On Saturday, June 19, OperaWine gathered 186 top Italian wine producers for a gala tasting in Verona. It was the 10th edition of the event, created by Wine Spectator in partnership with Vinitaly, the national trade fair.
Normally, OperaWine kicks off Vinitaly, the nation's most important wine trade fair. But for two years, nothing has been normal; the 2020 event was canceled, and Vinitaly will return in 2021 but not until fall—organizers have currently scheduled "VinItaly Special Edition" for Oct. 17-19. So the OperaWine tasting served as an important marker that life, and business, will move forward with enthusiasm and hope.
"We needed this event," said Lamberto Frescobaldi, president of Marchesi Frescobaldi, one of Italy's most important family wine companies. "We producers haven't been able to see each other for more than a year. It's great to be back together."
Wine Spectator selects the wineries that participate in the event, billed as "Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers." For the 10th edition, however, the event was expanded to include wineries that had participated in past events, for a grand total of 186 wineries representing all 20 regions of the country. Highlights included producers large and small, from Tuscany's Antinori, to Lombardy's ArPePe, Campania's Quintodecimo and Veneto's Masi winery.
The event was held in the Gallerie Mercatali, an old warehouse beautifully refurbished for the tasting, and large enough to allow for all necessary safety precautions. About 1,500 invited guests attended, representing multiple countries.
"Opera Wine was very positive, beyond expectation!" said Marilisa Allegrini, CEO of Allegrini, the Veneto-based wine powerhouse. "Very well-organized and in a beautiful location with great attendees."
Stay on top of important wine stories with Wine Spectator's free Breaking News Alerts.