Federico Bricolo, president of Veronafiere

Maurizio Danese, managing director of Veronafiere

Federico Bricolo, president of Veronafiere
As is tradition, OperaWine has the honor of acting as the Vinitaly overture, with its grand tasting of the best Italian wines, selected by Wine Spectator, the prestigious American magazine partner of this initiative. At its 12th edition, OperaWine involves the participation of one hundred and thirty producers: each of whom brings a sample wine for tasting, representing the Made in Italy brand and chosen as an emblem of typicality and territorial excellence.
OperaWine is the only international event organized by Wine Spectator, considered in the United States the most authoritative magazine influencer on the stars and stripes market, a vital outlet for Italian wine exports which in 2022 recorded a +10% increase in value, and represents 23% of total exports.
Maurizio Danese, managing director of Veronafiere
The OperaWine super-tasting provides an important benchmark for the qualitative development of our wine in the strategic market of the United States. It is, therefore, with a great sense of responsibility towards the Italian agri-food sector that Veronafiere aims to intensify its business-oriented planning to make Vinitaly and the associated events around it, not least OperaWine, real brand-tools to support the international recognition of wine from our beautiful country. Results are already visible in this 55th edition of Vinitaly, thanks to the biggest promotional roadshow ever held, with 13 stops around the world, generating a record number of incoming buyers, among them a delegation of 200 operators and importers from the United States and Canada stands out. This particular focus on the North American area is one that we intend to consolidate with the launch of a new initiative in the United States in October.

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the twelfth edition of Finest Italian Wines, a wine tasting presented by Wine Spectator and Vinitaly. In 2023, OperaWine showcases130 producers representing great wines of Italy, through tradition, innovation and quality. 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

But wine isn’t blue!’, remarked one observant wine “influencer” when we recently unveiled the water-inspired design concept behind this year’s OperaWine. Of course, we all know that wine isn’t blue, but how often do we overlook the centrality of water to the wine-making process? Aside from that rare biblical miracle, water cannot be turned into wine. Unlike beer or whisky, no water is added in the fermentation of grapes to make wine. Instead, the fruit itself provides all the liquid sustenance necessary to make the best wine. Nonetheless, water remains a crucial element in winemaking. Water is essential for the survival of all plant life. Irrigation is an ancient practice pioneered by early Egyptian viticulturists. Drainage and water retention remain central considerations in any vine-growing activity. While having too little water is detrimental to the prospects of the vine, too much can be just as damaging, as recent floods in Australia and New Zealand have highlighted. In this era of climate change and extreme weather events, striking that balance is a challenge currently facing wine-producers across the globe. So, this year we are delighted to welcome 130 top Italian producers selected by Wine Spectator. Coming from every region in Italy, they represent the very best that Italian wine has to offer. In front of an invited audience of up to 1,500 influential industry figures, they will have the chance to present their wine and tell their story. And, as a semblance of balance returns after the years of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is right that we look to the future with a certain sense of optimism. But the subtle blue evocations of water that form the backdrop of the 12th Edition of OperaWine provide a gentle reminder as to the fragility of the vital ecosystems upon which our entire industry is built. With OperaWine 2023 we move beyond the “new normal” in search of that balance that has eluded us in recent years. Water perfectly represents that balance, symbolizing both power and grace, purity and wisdom. For many, water also represents rebirth and renewal. More than anything else, water has shaped our landscape and given life to our fragile ecosystems. As we look to the future, we celebrate its power and strength, reflect on its delicate fragility, and give thanks for its generosity that makes the miracle of wine possible.

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 2023 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 2022 Wine Spectator editors reviewed more than 10,000 wines in independent blind tastings. Of these, nearly 2,000 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