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The 5 characters you can meet at Vinitaly 2024

Brief survival guide to the next


Like every year, the world of wine gathers for four days in Verona for Vinitaly, an international trade fair that attracts both professionals and those who just want to raise their spirits a little without being too judged.

All of them, and many others, can find their place here, once they have passed through the fair's crowded turnstiles.

Here are a few tips on who you might bump into.

The neophyte

The neophyte, especially if he is not from Veneto, might be quite surprised to see the governor Luca Zaia wandering around the stands as if in his own personal playground; lending himself to selfies, videos, chats of all sorts and ecumenical caresses for children, like a Pope. All this between one toast and another.


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Un post condiviso da Luca Zaia (@zaiaufficiale)


The newcomer will undoubtedly be amazed by the number of pavilions, stands and the whole bandwagon that revolves around this event. To the point of being initially dazed. Before deciding where to start, he will lose half an hour, then shyly approach the first exhibitor where he will see a bit of a queue. A symptom, he will think, of some (previously unknown) product quality. The neophyte will therefore continue his tour, bewildered, throughout the day, unless he finds an expert guide on his way, at least in his third Vinitaly, who will at least direct him towards the best bubbles.

The prepared

With a pass around his neck and an unobtainable map of the stands open before his eyes, the “prepared” person knows exactly where to go as he walks around the fair. He is almost always followed by a host of friends who rely on him like a sailor navigating a stormy sea. He knows shortcuts, exclusive events and all the places to charge mobile phones.

Losing his wake is like raising a white flag. To keep up with him all day is to be drained of all lifeblood. If those who follow him also manage to get a few bites, they can consider themselves satisfied.

The drinker

There are those who come in and first do a reconnaissance of the nearest toilets, be it ever in urgent need of one. It is very often the same person who moves between the pavilions in a short-sleeved T-shirt, waistcoat and sweatshirt tied around the hips. When needed, I hide my eyes behind thick sunglasses.

Certainly trying to scrounge up as many tastings as possible, no matter whether it is a supermarket wine or a heroic vineyard from which a small matriarchal family has been extracting fine nectar for generations. A trend that does not seem to belong to GenZ.

He is still the one who, at lunches or dinners organized on the sidelines of the fair, tries not to give the bartenders their drink tickets in order to order again. In his heart he has won when he does not vomit inside the taxi that takes them home.

The businessman

If, as you are walking from the station towards the exhibition spaces, someone passes you at double speed - jacket, tie and Piquadro backpack on his shoulder - then you are in the presence of a businessman from the wine industry. He may be the phantom foreign buyer (a figure everyone is chasing these days), an exporter or an intermediary. He may be driving a e-scooter, he certainly is in a hurry.


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Un post condiviso da Vinitaly Official (@vinitalyofficial)


He or she is not at Vinitaly to drink (perhaps he or she doesn't even like wine that much), but just to dart from one pavilion to the next while sniffing out business opportunities, networking and scheduling B2B meetings.

At the end of the exhibition he will be the most sober of all, but if at the gala evening the DJ puts on reggaeton music then here he is rocking the dance floor.

The sommelier

He could stay and converse with the small producer in the Ascoli countryside for hours. Try and taste. Taste and try. Without ever showing signs of relenting. He alternates between praising the savouriness of a Verdicchio di Jesi and joking about the quality of the average prosecco.

Being in his company is as enriching as it is exhausting; however, he does not care about others and tries to get a few bottles at every stop.

Now that you know them, you can be on your guard against them. But which visitor will you be at the next Vinitaly?


Illustration by Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios