The Territory is Not The Map – Italian Wine and Social Media

In photo: Laura Gray and Marco (Il Palazzone), Chiara and Christiano (Cascina Gilli, Piedmont), Vittorio (tirebouchon), Susanna Crociani (Crociani, Montepulciano – holding bottle), Tartetartin.

This year commemorates 150 years of Italian Unification. Before 1861, Italy was a collection of kingdoms rather than a modern idea of a nation. Perhaps it still is. Even today, in Tuscany for example, there are clear delineating lines between Siena and Florence that are imperceptible to anyone other than the people who live there. To the outsider, both cities are in the same state of Tuscany and it is the idea of Tuscany which defines it. But as philosophers, Deleuze and Guattari, have said, the territory is not always the map.

On the weekend a group of wine people met from different parts of Italy: from Montepulciano (Susanna Crociani), Montalcino (Il Palazzone) and Piedmont (Cascina Gilli). Above is a photo of the meeting at Il Palazzone, Montalcino during Benvenuto Brunello (En Primeur tastings).  Of course, good wine and food (lots of good food!) from Piedmont and Tuscany were swapped and shared, as well as stories about what is happening in their region and about doing business across the world. It also helps that each person here has experience living or doing business internationally. This is taking the very best from the old environmental campaign idea, “Act local, think global”. It is doubtful this sort of meeting would have happened before the everyday use of social media.

Italy has an enviable wine tradition, a very rich tapestry of tradition, which sometimes is difficult to explain to the rest of the world who are both fascinated and confused by the “kingdoms” within Italy. These people, and many others using social media in Italy, are at the forefront of communication and change in Italian wine, beyond local and national borders. In my humble opinion, this is a new future for Italian wine, and even better, it is coming from great personalities rather than directed by a blanket marketing campaign.