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Luxury wines: more and more success stories

Shopping for more than 253 billion euro per year for wines that cost more than 100 euro and for 12 billion for dream bottles with prices above 1000 euro

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

luxury-wines-Screaming-eagle-cabernet-sauvignon

During the past few years the high end wine market has increased. It has gone from 77 billion euro in 1995 to 253 billion euro in 2015 (study by Bain & Company in 2016). At the same time, the index of WS auctions showed an increase of 300% in value.

This sort of increase is worthy of the best bonds on stock exchanges and an evident preference of the richer consumers for finer wines.

Luxury Wine Marketing by Liz Thach and Peter Yeung

<<The luxury wine category contains all that is rare and with beautiful aesthetics >> explained Liz Thach, Master of Wine and professor at the Wine Business Institute di Sonoma, to Wine Searcher <<it supplies a sense of privilege and elegance>> in other words those who can buy exclusive  and expensive bottles feels privileged and this is something that become quite irresistible.

Luxury-wines-La Tache – Romanée Conti

The book Luxury Wine Marketing by Liz Thach and Peter Yeung studies in fact the desirability of a luxury wine and the elements that make it stand out. In fact, while the market proposes a growing number of extremely expensive bottles, the estate information is quite scarce.   This report starts from a database of 8500 wines with a price over $ 100 per bottle, divided per grape variety, region, type and price, and considering the vintages from 2010 to 2016. The main sources used by the authors were Wine Spectator (WS), Wine-Searcher, The Encyclopaedia of Champagne and interviews.

Alcohol, why women must drink less than men

Gender, age, diet, all these affect the quantity of wine one can drink but there is a rigid rule for all: drink small amounts and often to stay healthy

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

 

Alcohol-the-after-effect-for women-and-men

Sometimes in the wine world you meet some very unexpected interesting and surprising people, more than one would imagine. This has happened to me this year during the Preview Tuscan tastings when I met the journalist Michael Apstein . He asked me to arrange a visit to the DOC Orcia wineries so that he could write an article for the British wine magazine “Decanter”, only two days beforehand. My husband and I went to pick him up in San Gimignano and in the car I pointed out <you don’t have a British accent> <no> he says <I am from Boston I am a doctor, I thought gastroenterology>. Well, I thought, Boston is where Harvard is and it’s the city of the Nobel prizes , this must be some guy! And in fact when he sent me his article about alcohol consumption I finally understood why doctors say “it depends” when asked what the advised amount is.

The whole article can be found here :https://bit.ly/2SQKqGd

At last, even though of scientific content, it is written so as to be understood by all of us.

 

MEN, WOMEN, AND ALCOHOL

Women-and-wine-Violante -in -a wine-tasting

A 80kg male who drinks wine regularly and has just consumed two glasses of wine during a proper meal eaten leisurely over two hours will have a BAC level that is dramatically lower than that of a 60kg woman who drinks only occasionally and has polished off those two glasses quickly without eating.

Scientists have not understood yet why but women break down less alcohol in the stomach, which means that more passes into the small intestine where it is absorbed. The end result is that a woman, despite drinking an equal quantity of alcohol at the same rate as a man, will have a higher BAC

Who are the Brunello lovers?

Why do French wines have higher prices and a higher prestige than ours? How wide is the range? Who are the Brunello lovers in Italy and in the USA?

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Benvenuto-Brunello-2019–Nomisma-survey -on-Brunello-lovers

During  Benvenuto  Brunello, Luciano Ferraro the journalist, presented a survey by Nomisma-WineMonitor regarding prices, markets, and sentiments with respect to French and Italian wines. They used as a comparison method bottles of red wine. To understand the motive for the gap is difficult because the range between the prices is big, and seems to get even bigger, even though in the opinion of the specialized press, and of the best wine critics in the world, it is the other way round.

COST OF RED WINES IN ITALY AND FRANCE

As I said the Nomisma-WineMonitor study concentrates on bottled red wines, those for which Tuscany is famous all over the world. Let’s start from something already known: at a national level 40% of our expert, equal to 2,5 billion Euros, regards bottles of red and of this number more than half is made up of DOP wines. The problem is that their journey towards success gets slower and slower.

In the last 5 years the increase in exporting of Italian bottled red wine has grown in value by 7% while that of the French counterparts jumped up by 56%. In China they export wine for 686 million Euro and us only 61. If we then look at Hong Kong it’s time to cry: they export 371 million and us 16.

