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Social media wine's virtual grapevine

Blog, newsletters, social media, reviews portals, local searches, OTA: the many forms of online wine grapevine that creates an image and turnover

Wine- virtual -grapevine-Cantine-Barbera

Wine- virtual -grapevine-Cantine-Barbera

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The virtual wine grapevine is the major instrument for the growth of wine tourism. Up until 2013 it was a human chain mouth to ear, today the viral action that takes place on the web among wine lovers who publish images of their visit and comment the experience, wine bloggers who write posts that then get shared … A procedure that must be cared for and fed and in so doing you create a community with whom there is a daily dialogue. One of the most efficient instruments for this scope is the creation of a newsletter to be sent via internet every 15 days always the same day and time) to those who have visited the winery or who have made contact through the web site. It should contain offers reserved for faithful clients (events, special releases) ..the next few appointments and some news. The client becomes a friend –follower and is regularly updated with what is happening on the estate, so as to become aware of the daily goings on. The newsletter is also useful to sell courses, tastings, shopping to a particularly attentive and faithful clientele.


Wine- virtual- grapevine-Wine-Marketing-&-tourism-conference

Obviously the mother of all news is the blog or the news section in the web site. Many wineries have a blog but only Marilena Barbera, of the Sicilian Barbera wineries has been able to get into the first positions in the international ratings as wine blogger. Each producer has their own style. There are those like myself who write about everything that makes me curious even out of the estate and then there are those who rigorously write only about their own wines and tourism proposals. All techniques are right if they bring visibility and clients.

Chaimaa Fatihi, Giuseppe Casciaro, Bruno Gambacorta and Filippa Lagerback Casato Prime Donne 2016

The Casato Prime Donne jury; with for the first time Donatella Cinelli Colombini as President, have chosen a Muslim young woman who is against Isis


Casato Prime Donne Award 2016 – Chaimaa Fatihi

3 big names have been chosen among those who divulge this territory: Giuseppe Casciaro editor of the Repubblica supplements, Bruno Gambacorta with his Eat Parade and Filippa Lagerback with her tourism by bike.

Chaimaa Fatihi, 23 years old, is studying law in Modena and is the commissary for the Giovani Musulmani d’Italia (young Muslims in Italy) at the Forum Nazionale Giovani, straight after the attack at Bataclan spoke for the Koran followers who are horrified by violence with an open letter -to terrorists then published on the front page of “Repubblica” <<Maledetti Teroristi– Damned terrorists>> she wrote <<My faith is in Islam, a religion that preaches peace …. As a Muslim I disclaim you, I fight you with words, with information, with the voice of those who live daily their faith and being an example of its teachings>>.


Casato Prime Donne Award 2016 – Filippa Lagerback

In this young woman who has affronted the fundamentalists wearing her veil and bare handed, the Jury of the Casato Prime Donne Award – made up of Donatella Cinelli Colombini president, Rosy Bindi, Anselma Dell’Olio, Anna Pesenti, Stefania Rossini, Anna Scafuri and Daniela Viglione- has seen an example of courage and a new type of femininity able to move consciences

The prizes for the journalism sections, destined to those who divulge the Montalcino territory and Brunello went to  Giuseppe Casciaro for the article Dall’albergo vicino a Montalcino un panorama suggestivo. Castello di Velona published in “La Repubblica”, Bruno Gambacorta for his TV programme called 50 anni della DOC sent on air byTG2 Eat Parade and Filippa Lagerback for her TV programme In bici con Filippa: Montalcino sent on air by “Bike Channel”.

The 10 most expensive  cognacs in the world

Prices from  2 million to a modest 5,000 dollars per bottle, these are the jewel cognac sto store in a safe: Prestigious bottles for a very long ageingBy Donatella Cinelli ColombiniThe most expensive is  Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne costing  2 million and is, deservedly, in the list of the most costly in the world. It has been produced since 1776 by the direct descendants of the King and it ages in barrel for more than 100 years The bottle is covered in 24 carat gold and with 6.500 diamonds.The question is who will drink such a bottle?...

The meaning of colours on wine labels

Women prefer blue, purple and green but not brown or gray. Men are attracted to blue, green and black, but avoid purple brown and orange.

Psychology of Design: Colour and wine labels

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello di Montalcino , Casato Prime Donne


Lets go back to the subject of messages given by colours so as to continue on the subject of wine packaging, started a while back

Below you will find an explanation regarding colours so that we may try to understand which are most apt for each type of wine

PURPLE: This expresses sadness. It must be used sparingly

BLUE: is a cold colour that expresses elegance and seduction but also solidity and because of this is chosen by many banks. It refers to an aristocratic and elite culture which is well associated with traditionally made wines produced in historic locations such as castles, villas or medieval hamlets. Better still if the wine as a male target.

