Verona

Vinitaly remembers Biondi Santi at inauguration

World's premium wine trade show brings together industry greats

Vinitaly remembers Biondi Santi at inauguration

(By Kate Carlisle) Verona, April 8 - Vinitaly's 47th edition, one of the most eagerly anticipated wine events in Italy and the world, began on a somber note with the passing of one of the wine world's most iconic figures - Franco Biondi Santi, maker of Brunello di Montalcino. "Biondi Santi was an example of life and professionalism. He graced the halls of Vinitaly numerous times over the years and his presence was always a pleasure," Veronafiera Director Giovanni Mantovani said. Biondi Santi, dubbed the "gentleman of Brunello" died on Sunday at the age of 91. He was considered the 'guardian' of the famous Tuscan red that his family invented and is credited with having stoked Brunello's phenomenal success abroad. Biondi Santi's Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1955 was the only Italian wine to enter Wine Spectator's top 12 wines of the 1900s. Vinitaly brings together top producers, journalists and business representatives from the wine industry from over 110 different countries yearly. Last year, the four-day event attracted over 156,000 visitors and participants who flooded the 95,000 square meters of the trade center known as Veronafiere. More than 4,000 exhibitors will open their stands for tastings and presentations, divided by their regions. This year's expo highlights the wine industry's export data, confirming that international sales are up, valued at nine billion euros, despite an overall economic crisis gripping the country. A grand tasting of the "Finest Italian Wines" held in Palazzo della Gran Guardia by the magazine Wine Spectator on Saturday opened the door for wine lovers to learn the secrets behind the success of 100 Italian producers through the palates of tasters Terry Xu, Robert Joseph and Luca Gardini. A survey of international vistors from last year reports that 86% of those interviewed attended Vinitaly to find new contacts, understand new trends and finalise purchase contracts. More than ever, foreign buyers are flocking to Vinitaly, said organizers, especially those interested in "made in Italy" as "the best of world oenology in terms of quality and originality, thanks to Italy's heritage of native grape varieties, competitive prices the appeal that Italian wine carries all over the world," said Mantovani. "Maintaining leadership in international wine trade, with a 23% market share, is essential to continue promoting a unified image of the Italian wine reality," Mantovani said.

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