Prices

Benvenuto-Brunello-2019–Nomisma-survey -on-Brunello-lovers

Looking at average prices for export of bottled red wines the situation is less dramatic: France 6,09 € per litre, Italy  4,64€. But it is at the high end that this range widens: Burgundy 25,54€ Bordeaux 12,05€ Tuscany 6,89€. It seems that Piedmont is better off with an average price per litre of  9,12€.

This situation is not good for the Tuscan reds, and looking at exports from 2015 to 2017 business has decreased from 552 billion of euro to 427. Veneto and Piedmont have slowed down but they have bubbles like Prosecco and those from the Langhe, while in Tuscany we are not strong on sparkling so we have had a bigger drawback.

Fortunately Switzerland buys the most expensive wines, with respect to any other market and has in fact an average price for importation of 12€ per litre which is very low compared to what it pays for Bordeaux  (29,49€) and Burgundies (54,5€) but it is however much more than in the UK where our bottles arrive at 4,5€.

Sassicaia’s unstoppable success

After the 1st position in the TOP 100 by Wine Spectator then the  100 /100 from Robert Parker. The San Guido star shines brighter and brighter

 

Sassicaia

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

As well as clever they are very kind, they are humble, they speak and act with extreme simplicity and reserved, as true aristocrats are.

It is in fact the very  austerity, elegant in many ways, but where there is no trace of ostentation, that makes the competitors mad, <<how can they have all that success without doing anything at all>>is the surprised comment from all the rest.  Hence, a little bit of jealousy , and the word nothing that includes many things: no “shoving” to get to the limelight, no pharaonic events, no self celebrating books, and above all no media overexposure of the bottles or the people …. The only great thing , it seems like, is  the increase in value of the bottles and this has been emphasized by Liv-ex the luxury wine portal. A growth, in recent years, that has beaten some of the great French chateaux.

 

Sassicaia-Priscilla-Incisa-della-Rocchetta-Académie-internationale-du-vin

TENUTA SAN GUIDO IN BOLGHERI

Sassicaia is born in a winery called Tenuta San Guido and it is a legendary place for many reasons. There is the row of cypresses told of by Nobel Prize winner for literature Giosuè Carducci “ che a Bólgheri alti e schietti van da San Guido in duplice filar, quasi in corsa giganti giovinetti”.

Here one finds the stables Razza Dormello Olgiata, where the super horse Ribot, one of the most prestigious champions of all times.

Also here is the first nature oasis in Italy, created by Mario Incisa della Rocchetta who was also the first president of the WWF.

In this sequence of excellencies one also finds the first wine able to beat French bottles challenging them with their king of varieties Cabernet Sauvignon. It was in 1978, in London, that the wine critic Hugh Johnson, at that time without rivals for fame and authoritativeness. He organizes for the first time for the Decanter magazine a blind tasting of the best 33 Cabernet Sauvignon in the world. And surprisingly the Sassicaia 1975 won.

Revolutionary millennial sommeliers

More women, more social media, more multiethnic, more managers, more difficult in pairings more able to discover and entertain … these are the millennial sommeliers

Revolutionary millennial sommeliers Cha McCoy

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The Sommelier stereotipe

Which is the sommelier stereotype?  Probably a man dressed in a dark blue suit that comes up to your table in a restaurant to explain the wine list and help in the choice of a bottle.  Finally he then will serve the wine in a sort of ritual made up of glasses to be rinsed, decanter, the uncorking of the bottle and sometimes the sharing of some of his knowledge <<I visited this winery five years ago and I saw the centuries old barrels where they age this Reisling d’Alsace …. >>. These things will remain forever but are no longer enough.

Taking a step back thanks to the very interesting article by Kathleen Willcox published in Wine Searcher lets continue along the route that made sommeliers from transporters of wine using pack animals to those who possess now a legally recognized title: Union des Sommeliers founded in 1907 in France, Associazione Italiana Sommelier created in Italy in 1965, in the UK in 1969 the Wine & Spirit Education Trust begins its courses and in 1977 the Cout of Master Sommeliers (CMS) is born. The latter  represents the highest level in qualifications for  Sommeliers and reunites 273 members.

Sommeliers managers of restaurants

Revolutionary millennial sommeliers

While there is an  increase in number and in quality of the sommeliers, International restaurants have seen a crisis regarding starred chefs who are closing their activities and, the arrival of a new figure, one that unites the managers competences and those of a sommelier. In fact many American restaurants have a sommelier as manger.

 

Sommeliers that are wine talent scouts

Other than this new figure that needs knowledge on management, administration and communication worthy of a graduate in managerial  economics, sommeliers must  carry out another function, they must be explorers.

