• Silvia Garatti: Il Collettivo is platform for Italian wines

    There are always murmurings in the trade that there are too many big generic wine tastings, questioning their relevance for busy buyers and sommeliers. But when a country does not have a major event to showcase its wines it quickly leads a void that importers and distributors are happy to fill. Like Italy and the emergence of Il Collettivo as an alternative to the no longer Definitive Italian wine tasting. Silvia Garatti of Forty Five 10 explains why she believes it’s now a must attend event for the premium on-trade.

    There are always murmurings in the trade that there are too many big generic wine tastings, questioning their relevance for busy buyers and sommeliers. But when a country does not have a major event to showcase its wines it quickly leads a void that importers and distributors are happy to fill. Like Italy and the emergence of Il Collettivo as an alternative to the no longer Definitive Italian wine tasting. Silvia Garatti of Forty Five 10 explains why she believes it’s now a must attend event for the premium on-trade.

    mm By February 7, 2018

    The Il Collettivo tasting  has been made possible by, appropriately enough, the collective thinking of five specialist importers, SwigFlint Wines, FortyFive10°Sommelier’s Choice, and Astrum Wine Cellars.  Here’s Silvia Garrati from Forty Five 10 gives her take on the Italian wine scene in the UK.

    Il Collettivo is into its second year...
    Il Collettivo is into its second year…

     

    This the second Il Colletivo tasting…why are you doing it again and what exciting new developments can we expect to see from Italy?
    We believe this tasting is a fantastic opportunity to showcase a wealth of Italian wines to sommeliers and buyers in the UK. They are able to explore a multitude of regions and a great number of indigenous grape varieties through both producers’ presentations and masterclasses.
    Last year we held four producers’ masterclasses and this year we have also secured Ian D’agata. He is an award winning wine writer, journalist and lecturer, the scientific advisor of Vinitaly International and expert on Italian wines and terroir.
    What we want is for people to discover the quality and diversity which Italy has to offer, particularly outside the well-known appellations.
    You are working with competing suppliers to do this tasting…why and what brings you together?
    ‘L’unione fa la forza’ as we say in Italy! Yes,  correct, as you said we are all competing in the UK market but we all have the same goal, to show what Italian wines are all about. The people behind them, the diversity of terroir, the climate, the grapes. We could never have managed this without each other’s help. Last year we felt something needed to be done as there is not a focussed Italian tasting in the UK to attract buyers and sommeliers.
     
    Buyers of Italian wines have the chance to discover something new at Il Collettivo
    Buyers of Italian wines have the chance to discover something new at Il Collettivo

     

    What has been the feedback from buyers/sommeliers about doing combined tastings in this way?
    All the feedback we have had has been very good; they loved the idea of tasting wines from different producers and different importers all together.
    They thought the quality of the wines on show was very high. We also had great feedback from journalists.
     
    What particular regions./styles do you think will be particularly interesting at this year’s tasting?
    Hard to pick! Again this year we will have 35 producers present, the tasting will be divided by regions plus a Blind Tasting Corner, as well as two masterclasses with Ian d’Agata and so much more. If I was still a sommelier, I would not miss it.
     
    What sort of price points and styles are working best in the premium on-trade?
    When we’re talking about the well-known areas (Barbaresco, Barolo, Brunello ) people are always willing to spend more.
    But buyers are also looking at exploring new areas or grapes in order to offer more premium wine options by the glass. Nowadays, with the use of Coravin, sommeliers feel more confident to show more expensive wines from lesser known areas.
     
    Any advice on how sommeliers/ restaurants can make the most of their Italian wine list?
    Everyone is different and every restaurant or outlet has different clientele. Just stick to what you know best perhaps indulge in promoting new areas 
     
    How was 2017 for you as a business – highs and challenges?
    2017 was a very interesting year. The London restaurant scene has been lively, plenty of new opening for us to keep on top. As challenges I would say we had to be a bit more flexible in search of new wines which has to meet the price points which the market is demanding.
     
    What do you see as the big opportunities for the premium on-trade in the year ahead?
    When the year is difficult and tight I think the best way to move forward is to invest in the business and focus on good customer service.
    We also are also keeping our list fresh and interesting adding, just in the past month we added four new agencies. Spirits are very popular at the moment, and even though we are not looking for a spirit list, we have just taken on a new Sicilian gin. It is really good –so why not?!

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