Campania Stories 2024 – A Memorable Experience

Campania Stories, one of the most significant wine events in southern Italy, took place this year in Sannio on the northern edge of Campania from May 21st to 25th. The 12th edition welcomed wine writers and other trade professionals.

This year was an incredible success with over 90 wineries who submitted their samples to a wide audience of international bloggers, journalists and wine critics. The setting could not be more beautiful as the event consists of a journey through the main wine areas of a region known by visitors for the beautiful Amalfi Coast and the vibrant city of Naples.

Sannio just north of the Naples, the town of Dugenta hosted the event at the luxury resort, Tenute del Gheppio. Producers had the opportunity to present their latest white wines along with their Riservas. Presentation of the 2023 vintage was led by Francesco Martusciello, one of the flying winemakers of the region, at Rocca dei Rettori di Benevento, in cooperation with Assoenologi. Francesco Martusciello emphasized the 2023 vintage trend which was an uneven year with limited production but of very high quality. The whites were a perfect example with their predominant fermentative aromas that will certainly dissipate with time to show the true character of the grape.

We also enjoyed an in-depth journey through Campania to see producers in their element visiting estates in Sannio and Irpinia where they discovered the landscapes of smooth hills, mainly of clay, with expansive vineyards divided by the main rivers of Calore in Irpinia, and Volturno in North Sannio. These visits were made possible in part by the close collaboration of Miriade & Partners headed by Diana Cataldo, Massimo Iannaccone and Serena Valerian.

This is an area known for is great viticulture, since the Roman times when it was known as Campania Felix. A place where Roman heritage is still evident with the discovery of several amphoras and tools for winemaking, but also marked by incredible buildings dating back the 18th century, such as the majestic Carolino aqueduct that dominates the valley as a Unesco Heritage site.

This beautiful corner of Campania shows history, art and culture that are only discovered by venturing off the beaten path, such as Vigna del Ventaglio near Caserta in San Leucio, another UNESCO World Heritage site. The place was already known in the past for high quality silk production, when the Bourbon King Ferdinando IV selected a vineyard in the shape of a fan and divided it into nine sectors, each cultivated with unique grape varieties he loved the most, like Piedimonte Rosso and Bianco, Procopio, Delfino Bianco and Siracusa Rosso, parental vines of the modern ones.

Modern winemaking equipment has been introduced in Campania. For instance, prominent estates have been using high -ech crushing machines and tanks with cooling jackets, and at the same time the wine estate are preserving certain traditional winemaking techniques like the use of amphoras where local grapes such as Greco, Fiano and also Coda di Volpe perform well.

The two-day tasting was a true pleasure for me, with sparkling, whites, reds and rosè from all over Campania, over 200 samples from 90 producers. I focused mostly on the sparkling wines which are showing interesting improvements. While at the beginning, most sparkling wine from Campania was Charmat method from some of the semi-aromatic grapes of the region, mainly Falanghina, but now several traditional method wines are becoming more and more popular with large improvements in terms of quality.

This was definitely a roadshow of the best expression of Campania viticulture and landscape. For a full immersion in this promising growing region, Campania Stories is wine not to be missed. And now I can only wait for the 2025 edition, which will be hosted by the Volcano Vesuvio.

Filippo Magnani

UK Sees Surge in Wine Tourism

WineGB has released its first wine tourism report, revealing a significant surge in visits to UK vineyards and wineries. The recent findings indicate that visits have surged by 55% in the past two years, underscoring the growing popularity of wine tourism in England and Wales.

The report further indicates that 1.5 million people visited UK vineyards and wineries last year, accounting for a quarter of the total income for these establishments. The industry anticipates continued growth and investment, with WineGB forecasting further expansion in the coming years.

WineGB’s 2024 Industry Survey, which captured responses from over 130 members accounting for more than 90% of UK wine production, provides a detailed snapshot of the sector’s forward momentum. The survey reveals that there are currently 300 vineyards and wineries actively engaged in wine tourism.

Among the top activities attracting visitors include:

275 cellar doors and shops
260 guided tours and tastings
103 venues for hire
97 self-guided tours
92 places to stay and eat
38 picnic areas

A notable 42% of inbound visitors expressed high interest in visiting a winery. According to Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB, commented on the report’s findings: “Our Manifesto for Growth identified essential policies for accelerating our sector’s development. Today’s report showcases the immense value and importance of wine tourism in our industry. It’s our call to action for policy changes in tax, planning, and marketing to unlock the full potential of wine tourism and reach 16 million visitors.

An Exclusive Conversation with Maximilian Riedel, CEO and President of Riedel, by Liz Palmer

I am thrilled to conduct an in-person interview with Maximilian Riedel, the visionary CEO and President of Riedel, a company renowned globally for its innovative and high-quality glassware. Under Maximilian’s leadership, Riedel has continued to elevate the art of glassmaking, blending tradition with cutting-edge design to enhance our wine and spirits experience. In this exclusive conversation, Maximilian shares insights into the company’s journey, his personal inspirations, and the future of Riedel in the ever-evolving world of glassware craftsmanship. Let us delve into the mind of a leader who is redefining the way we savor our favorite beverages.

Company Vision and Strategy

Riedel has a long and storied history in the glassware industry. How do you balance tradition with innovation in your role as CEO?

“So, obviously, tradition is for me an orientation, but I see it in my back mirror, and sometimes it’s good and advisable to look into the back mirror, but it should never interfere with the cause of an entrepreneur.

We are in the present, we’re working for the future, and sometimes you also have to break with tradition to bring forward newness and excitement, and that’s exactly what I have been doing over the last 10 to 20 years.

So, I feel like I am in the midst, and I’m doing a good job in balancing them both.”