They must suggest unusual pairings and above all they must create occasions for real wine and food experiences.

Young people love farming

In ninth position among the preferred professions, by young people between 17 and 30 years of age, is grape growing, with 17 % of preferences. Cultivating the land becomes trendy

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Fattoria del Colle, Toscana

Fattoria del Colle young people and farming

The survey

In Klaus Davi’s ranking there are three professions that are more creative (stylist 41%, eye-wear designer 36%, and interior decorator 27%) and three handicraft jobs: tailor, Goldsmith and shoe menders, as well as project manager. Very different choices with regards to the usual 9-5 office job, profession aimed at by the majority of young Italians up until 20 years ago.

Therefore, today these choices do seem influenced by the convincement in our Made In Italy, in terms of quality and in the possibility that this creates stability and earnings.

A good consideration, but this might also underestimate the difficulty of creative handicraft professions that require years of preparation as well as youngsters having to be artistically gifted, and these things are not common

Young people and nature

The comparison between the young people’s enthusiasm and the data shared by CNA and Confartigianato regarding small enterprises that are in difficulty jumps to the eye, and emphasizes the difference between truth and dreams of the news generations. But maybe it is the necessity to have jobs with more flexible hours, more possibility to express one’s own personality and of course the rapport with nature that are more widespread than we think.

Fattoria del Colle young people in farming

 

At the beginning of September at the Fiera del Levante organized by Coldiretti it was emphasized that <<among the 30,000 young people under 40 years of age that in 2016-2017 have in Italy presented application opening a farming activity, according to the Piani di Sviluppo Rurale dell’Unione Europea, 61% is concentrated in the South of Italy and the isles>> it seems that 18 thousand young people in the south see farming as a job opportunity and self-realization.

The highest paid chefs in the world

They earn more from TV programs and advertisements and less from their kitchen hobs. The richest chef in the world is Jamie Oliver while in Italy it’s the Cerea brothers from Da Vittorio

 

Jamie-Oliver-richest-chefs-in -the- world

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The ranking of the highest paid chefs in the world is by Forbes .The Richest and Celebrity Net Worth’s republished by Career Advice and might seem surprising because the profits do not come from the restaurants but more from the TV and publicity.

 

JAMIE OLIVER CHEF THAT EARNS THE MOST

Top of the list Jamie Oliver, 42 years of age, handsome, great communicator, he is the best exportation product from the UK. He greatly loves Italian cuisine and kids, and for them he has worked greatly in trying to make their diets healthy and appetizing. He earns 208 million Euro per year for TV programs advertising, consultations, books …..His throne as highest paid chef in the world has one crack in it. The malicious say that his chain of restaurants has 72 million pounds in debts.

GORDON RAMSAY BAD TEMPERED AND MILLIONAIRE CHEF

richest-chefs-in-the-world-Gordon-Ramsay

In second position of the richest chefs we find Gordon Ramsay with about 100 million euro. He is from Scotland, 51 years of age, a marathon runner, and he has loads of restaurants where he has obtained 16 Michelin stars. His earnings come mostly from the TV where his wrathful temper gets great audience.

MILLIONAIRE CHEFS AND TELEVISION STARS

Third the Australian Wolfgang Puck, fourth Rachael Ray who specializes in TV programs on quick recipes, Emeril Lagasse has 16 restaurants but earns mostly from the merchandising, Ina Garten financial advisor of the White House and ex manager of the specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa in New York, her profits come from the good use of her brand and not from the cooking.

Mario Batali  Jo Bastianich’s partner, and owner of restaurants and TV programs risks a great deal because of sexual assault claims.

Saffron and the Montalcino recipe for tripe

To pick a kilogram of saffron you need 150 thousand flowers. In medieval times it was used instead of gold and today it is used in the kitchens of the greatest chefs, but in Montalcino it is the main ingredient in the recipe for tripe

HISTORY

Arnolfo-ColleDiValD’Elsa-risotto with lemon, blue lobster saffron

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The name comes from Persia, Zaafran , and in fact it comes from Asia and the southern coast of the Mediterranean, even though, for many centuries it has also been cultivated in Marche, Abruzzi, Sardinia, Umbria, Toscana and Basilicata.

It is the most valuable of spices.

Around this flower there is a legend:  Homer writes that saffron was a comfortable bed for Zeus, the old Romans used the flowers to cover the roads before the passage of prices and emperors.