Fattoria del Colle Osteria sala liberty

Few days left to participate in the Casato Prime Donne award 2015

An award that wishes to thank  those who divulge the territory and open new horizons for women. An award born in Montalcino in the first winery in Italy with an all female staff

Casato Prime Donne Award 2014 Jury and winners

Casato Prime Donne Award 2014 Jury and winners

There are still a few day left to be able to take part in the Casato Prime Donne 2015 award with photographs , articles, and TV and radio material regarding the wonderful Montalcino territory and Brunello, published between June 15th 2014 and June 1st 2015. Before the 15th of June your entries must reach the Award Secretariat  (Casato Prime Donne 53024 Montalcino SI- casato@cinellicolombini.it).

Art, landscapes…. But most of all people from a land made famous by the excellence of its wines. As a prize there are bottles of prestigious wine as well as money (respectively 1.000 and 1.500 €) and the possibility of spending a week in an agritursimo apartment in this enchanted countryside.

Duccio Nacci 2010 Winner

Duccio Nacci 2010 Winner

The winners of the journalistic sections are chosen by the jury made up of Francesca Colombini Cinelli, Rosy Bindi, Anselma Dell’Olio, Anna Pesenti, Stefania Rossini, Anna Scafuri e Daniela Viglione. The list of past winners is full of wonderful names from Italian and International wine journalism: the last edition saw as protagonists Anna Di Martino, Daniele Cernilli and Ian D’Agata.

Wine Spectator gives my Brunello Prime Donne 2010 96/100

It is called Insider and it is an email that reports the best ratings on Wine Spectator. Every winery in the world wants to see its wines rated there. My Brunello has been

Brunello PrimeDonne 2010 Wine Spectator

Brunello PrimeDonne 2010 Wine Spectator

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

How exciting! Only 20 Brunello in the Insider and only 4 in the “hot wines”. Mine is in second position with a splendid rating of 96/100

The ratings by the most read and most authoritative American wine magazine start their journey towards the podium starting from a minimum of  50-74 for the not recommendable wines, then there are the mediocre ones (75-79), the good ones (80-84) the very good ones (85-89). And finally the champions (90-94) and the summit or rather, the classical wines rated between 95 and 100 points.

So, our Brunello Prime Donne 2010 is a vino CLASSICO that would mean an icon such as the works by Raffaello, Mozart, Petrarca … Maybe I’m being a bit presumptuous with these comparisons? It must be aid though that the search for harmony does countersign all my wines but especially the Brunello and this does make the word “Classic” quite apt.

How to make a career out of loving wine

First of all become a Sommelier, then go and work somewhere where you can taste great wine and listen to the opinions of real experts, then take the leap

SWE- sommelier course

SWE- corso da Sommelier

Read for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

There are some expenses but they are not enormous, if there is a real passion for wine, some talent and a real desire to transform a passion into a successful career. In fact the  real investment is one of the AIS, FISAR, ONAV, FIS, ASPI courses …. With a Sommelier diploma in hand, it is possible to proceed with the next phases. In Italy the diploma counts and this first step must be paid.

To go abroad does not allow you to save money, these first steps cost elsewhere also. In Europe there are sommelier associations practically everywhere connected to the ASI and periodically organize similar course to the Italian ones. In Great Britain there is the very prestigious House of Master of Wine, the dream of every wine lover. It proposes very high level courses and certainly not for beginners, to begin with it is much better to go to  WSET, Wine and Spirit Education Trust where recently the royal sister-in-law Pippa Middleton studied. So other than having good teachers it also has high level students! In USA it is possible to address your training right from the beginning depending on what one wants to do: Master Sommeliers for those who want to work in the restaurants, WSET  is more apt for those who wish to work as importers or wine stores, SWE Society of Wine Educators which forms future teachers.


1.82 billion $ boom in the USA for direct wine sales

The American colossus shows an increase in +15,5 % in private wine sales just in 2014 and grows 4 times more quickly than the traditional commercial sales channels.


Napa Valley

Seen for you by  Donatella Cinelli Colombini

61% of shipments goes  to 5 states where 37% of all Americans live: California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois. But others also do very well: thanks to the law that has facilitated shipping to private citizen, wine lovers form Montana have increate their wine orders by 245 % in one year. The real novelty is Massachusetts, 7th wine market in the USA, that from this year accept shipping from producing wineries .

