Prestige has always played an important part in the Italian wine industry. The sheer number of awards and ratings systems that are dotted around the country, and indeed the world, should be more than enough to prove that.
Producers love to receive high ratings and awards for their work. And why shouldn’t they? They’ve poured their hearts and souls into producing their wines, so a little recognition in the form of an award is a tip of the hat to everything that they give to the industry.
Of course, such awards also have a more practical purpose. As mentioned, they enhance the level of prestige attached to the wine, which in turn adds to its appeal for consumers. A wine with a strong rating or a lot of awards will generally see a spike in sales, which is always a good thing for the producer. You could even argue that critical opinion has played a large part in many of the wine trends that people can end up following for years.
While there are plenty of awards shows that have storied histories, we’ve decided to focus on a newer event that has a very Italian focus. We are talking about the annual Lambrusco Awards, which are now in their ninth year. The 2018 edition of the event is coming soon, so let’s take a look at everything that you need to know about it.
The Hunt for the Best
As the name implies, the Lambrusco Awards have a very defined niche. Instead of examining wines of all types and from all countries, these awards instead focus on the wines of the Lambrusco region alone. This makes them some of the most prestigious awards that Lambrusco producers can receive, as the judgements come from people who have great love for their wines that they produce.
Each year, the awards undertakes what it calls its “hunt for the best”, which is exactly what it sounds like. Judges spend several months sampling Lambrusco wines from a wide range of producers so that they can choose the absolute best of the current vintage for recognition with an award.
The awards also dig deep into Lambrusco. All told, there are 12 categories, all of which offer up a gold medal for the producer that achieves best in class recognition. These classes are:
- Dop Sorbara
- Colli di Parma
- Salamino di Santa Croce
- Grasparossa di Castelvetro
- Colli di Scandiano and Canossa
- The Emilia IGP
Each of these region produces its own variety of the wine, which have enough individual characteristics for them to be considered for separate awards.
The Upcoming Event
The Lambrusco Awards will take place on September 28th2018, which means you have a month to prepare if you want to be a part of it. The event will see a number of organisations coming together to both celebrate the best examples of Lambrusco from the year and also to raise even more awareness about this wonderful Italian wine. Those organisations include the main promoters – Emilia Romagna Region, Apt Servizi, and the Chamber of Commerce of Reggio Emilia – as well as a number of collaborators, who include Reggio Emilia and Consorzi di Tutela of Lambrusco di Modena.
Together, these groups have amassed an impressive collection of 248 wines which come from almost 60 companies. This truly makes the event the biggest celebration of Lambrusco going and it’s unlikely that you’ll see quite so many varieties in any other place.
Those wines have been selected using something known as the Union Internationale des Oenologues, which is a technique created by a sommelier along with six oenologists.
Lambrusco’s Status Today
The organisers recognise that Lambrusco is perhaps more prominent today than it has ever been, especially on an international level. In fact, they point to its increasing popularity as an important aspect of the modern Italian wine industry in the region.
According to the event organisers, Lambrusco now accounts for 7% of all agricultural production in the region, which amounts to about 315 million euros of revenue every year. That figure is just for the Lambrusco region alone. On the international level, the wines that fall under this collective label generate about 323 million euros of revenue every year.
That’s a great sign for Lambrusco’s growing popularity outside of its own territory. Better yet, it shows there’s still room for improvements. Events like these awards are tailor made to get people talking and to highlight the examples of the wine that happen to stand out from all of the rest.
In fact, the event falls within the remit of the Lambrusco Experience project, which has a specific aim of enhancing the region’s reputation in the eyes of international stakeholders and consumers.
What Happens After the Event?
The celebration of Lambrusco wines doesn’t end when the event itself reaches its conclusion. As mentioned, the overall aim is to shine a spotlight on the region and the wines that its produces.
Obviously, those wines that receive the gold medals on the day will likely go on to receive international acclaim on their own accord. But this is not an event that’s meant to be exclusionary to the 200+ wines that won’t win the gold.
After the event, every single wine will make its way into the Terre di Lambrusco 2018 (ANSA) guide, thus creating a comprehensive listing for anybody who wants to explore the wines made in the territory.
By the end of the event, every entrant will have had the opportunity to shine and gain a little exposure for their wines. This will further enhance the reputation of the region as a whole and may go some way to helping it reach the upper echelons of the Italian wine industry.
One things is for certain. Events like these highlight the qualities that each region offers. They’re a concentrated look at a particular type of wine, which gives consumers even more information to help them to make their decisions. We look forward to the event and wish luck to all of the participants.