Has there been more globetrotting member of the wine trade than Joe Fattorini in the last 12 months? As one of the presenters of ITV’s The Wine Show, which he has just finished filming a second series of, Fattorini has been here, there and everywhere quipping lines to camera. So what does he get up to when he’s back home and planning a summer holiday?
For our second in our series we catch up with Joe Fattorini who continues to juggle life as a professional wine consultant with his growing TV presenting career.
We are well in truly in the second half of the year how has 2017 gone for you so far?
It’s been extraordinary. We’ve just finished filming series two of The Wine Show. We’ve been to Germany, Georgia, Argentina, The Basque Country and Spain, Croatia, Bosnia, Canada, USA and Japan as well as all across France. There are some surprises in this series and I hope people enjoy it when it comes out later in the year.
It’s been so busy we’re still taking it in. There are daft moments. Like Amelia [Singer] and me being cruise ship sommeliers. And really moving ones too. Filming vineyards in former battlefields in Bosnia was pretty sobering.
Best moments of the year so far – business wise and personally?
I never imagined I’d be collecting the IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year Award at Vinitaly. Then a few weeks ago I was speechless when I was presented with the IWC Personality of the Year Award. I almost didn’t go as I wasn’t very well and they don’t tell you that you’ve won. But my friends were bizarrely insistent I turned up. I was absolutely flabbergasted. You never imagine you’ll win awards, they’re always a huge surprise. The Wine Show was nominated at the Fortnum & Mason Awards too which meant a lot to us all, and I was nominated for the first WSET Outstanding Alumni Award. I’ve been an educator and the WSET Diploma changed my life, so that was pretty special.
Most challenging moments of the year so far?
One aspect of The Wine Show people perhaps don’t know is that we’re effectively a small start-up. Nobody commissioned the show, or pays us the money to make it. We raise the cash ourselves and have to make a return for our investors. As well as filming and editing, we have to juggle selling the show to potential broadcasters and working on commercial partnerships. They’re coming together though.
We’ve a fantastic relationship with Celebrity Cruises and we’re just launching an accessories partnership with Vacuvin. It’s sometimes a challenge changing gear from the highs of filming in exotic locations, to the more serious business of working out how to add value to a partnerships, or sell the show to a new market.
What are your big goals for the rest of the year?
I don’t just film The Wine Show. Most of the year I’m a consultant and buyer for restaurant groups, as well as a speaker and writer. That’s my focus now really. Looking for new clients where I can add value and events where we can entertain people. I’m working with a growing hospitality group in the Middle East and talking to a hotel chain. But I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting opportunities. Tell people that they should get in touch.
What do you see as being the big trends/ influences on your part of the industry?
I can’t imagine there’s any part of the industry that isn’t thinking “uncertainty”. I started as a sommelier 30 years ago, and I’ve never known a time when so many people have so little idea how things are going to pan out. But you know, there are opportunities as well as challenges. A couple of years ago people were saying “wine will never get back on mainstream telly”. I suspect there are going to be niches in lots of areas where the bold and swift can do well.
What are your plans for your summer holiday?
They make me sound like a bald Theresa May. Some climbing in the Alps followed by a few days in the Italian Lakes. Actually, Joe Wadsack enjoys the Alps so I’ll say I’m like him. Just smaller and differently hairier.
What will you be reading?
Lots. And lots. And lots. I’m the drinks book judge for the Andre Simon Awards this year so I have a huge pile of entries to get through. They’re on things like Champagne, food and wine matching, Georgia, Cognac and all manner of gonzo journalism explorations of the wine trade. The quality of writing is superb. It’s a joy to do the reading, but a nightmare working out who should win.
What will you be eating and drinking?
More cheese, rosti, ham and pasta than is good for me. And quirky whites like Heida and Petite Arvine in Switzerland and Valtellina reds in the Lakes. Followed by a lot of salad when I get home.
Where is your favourite place for a sunset drink?
The Buza Bar or “hole-in-the-wall” in Dubrovnik. It’s perched on the rocks through a gap in the city walls over the crashing waves of the Mediterranean below. The sun sets over the sea and you forget all your worries.
What are you drinking this summer?
Beaujolais. Seriously, this is the summer of Beaujolais. I know the 2015s had it hot, but there are extraordinary wines from all the last few vintages with classy style and at easy prices. They’ve come into their own just as everyone’s decided to lightly chill their reds too.
What is your ultimate summer movie?
Sightseers. It’s a dark comedy about a pair of caravanning serial killers in the Yorkshire Dales. I live there and do wonder when I see some of them driving through.
And your best summer song?
As part of our filming in California I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway with comedian Gina Yashere in a convertible Mustang. I made a playlist before we left and had Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” blaring as we bombed along in the dusk. I thought I was unspeakably cool. Gina thought I was an idiot.
- If you would like to share your year to date and your summer plans then answer the above questions and send them through to Richard Siddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.