Alfonso Cevola

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You've Come a Long Way, Baby! ~ The Ascent of the Female Sommelier

When I starting delving into the world of Italian wine at an Italian restaurant as a server, we had a sommelier. She was all turned out in a hot …

Wine & Spirits

The World Fumes and Spews, but the Wine Business Goes On

<i>Why I got into the wine business</i><p>Last Friday, while handing out Italian wine maps to salespeople, I got to talking with one of the young ones. She …

Wine & Spirits

The Franciacorta Guy and his Mission to Win in America

What is it like to take on a project like Franciacorta in America, to grow its base? Over the past decade, one man has made that his mission, to win …

Italy

What I love (and hate) about Sicily

We live in a world where every word can be a polarizing one. In the past week, I have felt the sting of words, and some of my readers have as well. …

Sicily

Sicilian target practice without a license (or a seatbelt)

One of the intriguing aspects about winemaking in Eastern Sicily, especially around Etna and Vittoria, is how tradition has very little to do with …

Seat belt

Etna’s little (and formidable) sister, Vittoria

It would be too easy for casual wine trekkers to bypass the area south of Etna. After all the wines of Etna are among the current darlings of the …

Is the time right for “Big Wine” to cast their footprint on Mt. Etna?

Rolling down SS120 from Randazzo to Passopisciaro, there’s a modern structure, empty and abandoned. It could be a dystopian bunker, built to survive …

Wine & Spirits

A Wine Zealot's Survival Guide to Etna

After 30 years of going to Etna, I’ve learned there is a simple way and there is the hard way. I’ve done the hard way a time or two. Simple is …

Wine in Italy – from a Greek Perspective

Italy is a place of confluence, in the flesh, and in the mind’s eye. One of the mindscapes I reach into, especially when going into southern Italy, …

Aglianico’s Ashes - Stockpiling old wine for a new generation

Pity the poor Aglianico vine, set within the shadow of a volcano whose better days are lost somewhere in the dustbin of geology. Imprisoned in a land …

The End of Conspicuous Consumption - A View from the Edge

2016 has taken this one down, and sometimes off, the wine trail. Personal detours along with a professional recalibration combined with an evolving …

Mother's (last) Day

The Italians have a toast. When celebrating someone’s birthday they say “Cent’anni!” (100 years!) with a corresponding reply, “E uno!” (plus 1!). …

Just who are the Italians making wine for?

For a wine producing country that makes approximately 25% of the world’s wine, Italy is in a unique position. In 50 years, the market for Italian …

The 100 Day Wine Abstinence Program

<i>Has the role wine plays in our lives become too invasive?</i><p>After a five hour drive this past week from Dallas to Houston (a bit longer than usual …

Drinking

"Our wine is better than French wine" - Italian Prime Minister Renzi at #Vinitaly2016

<i>From Ripley's "Believe It or Not!" desk</i><p>25 Years ago, writing about the 25th Vinitaly in Civilatà del bere, journalist James M. Johnson devoted ten …

Wine & Spirits

"Wine is not the goal"

<i>From the "Dispatch from Dogpatch" desk</i><p>In a recent post from Italy and ViniVeri, Jeremy Parzen referenced the poet/philosopher/wine writer Sandro …

Wine & Spirits

Do you have to “love wine” to love wine?

I remember the first time a woman told me, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” I couldn’t quite understand what she meant. But I eventually …

Southern Italy

Easter of the Immigrants – A Feast for the Ages

Over the past month, as my personal fog has lifted, there have been dreams. And in these dreams, many of them have had family who are no longer with …

San Gimignano – Vernaccia, Fireflies and the Dark Energy of Hope

<i>The vault of memory stores more than kisses, licks, slaps, bites and stings.</i><br>A long-time colleague of mine obsesses over Vernaccia from San Gimignano. …

Dark energy

Giacomo Tachis and his Legacy of Disruptive Innovation

<i>“One riot, one ranger”</i><br>Looking out the window on an early morning in March, leaves are falling from the trees. Spring is pushing the last of the old …

Innovation

Life without wine

Inside the glass, this hurdling liquid, rushing into all the empty crevices, seeming to fulfill a need to order the world around us as expressed in …

Wine & Spirits

Hitting the end of the runway with a bump and a needle

“We’re going to hit you with a low dose of morphine, to help you sleep.” Was I dreaming? After a day which saw no sleep, a hurried drive from Napa …

San Francisco Bay Area

The Best - Not the Greatest - Wine for the Moment

I’ve spent the first part of this year tasting numerous types of Italian wine. More than I can remember in a long time. And while that is part of the …

Italian wine

Has Valpolicella Ripasso had its day in the sun?

Verona in January can be severe. Or it can be a welcome change from the early spring, when Vinitaly wine fair-goers clog every artery, fill every …

Wine & Spirits

Montalcino - A trip up my personal Congo River to the (mother of all?) Brunello vineyards

The owl was singing outside my room, at midnight. Fog shrouded the mountain. My hotel had turned off the internet connection. And I couldn’t sleep. …

Italy

Lucid dreaming from the streets of Italy

When I talk to many Italians they like to carp about how unfair life is in Italy. Long lines, lots of bureaucracy, low pay, traffic, corrupt …

Italy

Is DOCG in the Future for these Five Hopeful Regions?

From the <i>♫ Catanzaro dreaming on such a winter's day ♫</i> department...<br>With the 74th DOCG, Nizza, now official, Italian oenophiles are asking, “What …

Calabria

How Puglia saved my life

“Is this your first trip to Puglia?” I was asked this past week. “No, I have been here a handful of times,” I answered. “In fact the very first time …

Food & Dining

What Will the Next Ten Years Hold for Italian Wine in America?

Looking back is so much easier than this. But the past is dust. So where are we going? All I have are some educated guesses. Maybe not predictions, …

Italy

Adventures on the Wine Trail in Italy – Ten Years After

Somewhere in time I read "one who seriously endeavors in an activity really has nothing to say for the first ten years". It’s all pretty much …

Italy