Yesterday evening, the names of the winners of The WineHunter Award Platinum 2023 were announced. This year, a new feature includes special awards dedicated to producers.
Di Carol Agostini
The 32nd edition of the Merano WineFestival (November 3-7, 2023) was inaugurated, and during the opening night, Helmuth Köcher, the patron of the Merano event, along with the tasting commission, awarded the Wine and Food – Spirits – Beer producers with the highest recognition in his guide, The WineHunter Award Platinum. A total of 36 awards were given in the Wine category and 28 in the Food – Spirits – Beer section, with 5 special awards recognizing the work behind each production company. Additionally, Dolcissimo Alto Adige and Italy were acknowledged.
The culmination of an entire year dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, Merano WineFestival and The WineHunter Award guide serve as a prestigious showcase for producers selected by Helmuth Köcher. During the Merano WineHunter event, accompanied by experts from his tasting committee, products in the Wine, Food – Spirits – Beer categories that achieved the highest rating (95-100 points) were honored with the Platinum Award. Helmuth Köcher, alongside Andrea Radic, a journalist and a member of The WineHunter tasting committee, decided to recognize the efforts of the companies by introducing 5 awards this year, highlighting elements of Genius, Family, Innovation, Conquest, and Territory.
Genius: Oenologists and agronomists focusing on sustainability and interpreting the land’s offerings were recognized. Dr. Camillo Zulli of Bio Cantina Orsogna received the award.
Family is Wine: Families producing wine for centuries, where all members work together with strength and beauty, were honored. The Colosi Winery received the award.
Innovation: Recognizing the ability to change paradigms while respecting traditions, Emanuele Kottakhs of UnderWaterWines was awarded.
Conquest: Recognizing the Italian brand that achieves international leadership in the wine world, Maurizio Zanella, Founder of Ca’ Del Bosco, was honored.
Territory: Acknowledging the ability to create a consortium and association supporting producers, Vitaliano Maccario, President of the Barbera d’Asti and Wines of Monferrato Consortium, received the award. Merano WineFestival marked the synergy between institutions, producers, and agronomists, confirming its status as a cultural reference point in the wine world with the Summit “Breath and Scream of the Earth.”
During the two days at Teatro Puccini, Merano WineFestival hosted discussions between institutions, wine producers, and the agro-scientific community on the future of gastronomy and wine in the context of sustainability. The presence of Undersecretary Luigi D’Eramo emphasized the government’s concrete collaboration and openness to productive realities, starting with streamlining the approval process for IGP denominations.
The 32nd edition of Merano WineFestival opened with the international sustainability summit “Breath and Scream of the Earth,” attended by Undersecretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty, and Forests Luigi D’Eramo. Producers and technicians engaged in dialogue with institutions and the agricultural-scientific world reached a unanimous conclusion at the Puccini Theater in Merano: good agriculture, respectful of the environment and the Earth, leads to excellent wine.
“With the ‘Breath and Scream of the Earth’ summit, we wanted to address the issue of climate change, its effects on viticulture, and possible solutions, considering new scenarios,” explained Helmuth Köcher, founder and soul of the Merano WineFestival. “The warning signs are there and cannot be ignored; the climate crisis demands evolution. That’s why we wanted to open a dialogue among producers, agronomists, and institutions, looking to the future.”
The two days of November 3 and 4 featured the Sustainability Summit, an opportunity to assess the situation after a year of events focused on climate change. Merano WineFestival 2023 raised the bar, establishing itself as an international cultural salon for the wine industry. Two days of talks and meetings, starting from the experience of producers and advanced agronomic studies in sustainable viticulture, provided insight into environmentally friendly techniques and technologies for both industry professionals and conscious consumers.
The first part of scientific conferences, organized by the International Viticulture and Enology Society (IVES), saw professors and university researchers present the latest studies on organic viticulture techniques and issues related to climatic variability. They highlighted how a vine management approach respectful of the territory and the environment translates into excellent quality organic and biodynamic wines.
Following this, the focus shifted to the Abruzzo region, an avant-garde in biodiversity, featuring the example of Bio Cantina Orsogna presented by oenologist Camillo Zulli. The New Zealand experience, a pioneer in sustainable cultivation techniques, was also showcased. Both testimonies shared a common belief: treating the planet with respect helps produce high-quality wines.
The debate was enriched by the presence of notable institutional figures such as Undersecretary Luigi D’Eramo, with ministerial executives Pietro Gasparri and Roberta Cafiero, Vice President of the Abruzzo Region Emanuele Imprudente, President of the Pescara Chamber of Commerce Gennaro Strever, Director of the Agriculture Department for the Abruzzo Region Elena Sico, Dr. Michele Scognamiglio, specialist in Food Science, Biochemistry, and Clinical Pathology, as well as the Consul General of New Zealand Austin Brick. This marked a sort of “twinning” between New Zealand Sauvignons and Abruzzo whites.
Merano WineFestival, therefore, embraced the “Scream of the Earth” with reflections on possible solutions to the effects of climate change on viticulture and agriculture. This materialized from the findings collected by The WineHunter Helmuth Köcher and his collaborators over the past year.
6,500 attendees at the 32nd Merano WineFestival during the five days of the event celebrating the enogastronomic excellences selected by The WineHunter Helmuth Köcher and his tasting commissions. A dialogue among producers, the public, the agro-scientific world, institutions, and an increasing number of national and international industry operators thanks to the introduction of The WineHunter Buyers’ Club.