It was also used for ministers’ headdresses for ceremonies, and for dyeing their robes.

saffron

For this reason too, apart from the quotations by Pliny and Ovid we are sure that the Romans knew of saffron, but its cultivation then was lost and began again in L’Aquila thanks to the Dominican Padre Santucci who imported it secretly from Spain.

CULTIVATION

Saffron is a crocus about 5 cm long from which generally three violet flowers with red stigmas. It loves dry climates and a sandy soil such as those in the Val d’Orcia dove where is has been grown since time immemorial.

The type that is most prestigious and desired by those who love good cuisine is the Crocus sativus which is sterile and reproduces only thanks to cloning.

It was selected in Crete by impassioned cultivators who were trying to better the production of stigmas.

Mandragora from the garden to Macchiavelli

The Mandragora roots are considered an aphrodisiac but they are also killers and have inspired stories and comedies. Come and see the vegetable garden at Fattoria del Colle

 

Mandragora -autumnalis -Bertol

In the big vegetable garden at Fattoria del Colle there are 80 species and 500 plants. Some of them have a story and a myth, such as Mandragora, considered an aphrodisiac and a killer

 

THE MANDRAKE COMEDY BY MACCHIAVELLI

Niccolò Macchiavelli wrote the  The Mandrake comedy in five acts, for the marriage of  Lorenzo dé Medici and Margherita de La Tour, at the beginning of the 16th century. It talks about a funny and irreverent episode that was a great success.

So, this story takes place in Florence in 1504.  The young and rich Callimaco returns from Paris to Florence

La-Mandrake-commedy-by-Macchiavelli

attracted by the fame and beauty of Lucrezia, faithful wife to and old, pompous and foolish husband, Messer Nicia.  Nicia thinks that his wife is sterile and hence he tries to find a remedy through the doctor, who convinces him to make Lucrezia drink a potion made with Mandragora, consequently  she will remain pregnant but the man who sleeps with her will die.

Obviously Nicia has no intention of dying for love and so decides to kidnap a stranger from the streets in Florence and to put him in bed with Lucrezia. So, with the help of a corrupt monk, Nicia convinces his wife to let the stranger make love to her and so the plot unfolds.

Continental, English or Tuscan breakfast?

Breakfast at Fattoria del Colle is an unforgettable experience: ciambellone, tarts, cakes all freshly baked … and then country omelettes and pears and cheese

Breakfast- Fattoria -del- Colle-Patrizia-pastry-chef

Which is the best breakfast?

There are two schools of thought regarding breakfast: there are those who say that a visitor is satisfied only if he finds that to which he is used to, so scrambled eggs and bacon, toast and the all the rest. Then there are those expert in tourism marketing who state the exact opposite, or rather that a tourist is looking for an experience and diversity, so an “international breakfast” in a Tuscan country inn disappoints him.

I’m in agreement with the latter.

However I do feel that in our traditions there can be something for breakfast to satisfy everyone. In fact the old farmers did not have sweet breakfasts but savoury ones and it is from these rich mid morning snacks that we must begin offering <<The Tuscan-international breakfast>> .

So now the farmers omelette, fresh pecorino cheese with pears, pork cold cuts like salame and finocchiata , vegetables with dip of extra virgin olive oil from Fattoria del Colle and other garden produce are an alternative to scrambled egg with bacon. Obviously one must also have on hand yoghurt, fruit juice and cornflakes … and other things that must be bought and that are more or less the same all over the world. But the highlight of our breakfast, that beats all opponents, is Patrizia, the pastry chef in the Osteria di Donatella 

The Brunello red Fiat 500

Enough of Burgundy red, now we must begin using Brunello red, which is much trendier. So here is the new two tone Fiat 500, grey and Brunello red, for those who wish to be stylish

Brunello-red- Fiat- 500

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

The Brunello colour

There is an Alfa Romeo in Brunello red and even a Brunello coloured nail gel. In India there is a Brunello red shoe factory with a photo gallery of celebrities wearing them.

So the name Brunello is used often on many types of products, and not only in Italy. But the Fiat 500 Brunello red  is a “love mark” , as we learn from Kevin Roberts from Saatchi & Saatchi , because it has a binding with the affection we all have for this small car symbol of the Italian miracle and for the Italian wine that is among the most loved the world over. A double love mark consequently!

Sergio Marchionne and Brunello

Fiat-500-Collezione

Matteo Ascheri, son to my dear friend Cristina and President of the Consorzio del Barolo, will have been most put out. I do understand his disappointment, as it would have been more probable to expect from the Turin factory a Barolo red Fiat 500! But, as quite rightly stated by WineNews the recently departed CEO Sergio Marchionne, to whom we must presumably credit this recent Fiat 500, was a great estimator of the wine from Montalcino. In fact during his participation in Benvenuto Brunello, in 2007, he confessed to have started to drink wine only after he was 40, and that he had been charmed by the wine from Montalcino.

