The World, Residences at Sea, Awarded ‘Best Ship Wine List’

The World, Residences at Sea has been awarded “Best Ship Wine List” by The World of Fine Wine magazine for the ninth consecutive year.

Beverage Manager Kelley Michael Schaefer said: “To be awarded Best Ship Wine List for so many consecutive years alongside such notable establishments is a tremendous honor. Our Beverage Team, with its knowledgeable and experienced sommeliers, has the privilege and pleasure of working for our Residents who are a quite sophisticated group of wine connoisseurs. Our worldwide itinerary has allowed us to develop long-standing relationships with winemakers and owners across the globe who give us access to allocations of their finest labels, even when productions are small. We also purchase wines locally, so consequently we can create a vast collection in our cellars and wine vaults. It’s a varied collection that we are very proud of.”

The World’s master wine list includes15,000 bottles and over 1,200 selections from 20 countries.

In addition to special wine experiences, the World’s Beverage Team collaborates with the chefs to create menus and wine pairings that highlight the cultures and foods of the destinations visited.

Italian Wine Travel Pioneer and Writer Filippo Magnani Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Fufluns Wine Travel Concierge in Italy

Celebrating a quarter-century of excellence, Fufluns Wine Travel Concierge, led by Filippo Magnani, commemorates its 25th anniversary, marking a significant milestone in delivering unparalleled wine travel experiences throughout Italy. As a renowned wine travel expert and wine writer, Magnani has spent decades exploring and documenting Italy’s rich wine heritage, showcasing its diverse destinations and the personalities behind its celebrated wines. This occasion reflects not only the success of Fufluns Wine Tours but also Magnani’s contributions to the global appreciation of Italian wine culture through his writings and curated experiences.

Castello di Monsanto, Barberino Val d’Elsa , Chianti, Toscana, Italia

Inspired by the flourishing wine tourism industry in Napa Valley during the 1990s, Magnani recognized Italy’s untapped potential and sought to elevate the wine touring experience in his native country. In July 1999, he founded Fufluns Wine Travel Concierge, pioneering the path as the first Italian wine travel planner dedicated exclusively to Italy’s rich wine heritage. Named after the Etruscan God of Wine, Fufluns, under Magnani’s stewardship, has built a reputation for its immersive itineraries that seamlessly blend ultra luxury experiences with Italy’s undiscovered gems. Fufluns unwavering commitment to authenticity, quality, and personalization has cemented its status as a leader in the industry, creating the opportunity for people from around the world to engage with the wine regions and people of Italy.

“Reflecting on 25 years of Fufluns Wine Tours, I am filled with gratitude for this quest we’ve undertaken,” says Filippo Magnani, Founder and Supervisor, who oversees a team of ten wine expert guides – all holding WSET or Master Sommelier certifications. “We craft a diverse range of thoughtfully designed wine travel experiences led by a team of knowledgeable wine experts, ensuring an authentic and enriching experience for each guest, from avid wine enthusiasts and collectors to wine schools, wine clubs, and industry professionals such as sommeliers and importers.”

Magnani’s extensive experience in the wine trade, including holding the Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma (DipWSET), as a wine writer, and wine travel advisor, has enriched Fufluns’ offerings with depth and sophistication. His and his team’s commitment to excellence and their ability to weave together the cultural, historical, and sensory aspects of Italian wine make Fufluns Wine Tours not just a journey, but a celebration of Italy’s enduring wine legacy.

To celebrate the company’s 25th Anniversary, Magnani and his team are thrilled to debut an enhanced Fufluns website, featuring a range of new personalized, comprehensive, and deluxe wine itineraries throughout Italy. Visit www.fufluns.com to learn more. Filippo is also pleased to showcase a refreshed version of his personal website, www.filippomagani.it, focused on his writings and collaborations, consulting experiences, and career achievements.

In addition, Magnani is proud to announce the launch of a quarterly newsletter, along with a new logo ”A Journey Through Italian Wines”. Featuring captivating insights into Italy’s wine destinations, exclusive interviews with key personalities in the wine and hospitality industry, detailed wine tasting notes, and selected excerpts from Magnani’s personal blog, Tales Behind The Wines, this newsletter aims to further enrich the understanding and appreciation of Italian wine culture among enthusiasts and professionals worldwide.