“Back to the roots” was the theme of the event, marking a return to the scent of the earth with a shift toward a future of full sustainability, introducing the new concept of “Sosteconomicità” coined by visionary patron Helmuth Köcher: “In terms of respecting and caring for the land handed down to future generations, it’s a no to the half-full glass and a yes to the full traceability of the entire supply chain.” Save the date for the 33rd edition from November 8 to 12, 2024.
A turnaround for the entire sector was set by the 32nd Merano WineFestival, with a growing focus on industry operators for whom the event will be increasingly tailored. With a deliberate total attendance of 6,500, patron Helmuth Köcher confirmed his goal to make spaces more accessible for visitors and industry operators.
The new term “Sosteconomicità,” coined by The WineHunter Helmuth Köcher, indicates the container within which the parameters of “sustainability” must be interpreted. “The precious concept of sustainability must be placed within a broader context where those who produce respect the land in every sector of the supply chain. At the same time, not giving up on doing business, they imagine the future of their company in these terms,” Köcher summarized.
Therefore, a turning point for Merano WineFestival, which with its 32nd edition, conceived by Helmuth Köcher in 1992 and held from November 3 to 7, takes a leap into the future of gastronomy and viticulture, delivering a clear message to the new generations. “When we talk about the Earth that hosts us, the guest’s task is to respect the host capable of providing so much wealth and variety,” Köcher began.
Numerous events characterized the festival, including debates conducted by Andrea Radic within the framework of the “Breath and Scream of the Earth” Summits, various workshops with the participation of important stakeholders who choose Merano as the venue to discuss the future of viticulture in a rapidly evolving geopolitical and environmental context.
Renowned figures such as Attilio Scienza, Luca D’Attoma, Nicola Biasi, Julien Dumercq, and representatives of Coldiretti participated. As usual, Merano WineFestival was a perfect occasion for the awarding of important recognitions in the enogastronomic sector, such as The WineHunter Award Platinum, the “Nel Segno di Zierock” Award given to Silvano Clementi, the Godio Award conferred to Martino Longo, and the Emerging Room competition, which named the four finalists participating in the final stage of EmergingRoom scheduled for mid-May 2024 at Villa Reale in Monza: Gianluca Grossi of Glam in Venice, Andrea D’Alonzo of Il Fenicottero Rosa Gourmet inside Villa Abbondanzi in Faenza (RA), Alessandro Scarsi of Trattoria Contemporanea in Lomazzo (CO), and Alessia Rivano of Hostaria Ducale in Genoa.
For this edition, many media were present, including national private networks such as Mediaset and Rai, with live coverage every day on RaiNews24 and the Austrian TV ORF, along with some official media partners such as Radio Monte Carlo and wine influencers, totaling over 300 accredited journalists. Simultaneously, the official social media channels of Merano WineFestival resonated widely, reaching over 650,000 accounts during the five days of the event and 200,000 website visits.
FOR MERANO WINEFESTIVAL, EXCELLENCE AS A BEACON SINCE 1992
In this edition, the “The Festival” section was dedicated to the special mentions of The WineHunter Helmuth Köcher, who decided to go beyond. In addition to the PLATINUM mention – for products that achieved a score above 95/100 in 2023 – and NEXT PLATINUM – where the promises of the future already awarded The WineHunter Award Gold in different categories are encapsulated – the festival’s patron also introduced two new mentions: ICONIC is the special mention given to wines representing a reference of national and international excellence for a territory.
They have already been awarded The WineHunter Award Gold, have been on the market for at least 25 years, and are produced by historic companies with at least 50 years of activity. UNIQUE, on the other hand, is the mention certifying products already recognized by The WineHunter Award Gold, considered unique for vinification and/or aging, as well as for grape variety or extreme if not heroic pedo-climatic conditions.
Furthermore, Helmuth Köcher, along with journalist and WineHunter tasting committee member Andrea Radic, decided to recognize the work of individuals by introducing 5 awards in this edition, honoring those who distinguished themselves in the elements of Genius, Family, Innovation, Conquest, and Territory, respectively awarded to Dr. Camillo Zulli, Bio Cantina Orsogna, Colosi Winery, Emanuele Kottakhs of UnderWaterWines, Maurizio Zanella, Founder of Ca’ Del Bosco, and Vitaliano Maccario, President of the Barbera d’Asti and Wines of Monferrato Consortium.
THE UNFORGETTABLE OF MERANO WINEFESTIVAL
Among the many unforgettable moments of the 32nd Merano WineFestival, the opening with the bio&dynamic exhibition featuring organic, biodynamic, natural, orange, PIWI, and integrated agriculture wines stood out. Helmuth Köcher is a true pioneer in this regard, and these products are increasingly carving out a significant space in the festival, especially for their ability to express the genuineness of the territories. This year, Merano WineFestival showcased 160 exhibitors and more than 300 bio&dynamic labels.
The much-appreciated Masterclass signed by oenologist Luca D’Attoma focused on territoriality. Then, the “Market of the Earth,” curated by Slow Food Alto Adige, was dedicated to Agitu Ideo Gudeta, the shepherd of Ethiopian origin but a Trentino adoptee, who was tragically murdered. Barbara Nappini, national president of Slow Food, participated in the naming ceremony. In the large hall of the Kurhaus, the Gala evening, attended by 450 people, featured many important guests who had the opportunity to taste the “Freedom Blend 2014.
Sito evento: https://meranowinefestival.com/
Altro link collegato: https://www.papillae.it/merano-winefestival-vincitori-the-winehunter/