The Oregon wineries are those who have done exceptionally well with a + 53% in sales to privates in just one year with  Pinot Noir coming up trumps. Oregon does seem to be the new star of the USA wine panorama, but there are also those who’ve been out there much longer such as Napa Valley, main wine making region of the US, which considers sales to private clients determent , and where it represents 48,5% of the business.

This all seems impossible considering the bad crisis we have in Italy. But the source is more than sure, its Wine Searcher, the largest online marketing platform for wine.

Brunello to be cellared: the rules for enjoying it

Prefer Brunello riserva and the great 5 star vintages. Always decant the wine and never serve it cold. Match it with Tuscan roasted meats

Fattoria del Colle Infernotto

Brunello cellared bottles Donatella Cinelli Colombini

One recommendation is a must: those who do not have a cool (16°C constant with 80% humidity) and dark area where to keep the bottle laying down in the dark, is best that they avoid storing because it is very probable that they will be disappointed. Any wine and so Brunello too, ages very quickly in our warm and well lit homes.

The other piece of advice regards the bottles to cellar for important occasion. Al Brunello lasts a long time, but the variety thought up for very long cellaring is the Riserva. So if you wish to keep a bottle from your child’s year of birth, to then open at their wedding, use a bottle of Brunello Riserva.

Brunello Camicia Rossa

Brunello Camicia Rossa

The more careful wineries, like ours produce riserva only in the excellent years among these, awarded 5 stars are: 1945, 1955, 1961, 1964, 1970,1975, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010.

Casato Prime Donne belonging to Donatella Cinelli Colombini, is quite young although it has a long family history, has a library with bottles from 1993 onwards


Better to stay with Tuscan dishes:  stracotto, roasts, rare Fiorentina steak or roast beef. As you know matching food and wine is based on two criteria assonance and contrast. They count on the tastes that each emphasise each other, or two tastes that compete each other. In our case a favour the first alternative so I would serve with a Brunello Riserva dishes with scarce fatty sauces and with a full taste.

Donatella Cinelli Colombini presents herself part 2

In 1998 when I left my family’s estate (one of the oldest and most prestigious producing Brunello) to create my own, that bears my name, it really seemed a “mission impossible”By Donatella Cinelli Colombini[caption id="attachment_10091" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Donatella Cinelli Colombini Cavaliere della Repubblica"][/caption]Again like in my other troubled chellenges I had no money, in fact with debts much superior to the income and two wineries with buildings to be renovated, vineyards to be replanted, cellars to be built and more importantly no sales network.. Now we sell wine to 31 foreign nations.  I have in the meantime understood that it...

Screw-caps beat corks, at least among young consumers

Easy to open and reclose this convinces the majority of consumers, but only 1 out of 3 would choose the screw-cap bottle between two similar wines

Mollydooker Carnival of Love N° 2 Top 100 Wine Spectator

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Spain, Italy, and France, great nations for wine production still choose corks, but screw-caps are loved more by Germans, Americans and the British. The aluminum closure is preferred mostly by young consumers and particularly by women



The data comes from a survey carried out by IPSOS regarding 6.000 consumers in Italy France, UK Germany, Spain and USA. What surprises is the great distance between the producers decisions and the preferences of those who buy bottles. So in Spain where screw-caps are used only on 10 % of wines, where 43% of consumers prefer them

Less difference in Italy where  59% of consumers still like to use the corkscrew and the  screw-cap’s progress is slow going from 17 to 19% on wine bottles in 5 years. But there is 34% of Italian who with equal prices would prefer the screw-cap for practical reasons, even though the majority of them are convinced that cork maintains the quality of the wine.

Those asking for aluminum closures are the importing countries with Britain top of the list.

It is in these markets that the screw-cap is no longer connected to low quality wines and most of all to wines with low prices. Of course  91% of New Zealand wines and  70% of Australian wines have a screw-cap and the former are also quite expensive .

Donatella Cinelli Colombini presents herself

How can I describe myself? I am imaginative, hard working and lucky. I am also short, a little plump, sensitive to the cold, and attracted by people, places and activities that I do not know

Donatella and Violante at Casato Prime Donne Montalcino

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

First of all I would like to tell you something that very few people know. I am dyslexic, (please check https://dopasolution.com/what-is-dyslexia  for a brilliant article by Tina Richards for those with dyslexia who rely on web accessibility).I grew up in a period where no one knew what dyslexia was and when children who per slower in learning were considered retarded. Only when my daughter Violante also showed the same disability I understood the pros and cons in having a different concept of space, but we are also determined and we have an exceptional ability in organization, for this reason many architects are dyslexic .

