My visit at ProWein in Duesseldorf was well worth it. The Greek wineries exhibited in Hall 3 and more than 40 estates participated. They were placed quite centrally and for the first time the new slogan “New wines from Greece” was used. I spent a fair amount of time talking to the vintners, and the overall feedback was that some solid new international connections were made during the 3 days of the exhibition.
I met with Dirk Wuertz on Sunday afternoon, and we both attended a fantastic wine dinner organised by Marco Giovanni Zanetti, who is promoting the wines of the Italian winery Cristo di Campobello. Different wines from this estate from Sicily were tasted during a 7 course menu, and I was most impressed by wines made from the indigenous grape Grillo. The Italian owner attended, and it was interesting for me learn how they attempt to break into the German market. In fact, this was a great networking event, other attendees included Stephanie Doering from TVino, Marcus Hofschuster and Insa Giese from Wein Plus, the German wine merchants Fertsch and Weinlounge, gastronomist Remigio Poletto, musician Helmut Zerlett, and the well known Austrian wine journalist Helmut O. Knall.
On Monday I met with my good friend, the Greek winemaker Christos Kokkalis. Although he had not visited ProWein in seven years, his popularity in Germany continues unabated. He even sold a palette of his Trilogia wine in the hallway of the exhibition, although he was only there as a visitor. We left in the early afternoon for some coffee, wine and food. We had originally planned to call it an early night, but after dinner we ended up meeting Sacha Lichine and tasted his famous pink wine portfolio. We then joined the owners of Gerovassiliou and Biblia Chora for drinks, and it was well after midnight when I arrived back at my hotel.
I met many people from the wine scene – a special thank you goes to Frank Dietrich from Blue Danube Wines, who made the time to meet with me in spite of his very tight schedule. Frank has pioneered the introduction of wines from Croatia, Slovenia and other Eastern European countries into the US, and I appreciate his insightful thoughts very much.