That’s the word that immediately comes to mind when we think about the Italian wine industry. For centuries, the country has been one of the world’s top wine producers, both in terms of volume and quality. And today, Italy has a wine industry that’s the envy of every country in the world.
The expansion of this industry has allowed for new generations of producers to express their passions and bring their wines to a wider audience. But in lauding these newcomers, we must not forget the many prestigious wine estates that laid the groundwork for this success. It’s these estates, many of which have histories stretching back for hundreds of years, that established Italy as the winemaking powerhouse that it is today.
And for their work, the entire industry should be eternally grateful.
That brings us to the subject of this article. Since 2012, an organisation called OperaWine has offered recognition to these established estates that did so much to establish an industry and continue to do enormous amounts to sustain it.
Here, we’re going to take a look at the work that OperaWine does and the list of 200 prestigious wineries that it creates every single year.
Who Are OperaWine?
This is the most obvious question to ask as OperaWine is a name that many may not be immediately familiar with. However, you will know the organisation for which OperaWine acts as a strategic partner – Vinitaly.
As a collective, OperaWine organises the world’s largest exhibition of Italian wines and spirits in the entire world. The event, which takes place every year in Verona, Italy. This year, the event is scheduled to take place on the 17thof April, with the organisers expecting to welcome anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 visitors, alongside between 100 and 500 exhibitors. Of course, this assumes that the pandemic allows for the event to go ahead!
On top of this, OperaWine plays a large role in creating wine marketing strategies that align with the visions that its exhibitors have. Think of them as the people who spread the gospel of Italian wine all around the world. The organisation informs others in the industry about the culture and history of Italian wine. And as importantly, it helps others build awareness of the biodiversity that allows the Italian wine industry to offer greater variety in its wines than any other country in the world.
The OperaWine event is one of the most important on the Italian wine calendar for this very reason and Vinitaly happily leverages the consistent success of the event to promote Italian wines throughout the world.
But the event isn’t all that OperaWine does.
We mentioned a list earlier and we’re sure you’re eager to find out more about that.
The OperaWine List
Along with its annual exhibition, OperaWine also releases a list of 200 Italian wine estates every single year. And these aren’t any old estates. The list contains the names of the most prestigious estates in the country, which means it’s a perfect reference for those who wish to understand more about the producers who’ve helped to build the industry into what it is today.
Those who make it onto the list achieve immediate global status as one of the best estates that Italy has to offer. And each year, the list contains the names of those who’ve both defined Italian wine culture and created the best examples of Italian wines during the previous year.
How does OperaWine create this list?
Of course, the organisation has its own in-depth expertise to lean on, as well as that of its strategic partner Vinitaly. But to ensure the list is as accurate as possible, OperaWine also enlists the help of the writers of The Wine Spectator, which mean of you will know as one of the most prestigious wine magazines in the world.
Each year, the magazine’s editors examine the scores it has provided to the Italian wines submitted to the magazine’s tasting panels. From that list, it picks our the highest-scoring wines, with the estates that made said wines finding themselves on the OperaWine list.
Remember how we said that this isn’t just a list of any old Italian wine estates?
We meant it!
This list offers up the cream of the crop from all over the country. As such, many consider it the definitive guide to finding the perfect Italian wine experience, as any estate on the list has a proven track record of creating wines of the highest possible standard.
Who Made the List This Year?
We don’t have the space to share all 200 of the wine estates that made the list. However, we can give you a general rundown of who made it and from which regions those estates come from.
As you might expect, Tuscany had one of the highest concentrations of entries, with a total of 48 estates from this territory making the list. Of course, this includes the Antinori estate, which is famous for its Chianti as well as its deep roots in the history of Italian wine.
Elsewhere, we saw Sicily making some headway as 14 of its estates made the list. This is an amazing turnaround for a region that was seen as purveyors of little more than table wines just a few short years ago. Piedmont also put its stamp on the list, with over 20 entries and even the lesser-known region of Molise received some love thanks to the Di Majo Norante estate.
If you’d like to examine the full list, just click here.
The Final Word
The Italian wine estates that produce the best wines should receive all of the recognition in the world for the work that they do.
That’s what OperaWines list gives them.
It acts as a roundup of the best estates in the country and is thus the perfect guide for those who want to guarantee that they’re getting quality.
Our congratulations to every estate that made the list and we hope to see many of you on it again in 2022.