Imagine a trip encompassing Europe’s iconic wine regions. Tasting wine and conversing with some of the continent’s most driven and visionary winemaking talent. Visiting dynamic cities juxtaposed by isolated hamlets, exploring miles of vineyards some as pampered and manicured as the landscaping at your local country club, others as strange and desolate as if transported from the face of the moon. All of this while enjoying the diverse cuisines, music, culture and art that this epic land has in abundance.
Now cram this entire experience into a trip that’s barely a week long!
To be objective, you can insert the name of any great wine region worldwide here, be it Burgundy in France or Napa Valley, for example. It doesn’t matter. Fast paced business junkets are typical and just the nature of the beast. Sometimes it can feel a little bit like training for a track and field event. Because we’re often on a producers tight schedule, it’s common to be out the hotel at the crack of dawn and at a winery somewhere by sun-up tasting wine. We might visit two wineries by lunch and then have that meal with a handful of winemakers. In the afternoon, we could visit two more wineries before having dinner with, you guessed it, another set of winemakers. Or skip dinner and attend a large trade event with many wineries from a particular region. And this can continue through the late hours of the evening. By the time we return to the hotel there’s barely time to check in with family stateside, get a little sleep and reset for the sprint that’s coming the next day.
Sometimes it might a full day of travel over great distances, which can challenge you in a completely different way. I’m not complaining, mind you. There are many in people in the world that would gladly switch places with me because what I do! They’re out of luck though, as I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Over the years, you get used to the pace and live for the push and shove of it.
Besides, there’s a means to an end here. You get to meet some amazing people in the wine industry and I feel it’s a privilege and duty to bring these producers to the attention of our valued guests, one marvelous, thought-provoking sip of wine at a time.
At ABCFWS, we literally search throughout Wine Country to bring the very best wines to the Florida market. In fact, we’re there right now! Members of our wine staff arrived in Milan yesterday on a tour of Northern Italy with Nadia Galati of Alberello Imports.
Certainly there’ll be plenty more to report about here. Look for coming blog posts from wine consultants Garry Tatum, Roland Gigandet, Dan Eddy and Scott Carter plus additional anecdotes from Ken Amendola and myself.
Jim Greeley, Wine Supervisor, SW Florida