Drunks, vulgarians and selfie-loving screw-ups with sticks who attend Vinitaly be warned: this article on Vinitaly 2015 is not for you. Happy reading to everyone else.

Having just returned from Vinitaly, I went to the Verona Fiere website to see if I had 'read it wrong'. But no, the slogan of Verona Fiere is for real:

We add relationships. We subtract obstacles. We multiply ideas. We share experiences.

Beautiful. Too bad that in reality it would be better to write:

We add obstacles. We subtract ideas. We multiply expenses. We share (bad) experiences.

In the somewhat meagre and sad news that the Verona Trade Fair Authority has published on its website, you can read that Vinitaly 2015 is defined as "business and analysis of international markets"Ok enough, I'll stop the controversy. I report what has been happening since 26 March on intravino.it after the publication of the Italian translation of the article that appeared on the site of the American blogger Alfonso Cevola, winner in 2013 of the Vinitaly International Prize with these motivations:

"known as the Italian Wine Guy for being a profound connoisseur of the great wineries, but also of the small grape varieties of Italy's great wine heritage. A great communicator, he conveys his passion for Italian wines and culture through his blog On the Wine Trail in Italy and through his intense professional activity that has led him to be editor of Glazer's Italian Wine for the past 21 years and Certified Wine Specialist and Special Contributor for The Dallas Morning News and The Well Fed Network'.

First of all, congratulations to a free man! Few bloggers are free to say what they really think as it's all about 'striking a blow to the circle and one to the barrel' to make a living. Alfonso Cevola doesn't, he says what he thinks... and patience if it bothers someone big...

alfonso-cevola Vinitaly 2015

At On the Wine Trail in Italy he writes:

  1. Sunday, the first day of Vinitaly 2015, is now the feast of alcoholics who have nothing to do with the wine industry. Some pavilions are impossible to negotiate because of the crowds of drunks arrogantly trying to fill their glasses. No business is possible on this day.
  2. The parking situation is still an unfunny joke. Tonight we all stayed in our cars in the car park in front of Veronafiere, with hundreds of other cars trying to get out and only one exit open. Two hours later we finally managed to get out. Once again late for our evening appointments. Really, how difficult is it to create a streamlined metro line connecting Veronafiere with the other strategic areas of Verona so as to ease congestion? Or open two more exits? We have 'only' been talking about this for 20 years!
  3. How do you explain the groups of people standing in front of the hall entrances smoking and blocking the way? This is supposed to be a professional trade fair, not a place to smoke while waiting for a prostitute. What about those who lean against the doors and then get irritated because one wants to open them to pass from one hall to another? Who controls the area? Obviously no one...
  4. The toilets are still, for the most part, a disaster. They stink, the floors are full of piss, and the women still do not have enough toilets and are forced to invade the gents. This is disgusting.
  5. You still cannot ventilate some of the halls properly. How hard can it be to put in LED lights that don't heat up the room, and open windows to keep the halls from being suffocatingly hot?
  6. Once again, communication within the halls via smartphones is not possible at Vinitaly. Text messages arrive hours later; for many of us it is essential to keep in touch or change meeting places. During phone calls the line drops all the time. Trying to access the Internet to check information about a winery or access an application, this is still a major challenge inside the halls of Veronafiere. How can we improve our business here if we are unable to use the tools that are essential in today's world? This is an ongoing scandal that the VeronaFiere management has once again failed to address.
  7. The stands of three wine cellars, friends of ours, were vandalised and had wine stolen. How many others has this happened to that we know nothing about? Is it coincidence? Or lack of security?

 At this point I would like to add a few more points that I personally considered during my visit on Tuesday 24 March 2015.

  1. The parking situation is dramatic: the car parks at the fairgrounds are invaded by gypsies who hang out clothes, throw rubbish in the street and, even worse, empty the cars next to their caravans. Filth and stench are rampant, as are operators and visitors pissed off because they have found their cars broken into. There is no control for the safety of those who attend the Verona Fair... and yet it is full of policemen and auxiliaries who write fines everywhere, even for half a wheel outside the parking line. As my grandfather used to say: 'money is only asked from the poor and honest who pay it'.
  2. But is it so difficult to make a lounge reserved for exhibitors taking a break? Maybe without a mess and with a reserved bathroom? It is not possible for them to stand all day in the midst of the hustle and bustle and not be able to relax for a moment in peace and quiet.
  3. But why do we have to eat expensive rubber sandwiches with a few cold cuts and sweaty cheeses inside? Why can't we rebel? I am not asking for a gourmet sandwich, but at least a decent one. It doesn't take that long to use quality bread and slice a good crudo into it... I find the catering at trade fairs shameful! Don't you think we would get better business if instead of a cardboard sandwich we ate a quality sandwich? And that's just as well, isn't it? People are treated badly because they come and pay anyway... shame on them!
  4. If it is a trade fair reserved for professionals, why are there more drunk tourists than anything else? Let's limit entry exclusively to those working in the wine industry and sommeliers!
  5. How do you explain the scalpers at the entrance selling half-price tickets with the police at their side letting them go undisturbed?

Enough! Either we start getting serious and respecting the wineries that pay good money to be there, or we go to Milan this year... all the Expo infrastructure is already in place! Or anywhere else that works with a minimum of decency!

From the Verona Fiere website: "The Veronafiere Congress Centre wants to circulate knowledge with more technology, more attention to people, more quality. Above all with more versatility." A beautiful speech that is, however, not matched in practice. I adore Verona and would really like it to be worthy of this event because I always come here gladly, but commitment is needed.

And if nothing changes, I am for boycotting Vinitaly 2015! Companies are extraordinary, they do extraordinary things and it is to sell their product that all this hanky-panky exists... let's not forget that! We need respect for the work of exhibitors and we need respect for the time that visitors, real operators in the sector, take away from their activities in a desperate attempt to do business at this juncture.

But I will say one thing: the logo and payoff for Vinitaly are really beautiful! So make sure that this love story does not end in tragedy either!

[Tweet "#Vinitaly2015 - another love story -ended tragically- in Verona."]

Did you go to Vinitaly this year? How did you find it? How do you think it could be improved?

A hug,


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