IOsonoDonatella 2013 Brunello

IOsonoDonatella 2013 Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G.

IOsonoDonatella is a selection of only 1.000 bottles created by Donatella Cinelli Colombini for wine lovers who, like her, love a Brunello of great harmony and elegance.

IOsonoDonatella 2013 Brunello

The Brunello 2013 vintage started off with a low profile judged a 4 star vintage, but after the ageing in barrel has proven to be extraordinary in its complexity and finesse.  In the IOsonoDonatella this characters show in its extraordinary elegance. This is in fact an exclusive “fine wine” apt for important occasion and as a gift, this wine is produced only during the best harvests and comes entirely from the Ardita vineyard. This is a plot of Sangiovese of about two hectares where the soil gives the grapes and wines an extraordinary finesse.

 

IOsonoDonatella 2013 Brunello

The IOsonoDonatella selection was created for the first time with the Brunello 2010 when Donatella Cinelli Colombini understood that her dream of making an exceptional Brunello had come true. A project that began in 1998 when she received from her mother Francesca, Casato Prime Donne on the Montalcino hill and began to renovate the winery. An impassioned grape grower’s dream that year after year has brought Donatella to obtain awards from all over the world

New Year’s Eve in agriturismo with the magic of Brunello

New Year’s eve in the Tuscan countryside with wines tastings, guided tours, brief cookery lesson on pinci and cakes, 4 course tasting dinners with 4 wines, and many other experiences.

New Year’s Eve dinner at Fattoria del Colle

Where to go for New Year’s Eve

With friends, with family or with the love of your life, with your four legged friends…. The beginning of the New Year will be an occasion for a holiday to regenerate while in the midst of nature and traditions.
Fattoria del Colle, in the heart of the most untouched and panorama Tuscany, proposes an intense program with one or two activities per day from December 26th to January 6th. This is a way to appreciate the taste and style of simple but refined lifestyle in a land with a noble past.
Guided tours of the Brunello di Montalcino winery (Casato Prime Donne) and of the Orcia DOC one too, in some cases with itinerant tastings, out to discover anecdotes and particularities that are not well known about these fine Tuscan wines. Otherwise you can opt for an itinerary through the historic halls of the 16th century villa at Fattoria del Colle with the stories of lovers, heretics and brigands , visit the vegetable garden where the aphrodisiac mandragola,

Agriturismo-with-winery-Tuscany-New -Year’s-Eve-FattoriaDelColle

“Aglione” and Val d’Orcia saffron are cultivated together with pepper, liquorices and absinthe…. And many types of mint. There will also be brief cookery lessons to learn how to make pinci, a typical Sienese handmade pasta and how to prepare the typical Sienese Christmas cakes (ricciarelli and panforte) and discover that they are really easy to make and much tastier that than the industrial ones. And finally take part in the traditional panforte game with the ladle handle to measure the winner’s distance. In the two estate restaurants we prepare themed dinners, some of which with 4 traditional dishes matched with 4 wines.

How to transform awards and ratings into business

This is the time of year for Wine Guides and Wine Competitions, WineMeridian gives us 8 suggestions on how to transform good ratings into business: communication, events, and packaging

Di Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Toscana, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

Wine Spectator Wine Advocate Brunello 2010 Riserva DonatellaCinelli Colombini

The first thing to be considered if the owner is the only one to know about the award received, this remains a private thing, pleasant,  but with little effect. Because for the scores from the big wine magazines, the awards from the great wine guides, and for wine competitions to have a beneficial effect on the businesses, this info must be shared with importers and clients. It is not enough for the score to be published on a page of Wine Spectator or in the guide or in the press releases of the awards

 

WINE SPECTATOR WINE ADVOCATE

WINE SPECTATOR WINE ADVOCATE

Here follow 8 suggestions by WineMeridian where you can go to the original text if you wish to read more.

1)You must have a blog and publish there the news illustrating it with anecdotes, photographs and videos

2) Post the news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with a jargon apt for each social media and using mostly images. Use well the hashtags and key words

3) Create some very visible elements to exhibit: plaques, signs, and pendants for the bottle necks.

4) Label, rosette, sticker to be added to the packaging of the wine. In China these types of elements are greatly liked. During wine fairs one often sees the local importers sticking colourful stickers on the bottles

                                               

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