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Italy's Vagaggini in running for global wine award

Finalist for Wine Enthusiast's Wine Star award

Italy's Vagaggini in running for global wine award

(By Sandra Cordon). Rome, September 4 - Described as one of the "world's leading experts" on Sangiovese wines, Paolo Vagaggini of Siena is a finalist in American journal Wine Enthusiast's competition for its 2013 Wine Star award. The award, considered one of the highest accolades in the industry, is exciting news for the Tuscan, who says he is proud to be nominated, and also proud for any recognition he can bring to Italy. "A prolific oenologist and one of the world's leading experts on Sangiovese, Vagaggini works with about a third of Montalcino's wineries, including Biondi Santi, Eredi Fuligni and Poggio Antico," the magazine says in its online announcement of the finalists. "With 30 years of winemaking experience under his belt, he also consults for wineries in Montepulciano and Chianti Classico". He has been nominated in the category of Winemaker of the Year. Vagaggini's competition for the award, which will be announced in a special edition of the magazine to be released on New Year's Eve, include wine specialists from France, Australia, Spain, and California. "Just being one of the top five recognized winemakers in the world is for me an enormous satisfaction," says Vagaggini. "But it is also a huge recognition for our country where the winemaking tradition is rooted in thousands of years and often underestimated". Vagaggini, who says that he inherited his passion for wine from his father, is also known for his expertise with one of the world's most famous names in the industry: the Brunello di Montalcino. Indeed, for this winemaker, the business is a family affair as Vagaggini works closely with his wife Bernardetta in their operation named Amantis, producing Sangiovese wines that are sold all over the world. "I want to dedicate my success to my wife, who has always supported my work," says Vagaggini. He has high hopes that this year could become one of the best, in terms of quality and also value, in the history of Italian wine exports. That hope is supported by data from farm organization Coldiretti, which predicts that shipments of Italian wines abroad could possibly exceed the record 5-billion-euro mark if current growth trends continue. Meanwhile, Wine Enthusiast magazine has also singled out an Italian cooperative as a nominee in its category of the most outstanding European Winery of the Year. Produttori del Barbaresco is the winery of the Cantina Sociale del Barbaresco Producers, which was founded in 1958 in an area around the town of Barbaresco in north-western Italy near Turin. Today, it includes 56 grower-members with approximately 250 acres dedicated to Nebbiolo. But the origins of the modern cooperative date back to 1894 when Domizio Cavazza created the Cantine Social Barbaresco "for the production of luxury wines and food". According to the magazine, "Produttori del Barbaresco is considered one of the world's leading cooperatives". "It continues to set the bar in winemaking, producing as many as 35,000 cases of wine a year and offering quality and consistency across the board," says Wine Enthusiast.

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