Maurizio Danese
President of Veronafiere

OperaWine is back! After two years of disruption Vinitaly is back too, in Verona and in person for its 54th edition. The full range of events are back to pre-pandemic levels: a situation that is not taken for granted but which once again reaffirms the importance of our wine and spirits exhibition for the international promotion of Italian wine. As has become tradition, OperaWine has the honour to represent the Vinitaly curtain-raiser, with its grand tasting of the best Italian wines as chosen by Wine Spectator, the prestigious American magazine partner to this initiative. OperaWine goes on show this year with an expanded list to 130 labels, selected to represent the diversity and authenticity of each Italian region. The super-tasting continues to expand, a sign of the ongoing popularity of our wines in strategically important markets such as the United States. This is a trend confirmed by the attendance of a delegation of over 120 top buyers from North America accredited to Vinitaly, the largest group ever from this region. Another auspicious sign that we want to celebrate at the OperaWine premiere. So at last we’re reunited again, face-to-face, to enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company and share the warmth and culture found in a glass.

Maurizio Danese
President of Veronafiere

OperaWine is back! After two years of disruption Vinitaly is back too, in Verona and in person for its 54th edition. The full range of events are back to pre-pandemic levels: a situation that is not taken for granted but which once again reaffirms the importance of our wine and spirits exhibition for the international promotion of Italian wine. As has become tradition, OperaWine has the honour to represent the Vinitaly curtain-raiser, with its grand tasting of the best Italian wines as chosen by Wine Spectator, the prestigious American magazine partner to this initiative. OperaWine goes on show this year with an expanded list to 130 labels, selected to represent the diversity and authenticity of each Italian region. The super-tasting continues to expand, a sign of the ongoing popularity of our wines in strategically important markets such as the United States. This is a trend confirmed by the attendance of a delegation of over 120 top buyers from North America accredited to Vinitaly, the largest group ever from this region. Another auspicious sign that we want to celebrate at the OperaWine premiere. So at last we’re reunited again, face-to-face, to enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company and share the warmth and culture found in a glass.
It is a pleasure to welcome you to the eleventh edition of Finest Italian Wines, a wine tasting presented by Wine Spectator and Vinitaly. In June of 2021, after a hiatus of more than a year due to COVID, this partnership presented OperaWine’s tenth anniversary tasting. It included all winery participants invited in 2020 as well as any past participants, for a total of 189 producers. Based on the success of this larger tasting event, in 2022 we have expanded OperaWine from its original count of 100 producers to include 130 producers in this iteration. It’s a testament to the fortitude of the Italian wine industry–its owners, winemakers, agronomists and many others–that after such a challenging period in global history we at Wine Spectator see only the broader, more significant and dynamic presence of Italian wine in the larger international scene. Each winery participating in this year’s tasting will pour one wine from a great vintage, with a winery principal on hand to meet you and discuss their wine. We’re sure this tasting will highlight these excellent wines in a way that allows attendees to discover what it is that makes Italian wine so special and worthy of attention. As always, Wine Spectator, the world’s leading authority on wine, is pleased to partner with Vinitaly, the largest wine fair in the world. Thank you for joining us at this extraordinary showcase of Italian wine.

Marvin R. Shanken
Editor and Publisher, Wine Spectator

Stevie Kim
Managing Director OperaWine

OperaWine’s new look coincides with the 150th anniversary of the birth of Piet Mondrian, an abstract artist whose distinctive style and interpretation aligns perfectly with our own current sentiments. The work of this influential twentieth century artist is characterized by the combination of simple and minimalistic elements, such as vertical and horizontal lines, and by the use of primary colors. These elements seem to represent a juxtaposition between the negative and the positive, suggesting a continuous search for balance. Last year, after 18 challenging months, we were finally able to welcome 186 producers and our special guests to the 10th Anniversary edition of OperaWine. That edition also marked a return to the celebration of Italian wine through in-person events. This year, after another 12 months of uncertain and challenging times, we come together once again with a line-up of 130 Italian wineries to celebrate another significant milestone, as OperaWine kick starts Vinitaly, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition. This return to normality is a comforting sign. It seems that we are gradually reclaiming our lives, that everything is slowly falling back into place. On the other hand, if there is one thing this past few years has taught us, it is that we will never return to the pre-COVID era we once knew. The world of wine finds itself in a state of flux, between a global pandemic that has dealt it a hard blow and the emergence of new spaces for innovation that demand exploration. We must adapt to the new scenario we find ourselves in. On the one hand it is important to retain essential practices and familiar ways of organizing our work, on the other we must embrace new ways of doing business. We must find balance between the negative and the positive. Although OperaWine 2021 was seen as the celebration of a very long-awaited reboot, it goes without saying that OperaWine 2022 will be aiming to raise the bar even higher. Going beyond a mere in-person restart, we want to express and instill meaning, finding that precious balance between negative and positive to face the “new normal”.
2022 began as a year of hope, a year of transition in which Tom Matthews eased into retirement after 10 years of continuous contribution to OperaWine. It is not by chance that he is the awardee of “The Vinitaly International Award 2022”. He is an eternal optimist and believed in the OperaWine project from the very beginning. Collaborating with Veronafiere and Vinitaly, Tom and Wine Spectator have seen OperaWine flourish since its inception in 2015. By always showcasing the best of Italian wines, both at OperaWine and in the pages of Wine Spectator, Tomʼs contribution to promoting Italian wine diversity to a wider audience of wine enthusiasts cannot be underestimated. Now we can only hope that our good intentions are realized and that our message is well received. We hope you appreciate this new experiential journey exploring the regions, grape varieties, and, above all, the finest wines that Italy has to offer.

Buon OperaWine a tutti!

Wine Spectator is pleased to partner with VinItaly in presenting OperaWine 2022. Debuting in 2012, the event gathers a selection of Italy’s great wine producers to showcase the breadth and quality of Italian wine. The editors of Wine Spectator are solely responsible for selecting the wineries that participate in OperaWine, and approve all the wine selected for presentation. Because the country’s diversity, heritage and achievements in wine cannot be summed up in a small group of producers, each year the list changes, with new participants replacing some of the previous attendees. This is our way of keeping the event fresh and of reflecting the vitality of the Italian wine industry. And as a result of the successful tenth anniversary edition of OperaWine in June of 2021, in which all 189 past winery participants attended, in 2022 the tasting has expanded to include 130 producers. Each will pour one great vintage, with the owner or winemaker available to meet you and discuss their wine. The selection process is challenging. In 2021 Wine Spectator editors reviewed more than 12,000 wines in independent blind tastings. Of these, nearly 2,700 were Italian, and it is from this extensive database that OperaWine participants were chosen. Wine Spectator’s Executive Editor, Jeffery Lindenmuth, who assumed his role in January 2021 following the retirement of Thomas Matthews, supports Bruce Sanderson and Alison Napjus in the selection process for OperaWine. Senior Editor Bruce Sanderson, who joined in 1993, is the publication’s lead taster for the wines of Piedmont in Tuscany. Senior Editor and Tasting Director Alison Napjus, who joined the publication in 2000, is lead taster for all other Italian wines. Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches more than 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the web’s most comprehensive wine site (winespectator.com), mobile platforms and a series of signature events. Parent company M. Shanken Communications also publishes Cigar Aficionado, Whisky Advocate, Shanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.

Alison Napjus, Bruce Sanderson
Senior Editor, Senior Editor, Wine Spectator

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