alike, first of all the tourist and agricultural sectors, which are the most intertwined with the wine industry.
"Le radici del Sud: i vini del futuro", or "The Southern Roots: The Wines of the Future"", was organized on July, 1st in Naples, by the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers (Italian Association of Sommeliers, or AIS) in collaboration with ERSAC (Ente Regionale di Sviluppo Agricolo Campania, or Regional Board for Agricultural Development of the Campania Region), and Naples' Regional and Provincial administrations. The major southern wine producers met at the Hotel Excelsior for a wine tasting open to the public, while the wine professional gatherd in a separate room to discuss the future of the enological industry in southern and central Italy.
"Italian wines from the south are the protagonists af a true rinaissance. Along with our typical food products they are the worldwide Italian enogastgronomic ambassadors", said AIS national president Terenzio Medri.
Enologists explained that the secret to this renaissance is the return to their most authentic regional products and traditions. The huge heritage of local grapes contribute unicity to the wines and reflect the characteristics af specific territories and the local cultures. As a result, the wines are honest expressions of the land, as well as regional and provincial traditions, as opposed to ephemeral products of passing fashions and hypes. The traditions though, are intelligently interpreted through application modern enological techniques, so that the products reflect local history and gastronomic culture, but avoid the flat repetition of ancient and obsolete production methods.
The results are backing this new expression of local traditions in wine making. Raffaele Beato, ERSAC general director, and Vincenzo Aita, regional coucillor for agricolture, argued that in just 10 years Campania has doubled its DOC and tripled the DOCG wines, mirroring the tendency to deliver higher quality products. Both production and sales have grown well in Campania, reaching an average production of 2 million hectoliters (about 5.3 million gallons), worth 86 million Euros (about $106,173,000) in sales, 10 million (about $12,345,000) of which in export.
"In this panorama," added Vincenzo Ricciardi, AIS vice president, "Naples is quickly becoming the central connection for all of the shouthern winemaking industry". A leading position supported by the decision to make this year event the first of a biennal appointment dedicated to the great southern Italian wines. Such decision should please the thousands of visitors who stormed the Partenope Hall of the Excelsior hotel, tasting dozens of great wines in an extravaganza that lasted until after sunset.
Among worldy pleasures, research and territotial culture, the event was opened by French actress Carole Bouquet, who is charmed by Italian southern wines and, actually, produces wines herself on Pantelleria island. Fascinating Carole was sided by actor Franco Nero, who has become a worldwide Italian wine ambassador of sort and, because of this, has been awarded the status of honorary sommelier by AIS.
A well deserved mention was also awarded to the wineries that have most actively promoted worldwide Italian southern quality wines. Three award went to the Mastroberardino, Mustilli, Cantine Grotta del Sole wineries from Campania, one to the Leone de Castris winery from Apulia, and two to Planeta and Donnafugata wineries from Sicily.