President of Veronafiere
President of Veronafiere
Marvin R. Shanken
Editor and Publisher, Wine Spectator
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 2021. 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 wines selected for presentation. Because the country’s diversity, heritage and achievements in wine cannot be summed up in such 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. This year, to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are taking a different approach. In addition to the producers selected especially for this year, we have re-invited all the wineries that have participated in every edition of the event. In consequence, a total of 189 Italian wineries will participate. Each will pour one great vintage and the owners and winemakers will be on hand to meet you and discuss their wines. The selection process is challenging. In 2020, despite the constraints of the Covid pandemic, Wine Spectator editors reviewed more than 11,000 wines in independent blind tastings. Of these, nearly 2,000 were Italian, and it is from this extensive database that the OperaWine participants were chosen. The selection committee is comprised of three Wine Spectator editors. Senior editor Bruce Sanderson, who joined in 1993, is the publication’s lead taster for the wines of Piedmont and Tuscany. Tasting director Alison Napjus, who joined the publication in 2000, is lead taster for all other Italian wines. Thomas Matthews has stepped down as the publication’s Executive editor but remains with the company as an Editorial advisor. 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, Market Watch, Shanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.
Executive Editor, Senior Editor, Senior Editor, Wine Spectator