I studied History of medieval art. You might say << whatever for as you are a wine producer?>> Incredibly it is very useful. At the end of the 1970’s there were no computers , not even in the large libraries, and to do research meant that you had to use every little part of your brain, after then I have never again worked so hard and had such  exiting times.

History of art is my great love (after my husband obviously), for years I avoided going to museums, this because I could not stand no longer having the knack in understanding epochs, provenance and creators…just like a musician going deaf. Now I once again enjoy going to museums. I even took the Brunello producers to the Guggenheim in NY, and to the Art Institute in Chicago.

After street food, now its wine's turn to be served in the street

In USA the best wineries begin selling their wines on the street, and in Italy we have Caràvin that offers great wines by young wine makers


Seen for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

In Portland in Oregon, Ryan Harms (owner and winemaker of the  Union Wine Co. Winery born in  2005,and producing at present 1.300.000 bottles has transformed  a 1972 Citroën van into an itinerant chrome  tasting room . He began his activity in June  2014 offering his Pinot Noir’s while they were being tasted also at the International Pinot Noir Conference. A serious provocation if there ever was one!


His plan was very simple << we are always on the lookout to find a way of introducing wine to the public…>>.

I find this approach extraordinary, and very modern and fun. In Italy it would be a real blow for a brand ….imagine  Sassicaia being tasted in the street! Yet our boring old ways can change. And searching on the web  find WineStreet from Asti who last September organized itinerant tastings. A very modern style, an audience of young wine lovers but the locations were actually buildings.

More than 10 million tourists visit Italian wineries

As everyone knows data regarding wine tourism in Italy is uncertain but Wine Monitor by Nomisma makes us think that wine tourists might be double what we thought up until now

Castello della sala barrel ageing area

Seen for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini


This research has been carried out by Denis Pantini from Nomisma and financed by the Consorzio vini del Trentino. This is what they say: 9% of foreign tourists and  4,7% of Italians travel thanks to a prevalently gastronomic interest. Out of caution, regarding especially the figures to follow, it must be said that Bankitalia indicates on the other hand in 730.000 (2012) so 1,5% of the total the foreign visitors attracted by wine and food. More similar to the Nomisma percentages are though those that come from the Osservatorio Nazionale del Turismo that however regard 2010.

Valpolicella wine store and restaurant

Going back to the percentages indicated by the research centre in Bologna these are the figures available: 16 million foreigners and 7,8 Italians considering all our compatriots, children included, as the wine and food tourism is made up mostly of “day trips”, (86% of the total according to WineNews) so a journey with a radius of less than 100 km from home.


This information seems to increase the number of visitors of Italian wineries. In if fact if it is true that the number of visitors for wine and food go to visit the “mysterious underground Bacchus locations” there is however a quota of them that visits more than one winery during the year.

Giorgio Dalla Cia, an Italian wine man in South Africa

The Italian winemaker who has divulged wine to be cellared in South Africa. Giorgio Dalla Cia from Friuli to Meerlust

Giorgio Dalla Cia

Seen for you by Carlo Gardini 
South Africa: wonderful beaches, incredible nature, and a simple lifestyle although full of incredible refined things… I remember a meal in a resort in the savannah, in a small restaurant that seats about 20 guests, furnished like a Victorian home. In front there is an artificial lake full of birds and wild geese which was lit by torches, in the background the Drakensberg mountains …. At the table we were served delicacies apt for a starred restaurant matched with exquisite wines ……..there is only one thought in my mind: when will I be able to come back?

My wife Donatella (Cinelli Colombini) and I began visiting South Africa 15 years ago, and for 6 years we went really often. We were so fascinated by this nation that we tried to create a wine project in the Cape region.

StellenboschWe visited practically all of the important wineries at that time, we met the owners and the winemakers, and we made friends, people with whom still today we are in contact regardless of the distance and the time passing. One of the first people we met was Giorgio Dalla Cia < if you go to South Africa and you love wine you must meet Giorgio > we were told. And so we met him. He is a wine maker from Azzano Veneto, expert in mushrooms and with a passion for archaeology and metal detectors. He is a traditionalist, perfectionists, and like all intelligent people he is unconventional and courageous.
Giorgio is always kind and smiles a lot, he dresses in an informal manner as the South Africans do, and he always has a hat with him.  Simonetta his wife is a splendid cook organizes Italian cookery lessons and has divulged our cuisine in South Africa. Their home is like a Friuli house with garden and pool, transferred to Cape Town.  Furniture, books lifestyle even the TV programs give one the impression of being in Italy.


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