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

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.”

Wine of Moldova offers a glimpse of the future with its game-changing AI tool

The Moldovan wine industry, following its reception at ProWein, has entered a critical juncture. After the successful unveiling of two wines produced with the support of Artificial Intelligence, key stakeholders will seek further collaboration with the nation’s burgeoning tech and design sectors in the coming years, using innovation to strengthen their global competitiveness.

According to Wine of Moldova, this new landmark AI project involves a strategic partnership between several institutions: the National Office of Vine and Wine, the creative media technology hub, Mediacor, and the Technical University of Moldova. The goal is to set a global precedent for the unification of Artificial Intelligence and human expertise, in addition to facilitating ongoing development via the use of new technologies; $500 million has been earmarked for vineyard expansion, technological innovation, and production capacity.

Robert Joseph, consultant and author, commented: “A changing climate – which means far greater vintage variation as well as higher temperatures – requires innovative solutions. This project gives wine producers access to the nation’s growing AI expertise that could be a game-changer.”

At ProWein this year, a white blend of Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala and Viorica and a red wine Feteasca Neagra were presented to an international audience, both created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence.

The wine industry is essential to Moldova’s economy, contributing around 3% of GDP and 8% of total exports, contributing to the livelihoods of over 50,000 families in rural areas. Premium labels are exported to 72 different countries – 55 percent of the country’s total exports are shipped to the EU.

“Moldova boasts a growing number of small new wineries, with young winemakers, while its larger ones are investing in vineyards and cellar equipment to produce more premium wines,” said Diana Lazar, AI Wine project lead.

Like every other wine-producing country, Moldova faces a range of challenges. However, stakeholders are in a strong position to meet these difficulties head on, taking full advantage of the solutions presented by future tech. A new era of cooperation between winegrowers and digital innovators has begun as Moldova offers valuable lessons for the rest of the world.

Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCDUwK3Nv7A

European Drinks Industry Unveils System For Developing E-Labelling

The CEEV – Européen des Entreprises Vins, and spiritsEUROPE have teamed up with QR code compliance solutions firm Scantrust, to unveil an updated version of the U-label labelling platform.

According to the groups, the strategic partnership will facilitate the easy creation of e-labels for both the wine, aromatised wine and spirits drinks.

The U-label by Scantrust aims to simplify compliance with the new EU labeling regulations for wineries in a cost-effective manner. Additionally, it assists spirits producers in advancing the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on consumer information, which was adopted in June 2019.

Empower Wine Producers
“When we conceived U-label, our goal was to empower European wine producers large and small with an affordable turnkey solution for navigating the new labeling regulations,” commented Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, CEEV Secretary General.

“This partnership with Scantrust represents a significant milestone in achieving that goal.”

In a statement, CEEV and spiritsEUROPE expressed their commitment to continue supporting and contributing their expertise in the wine and spirits industries to the U-label initiative.

The new U-label by Scantrust platform meets EU Regulation 2021/2117 requirements, including recent clarifications by the European Commission.

Comprehensive Information
“As European spirits producers, we are progressing fast in providing comprehensive, easily accessible consumer information via e-labels in combination with energy-information on-pack,” said Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE.

U-label will allow spirits producers large and small to roll out state-of-the-art digital labelling solutions together with an experienced and reliable partner.

Wines of South Africa Export Report 2023: Positive Value Growth, Despite Challenging Global Economy

The year 2023 will undoubtedly be remembered by the world’s wine fraternity as one of the most challenging.

This rings true in the context of South African wine exports as well, with volume declines of 17%, resulting in total export volumes of 306 million litres. The silver lining for South African producers can be seen in positive value growth of total exports to a respectable US$540 million (R10 billion), despite the volume decline.

Harvest 2023 saw production volumes decline by 14%, a scenario echoed by the OIV report which highlights smaller harvests globally for the year, however, the realities of excessive stocks in both northern and southern hemisphere producing countries, has had an adverse effect on pricing on the whole. This can especially be seen at the lower- and entry level segment of the wine markets where trading is particularly competitive and pricing within this commodity sector leading to a ripple effect throughout the value chain.

Despite these challenges, South African wines are still making waves internationally with continuous positive recognition from critics such as Tim Atkin, MW in his latest South African report and Anthony Mueller’s latest report on the Wine Advocate platform. It is this reputation for top quality wines that seem to be setting South African wines apart from many of our counterparts and fueling the positive premium growth trajectory.

“The consistent positive ratings and accolades achieved by South African wines has most certainly solidified our positioning in international markets. Quality remains our focus and the consistency that we have seen, along with viticultural improvements, embracing new technologies both in the vineyards and cellars, will allow for the continued upward trajectory in this regard. This is why buyers remain confident in their support of our wines,” comments Wines of South Africa CEO, Siobhan Thompson.
She adds, “Thanks to our unique terroir, our producers are known for making wines that are unique and representative of our rainbow nation.”

In addition to this, wine tourism in South Africa is projected to have further bolstered growth, adding to the overall sustainability of particularly the small and medium sized entities.
In an upcoming report following a wine tourism impact study (due for release on 1 February 2024), preliminary figures have shown exponential growth in numbers and turnover at cellar doors, with full recovery following the Covid pandemic. This growth can be accounted for by both local and international visitors to the Cape winelands.

South African white wine continues to win the popularity contest with Sauvignon Blanc leading the charge, followed by Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. All three cultivars also showing solid value growth. On the red wine side of things, Shiraz takes the lead, closely followed by Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Producers continue to face several localised challenges. One of the main issues is the ongoing infrastructure and equipment challenges at the Port of Cape Town, which has had a major impact on all products and commodities that are heavily reliant on this harbour.

Newly formed wine industry body, South Africa Wine, together with exporters, are continuously engaging with port authorities and have taken a proactive approach in finding ways to support producers in this regard. However, a long-term strategy needs to be implemented to truly negate and ultimately correct these challenges.

“Order fulfilment is key in the international wine business and we cannot allow delays due to a below-standard logistical performance to tarnish our reputation as a reliable supplier of quality wine,” says Christo Conradie, stakeholder engagement, market access and policy manager at South Africa Wine.

“Transnet (Port of Cape Town) is a crucial enabler to ensure we deliver on our global promise and we have the undertaking that Transnet will step up to the mark, focusing on the controllables via a collaborative effort. Notwithstanding some real logistical challenges, we are confident for the future and are committed to honouring all agreements.”

There is no doubt that 2024 will continue to see challenges for the South African, and indeed, the global wine industries as geopolitical pressures will continue to play a major role in the world economy. Despite this, South Africa and the South African wine industry remains open for business and the export of South African wine remains a major focus.

For more information, visit www.wosa.co.za