The Merano Wine Festival held each year in the mountainous Alto Adige region (also known as South Tyrol) in the northernmost tip of Italy closed after shining the spotlight on the beautifully aromatic whites and spicy reds of this unique, cool climate winemaking region.
The 15th edition of the three-day festival drew near-record numbers: 593 producers were present representing some 1,200 wines. Visitors counted 5,500, just shy of last year’s record 6,000. “We are calling it a record year,” said event organizer Helmuth Köcher: “Considering we raised the entry price to 70 euros (about $90) this year, our attendance numbers are even more significant.”
High public attendance at regional festivals like Merano underline general enthusiasm for lesser know winemaking regions like Alto Adige. With beautiful expressions of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and
Cabernet Sauvignon, producers such as Cantina Produttori S. Michele-Appiano, Cantina Terlano, Colterenzio, Franz Haas, Tiefenbrunner, Elena Walch and Alois Lageder are quickly gaining attention in the USA.
Merano (www.meranowinefestival.com) does not only represent regional producers. In a unique approach, only
the top 100 Italian producers (from Marchesi Antinori to Friuli’s Jermann) as well as the
top 114 most promising emerging producers are invited to attend. In addition, some 40 Grand Crus Bordeaux producers were present as well as a section dedicated to Italian gastronomy.
“I think Merano is definitely emerging as the second most important wine festival in Italy after Vinitaly (held in April in Verona),” said Ian D’Agata, director of the International Wine Academy of Rome and co-author of the D’Agata & Comparini Italy’s Best Wines 2007 guide.
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