Product Development and Innovation

How does Riedel approach sustainability and environmental responsibility in its manufacturing processes?

“For us, this, of course, is a very important subject, especially since we live off raw materials, which are natural.

Lately, very challenging for any manufacturer in Europe because the cost for energy and raw materials has gone through the roof, and it’s challenging for us right now.”

Are there any upcoming products or innovations that you are particularly excited about?

“Always, but we remain creative, and every year we bring forward newness, and invest in our technology which allows us to bring forward products which are very unique to the market.”

Market and Industry Trends

How do you see the global market for luxury glassware evolving in the next 5 to 10 years?

“Amazing. I think we have not seen so much development like we did in the past 10 years.

Sadly, it’s coming to a halt because the wine industry is not booming anymore, and because of that, it’s a little bit challenging also for us as glassmakers because we are so connected.”

Personal Insights and Experiences

Growing up in a family business, what are some key lessons you learned from your father and mother?

“From my father and mother …everything, everything.

I’m in the business because of them.

They made it so exciting and so attractive to me that I wanted to join ever since, and the reason why I’m here is because of my parents.”

What motivates you both personally and professionally?

“Well, I’m living the dream.

I mean, who does not want to deal with wine and food and glass every day. I get to travel the world…. I get to meet very interesting people.

Also, thanks to social media, in my little environment, I’ve become a celebrity because of my passion for what I do.”

Future Outlook

What partnerships or collaborations are you currently exploring to expand Riedel’s reach and influence?

“Well, obviously we have a lot of partnerships with wine and champagne houses, but I think we need to look outside of that because we learned from Tiffany and other companies… right now partnerships with other companies, with other brands can be of great benefit so, we’re seeking for that.”

Maximilian Riedel’s Favorites

Let’s dive in and learn about your favorites.

What is your favorite Riedel Collection and why?

“I don’t have one because I love them all, otherwise I would discontinue them. I love them because of what they stand for and whatever comes handy, I use.”

What is your Favorite Decanter and why?

“Definitely the Ridel Eve Decanter, it’s one of many designs that I created… it’s my favorite.”

What is your favorite wine (if you had to choose one) and why?

“Don’t have one….It depends on the situation, depends on the momentum, depends on the people I’m with.

But, if it comes to champagne, I grew up with Dom Pérignon, and for sure it’s a wine I would look at.”

And lastly, my most important question [I also love vintage cars especially sport cars]…whilst your passion for wine runs deep, so does your love for collecting and driving your vintage sports cars on the track, through vineyards and through the European countryside, which car do you favour overall to drive through the vineyards?

Well, it’s similar to wine. I’m fortunate to have a few cars, and it’s also about the situation and the momentum. Cars are like beautiful pairs of shoes. You have one for every occasion, or you should have. I definitely have a passion for Porsche cars, and vintage Porsches with their air-cooled sound it’s very special.”

A Culinary Journey Through Basilicata by Chefs Davide Ciavattella and Ernesto Iaccarino at Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890

On Monday, June 17th, 2024, I had the profound pleasure of indulging in a meticulously curated menu by Chefs Davide Ciavattella and Ernesto Iaccarino at Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890, Toronto.

The restaurant’s design and ambiance were nothing short of exquisite, setting the stage for an unforgettable culinary experience for the invitation-only guests. The evening featured an eight-course dinner paired with exceptional Basilicata wines, all orchestrated by the talented Executive Chef Davide Ciavattella.

The dishes and wines highlighted products from the Basilicata (Vulture-Alto Bradano) region, highlighting exceptional olive oils, wines, cheeses, and the famous peperone crusco all introduced to Canada for the first time by the Local Action Group LUCUS and Citta Del’ Olio. These two esteemed associations, founded in 1994, are dedicated to uniting local producers who uphold the historical, cultural, and environmental values and traditional production methods of the region. The harmonious blend of flavors and the carefully selected wine pairings elevated the dining experience to new heights, celebrating the rich heritage and gastronomic excellence of Basilicata.

For further details: Città dell’Olio (Trmtv.it) (Associazione Nazionale Città dell’Olio) (Associazione Nazionale Città dell’Olio).

Stag’s Leap partners with Cirque du Soleil

Stags’ Leap Winery, one of the oldest and most storied wineries in Napa Valley, and Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, a world leader in artistic entertainment, announced last week an exclusive partnership that will see Stags’ Leap Winery featured at Cirque du Soleil’s United States Big Top Shows for one year beginning next month. The Official Wine of Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows in the United States, Stags’ Leap Winery brings more than 130 years of winemaking tradition to the circus stage.

“Stags’ Leap Winery is named after a mythical stag who eluded capture by leaping into the Palisades mountains located behind our storied winery in the Stags’ Leap District of Napa Valley,” says Brand Director Megan O’Connor. “Our stag is a symbol of courage and freedom, emboldening everyone to explore all that life has to offer in the pursuit of pleasure. I cannot think of a more perfect partner than Cirque du Soleil, whose performances have transformed live entertainment by encouraging all of us to dream the unimaginable.”

In addition to concessions serving Stags’ Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, there will be a Stags’ Leap Winery lounge, in select cities. As part of the partnership, audience members can also expect to see Stags’ Leap Winery on multimedia branding throughout each venue, as well as in collaborative social content promoted across both brands’ social media channels.

“We are excited to welcome Stags’ Leap Winery as a partner with Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows and look forward to our United States Big Top fans experiencing the premium wine offerings on-site,” says Lauren Hart, Head of Partnership Strategy at Cirque du Soleil.

For the official list of show dates and locations, please visit cirquedusoleil.com

To learn more about Stag’s Leap: stagsleap.com