One of the joys of being involved in a wine store is having the opportunity to attend trade events. These events are usually held once or twice a year by most distributors. Often there are several hundred wines to sample, from value wines at $10 to trophy wines priced at $100 or more. Better than a trade event is an educational seminar. These seminars are priceless opportunities to learn about wine and how better to appreciate them.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on Barolos and Brunello di Montalcino. This was conducted by one of Ohio’s only Master Sommeliers. I have been to other classes taught by Matt and he is extremely knowledgeable and even more humble. We got to sample four examples of each wine and he pointed out the differences between the different sub-regions for each wine. We were also given marketing tips, such as acreage of these regions versus Bordeaux and Napa Valley. We were shown how this information could be used to show the value of Brunello and Barolos even though they have gone up substantially in price in recent years. It was pointed out that although these wines hail from much smaller regions and have substantially smaller production numbers, they are still much less expensive than many Bordeaux and high-end Cabernets.
We were able to sample another seventy-five Italian wines after the seminar. Some of these were presales for new vintages. We were able to meet winemaker Valter Fissore from Elvio Cogno and sample five of his wines and I was able to revisit a number of wines that I have already brought into the store. Additionally, I found some neat new wines that I will be bringing into the store later this summer.
As summer moves into fall most of the larger distributors will be having their holiday show, which give them an opportunity to show off wines for the holidays. I was able to go to these last year and am looking forward to going again this year. They often will bring in winemakers or principals from the wineries they handle. This gives me an chance to get first hand information about many of the wines I carry. I can get interesting stories about the development of some wines or the thinking behind a label change. It is always a treat to meet some of the Icons 0f the wine world and to realize they are just like the rest of us. I love attending these for my own enjoyment, but always try to come away with something in which my customers would be interested.
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