First time visitor to your favorite Wine Emporium: “So, you guys sell a lot of Italian Wine…I don’t really like Italian wine…” Our retort: “That’s ok because there’s really no such thing as Italian wine anyway.” Say WHAT?!?! What we DO offer are hundreds of different styles of wine made from scores of different grapes grown in vineyards with locations ranging from steep Alpine slopes on the Swiss and Austrian borders through the broad plains of the Po Valley all the way to a volcanic tropical island not far from Tunisia, resulting in wines that have nothing at all in common with one another other than which government they pay their taxes to (or not!).
Geographic, geologic, viticultural and climatic differences between the thousands of wine producing zonas aside (and they are VAST), what we consider “Italy” is a very recent invention in historic terms. The boundaries we use now date from the founding of the current republic in 1946 and parts of Friuli and all of Trentino / Alto Adige were not “Italian” until 1919. In broader historic terms, Venice was an independent City State for centuries, with holdings in both the modern day Veneto and coastal Slovenia and Croatia, only becoming part of Italy in 1866, while your favorite Barolo producers’ great great grandfathers were not “Italian” but subjects of The Kingdom of Sardinia, Cyprus and Jerusalem, Duchy of Savoy & Montferrat and Principality of Piedmont.! What are now some of our go-to regions for both fun, food friendly wines and incredible value for money, Puglia, Sicily, Calabria and Campania, were all part of the original Greek colonization of the peninsula called Magna Graecia (Greater Greece), which existed for centuries before there WERE any Romans let alone an “Italy” and those Greek cultural roots are still readily apparent in the dialects, architecture and wines of those zonas.
So, what’s our point? Simple: We don’t sell “Italian Wine”, we offer an insane diversity of styles of wine that happen to come from what, for this moment in history, is called Italy. And, like “African Music”, “European Art” or “Chinese Food”, the wines of Italy are a virtually endless field ripe for exploration, contemplation and enjoying with friends. Cheers!