The first edition of the Great100 Terroir Wineries and Wines of Italy was held at the St.Regis Hotel in Shanghai on the weekend of July 8-9. Co-organized by TasteSpirit, one of China’s leading wine media and education companies and the Shanghai United Media Group, a Chinese leader in Omnimedia and one of the biggest owners of newspapers and dailies, websites and social media channels, gave Chinese wine lovers and wine professionals the opportunity not just to taste many delicious Italian wines, but perhaps more importantly, many that are not yet imported into China.
Sixty-two estates from all over Italy were featured at this year’s Great100 Italy, but more importantly roughly twenty were not accepted for participation, as their wines were not felt to meet the standard of the show. Wineries such as Alois Lageder, Barone Pizzini, Benanti, Brigaldara, Casalfarneto, Castello di Ama, Cogno, Donnafugata, Fantinel, Fuligni, Giuseppe Cortese, Marchese di Gresy, Marramiero, Masi, Planeta, Tedeschi, and Viberti attended often with the owner, the winemaker or export director present at the stand. Visitors from all over China attended, though clearly the majority of the public was made up by somms, importers and KOLs based in Shanghai, who mingled and tasted alongside wine-loving public (the Saturday morning was reserved for professionals mostly). Four different masterclasses featuring about twelve wines each and devoted to the: Wines of Northern Italy; Barbaresco and Barolo; The Wines of Northern and Central Italy; and The Wines of Central and Southern Italy were also organized (two on each day). These were sold-out with over sixty people in attendance each. The masterclasses were all co-led by Ian D’Agata and his other TasteSpirit colleagues Miao Echo Zhow, Zhu Siwei, and Zihong Zhang who also did the translating from English into Chinese. Attendees were enthusiastic: Emanuele Restelli, Head Sommelier of da Vittorio Shanghai, the restaurant that won the 2023 Great 100 Italy Wine List of the Year award, said that “ …this was an absolutely unique Italian wine event, like nothing organized in the city before”. Francesco Davico, Export Manager of Viberti added: “It had been years since I had similar vibes from a wine event in China: well done everybody!” Paolo Clemente, Export Director of Paolo Saracco and a few other Italian wineries, said: “Amazing and high class event!” and Andrea Piccin of Grifalco concluded “I and many others here are looking forward to next year!”
The event may have lasted two days, but in fact it began the week before and carried over after the weekend was done, with brisk business being done in many of the city’s wine bars and restaurants. Over at the ROMA restaurant, one of Shanghai’s current dining hotspots, owner Gianpaolo Roma was busy getting to know winemakers and export directors attending the weekend show, such as for example Paolo Clemente, Export Director of Piedmont’s Paolo Saracco winery (perhaps not so arguably Italy’s best producer of Moscato d’Asti) and also organizing a mega-lunch with the outstanding estates and wines of La Rivolta, Grifalco, Sesta di Sopra and Tiberio, with the owners and winemakers attending and presenting their wines to some of Shanghai’s leading KOLs, somms and importers. Yumi Liu, wine writer for the TerroirSense Wine Review, confirmed that this was an aspect of the Great100 Italy show that appealed greatly to her and others: “What I really loved about the G100 Italy was that it was not just limited to the two days of the event, but actually carried over on many days before and after the weekend of the event, with restaurants and wine bars in Shanghai working feverishly with Italian wineries visiting the city. For example, in these days I was able to also attend a guided tasting by Alessio Planeta of Planeta and a winemaker dinner with the Franciacorta estate of Guido Berlucchi.” James Teng, Head Sommelier of The Middle House restaurants, which include Frasca, the winner of the Great 100 Italy 2023 Best Value Wine List of the Year, echoes those words, adding that: ” We were extremely busy all week long, not just with the winery personnel that chose to come and dine with us, but also because of the many events that were organized here, such as for example three different winemaker dinners with Marramiero, Guido Berlucchi and the combination of Gravner and Nino Franco”. Over at Cafe’ Gray Deluxe, another restaurant in the stable of The Middle House, a private get-together of wineries, somms and importers featuring the wines of Sartarelli and Tiberio, sommeliers of Michelin-starred restaurants and some of the leading Chinese importers of Italian wines got together to taste and talk about Italian wines. Ian D’Agata Co-Chairman of the Great 100 Italy event, also attended, as he did many of the other events in the city leading up to the weekend and that followed it.
The Great100 Terroir Wineries and Wines of Italy event was only in its first year, but it is safe to say that we, wine lovers and producers are all now looking forward to next year’s edition!
Amazing photos of the show can be found at: