The internationally renowned Piedmontese winemaker Angelo Gaja recently declared that he would not be attending Vinitaly 2002, Italy's most important wine trade fair.
‘After weighing up the pros and cons at great length, we finally decided not to participate,’ says Gaja.
Apparently, the success of Vinitaly, with its growing number of visitors, in combination with the increasing popularity of Gaja’s wines, had made a visit to the producer’s stand a ‘must’ for many people, raising concerns about the desirability of some of the stand’s visitors.
‘The constant inflow of people got out of control, and the selection almost always turned out to be merely quantitative rather than qualitative. In order to protect ourselves against the invasion, we even designed a kind of “fort”, to control the constant flow. Once inside, people would plant themselves at the tasting counter and there was no way to get them to budge,’ says Gaja.
Gaja’s dislike for Vinitaly’s crowded conditions is not new. One disappointed visitor to Cantine Gaja’s stand last year decided not to brave the throng. ‘It wasn’t so much the queue that put me off, it was the sign outside. It read something along the lines of: “We do not believe Vinitaly offers the right conditions for tasting our wines, so we offer no tastings here”.’
In order to facilitate trade tastings, three special sessions (which will take place in one of Vinitaly’s conference rooms) have been organised by Willi Klinger, Gaja’s overseas sales director. Attendance will be by invitation only.
Written by Michèle Shah5 April 2002