Furthermore, throughout 2024, Magnani will personally lead tours for various wine club groups and private wine collectors across Italy. These tours, featuring long-standing partners and loyal clients, are a special celebration of Fufluns’ 25th anniversary, allowing Magnani to share the beauty and richness of Italy’s wine regions and producers with those who have supported his journey. As Fufluns continues to innovate in the wine travel space, Magnani’s goal is to strengthen his expert team, further enhancing Fufluns’ ability to offer unique and memorable wine experiences while maintaining the personal touch that has distinguished them in the industry.

Magnani will also be participating in a charity auction as part of The Golden Vines Awards this October in Madrid. For this event, he has created a special auction item: “VIP Experience — Discovering the Iconic Bolgheri”, in which he will personally accompany six passionate donors on a visit to the historic estates of this famed Tuscan region. All proceeds will be donated entirely to the Gérard Basset Foundation.

Source: Fufluns Wine Tours

Duero Wine Fest 3rd Edition – Part 2

Juan García-Gallardo, Vice President of Junta de Castilla y León opened the Duero Wine Fest 3rd Edition this week in the beautiful Spanish Renaissance city of Salamanca.

He stated that wine is “one of the oils” of the economy of Castilla y León and the its importance.

“It is a fundamental part of the economy of Castilla y León, one of the oil and major sources of wealth, García-Gallardo states, highlighting that the turnover is almost one billion euros, provides 33,000 jobs, and contributes almost 4% of the Gross Domestic Product of Castilla y León.”

García-Gallardo also values the progress taken by the wineries from this region, highlighting that the Ribera del Duero denomination has overtaken Rioja. He further states: “We are going to continue supporting the 16 designations of origin so that they continue to grow in market share, so that they continue to have more facilities and so that they continue to conquer different markets.”

The Duero Wine Fest closed on Tuesday with over 400 attendees. Some key topics for the closing day included: the decline in wine consumption; the importance of the promotion of wine tourism, and the use of technology to reach consumers.

Wine tourism – Global Trends was the main topic of a presentation given by Gergely Szolnok, Professor of Market Research at Geisenheim University. He presented his studies which showed that 80 percent of tourists are not interested in visiting a winery, so wineries must “change their strategies and focus on that type of visitor, seeking to attract them.”

Some of the modifications he recommended include combining gastronomy with wine tourism, taking sustainability into account and adding more innovative aspects such as digital tours or facilitating access for caravan tourism, which is the new big thing!

He also highlighted the importance of the wineries themselves being well-managed, not only in their administrative, production, marketing or vineyard management, but also in terms of the clients and visitors they receive.

The importance of wine tourism was also discussed by Ignacio Gurría, who stated that wine tourism is “the spearhead of wine sales.” In his opinion, wine tourism can be an opportunity to improve consumption.

In his lecture, Impact of New Technologies on the Promotion and Marketing of Douro Wines, Ignacio Gurría, Executive Director of the working group of the Digitalisation and Wine Hub of the FEV (Digitalisation and Wine Markets),
shared his position on digitalization and wine markets and encouraged wineries to implement a digitalization strategy in their marketing program: “In technology you are never late, you arrive good or bad, that is the reality; it is not a question of time, but to do it well” he states.

For digitalization, he further urged wineries to have websites, to have their digital presence controlled, and he insisted on having good data: “Good data is valuable to the winery, which should be the objective.

The congress was promoted by the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development of the Government of Castilla y León through the Agrarian Technological Institute, which has the objective is to position the Duero as one of the most important wine rivers in the world.

The main objective of the International “Duero Wine” Congress is to value the hydrographic basin of the Duero River as a unique territory, sustaining quality wines with different personalities, disparate flavors, to which are added the wines of Bierzo, endowed with its characteristic Atlantic nature, and the singularities of Sierra de Salamanca and Cebreros.

The Duero Wine Fest 2024 presentations can be seen on the congress’s YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/@duerowinefest2024/videos

Alto Adige: An Alpine Paradise for Wine Lovers and Outdoor Enthusiasts – Filippo Magnani

In September I participated in the 4th edition of the Alto Adige Wine Summit. This rather new event is the largest of its kind that focuses on Alto Adige wines and has already drawn significant international attention. Organized by the Alto Adige Wine Consortium, the event hosted 97 producers, 80 wine and media professionals including Masters of Wine from 12 different countries. The goal was to highlight to the world the complex nature and contrasting qualities that define Alto Adige’s authenticity.

Situated in the picturesque region of South Tyrol in northern Italy, Alto Adige DOC is the country’s smallest wine region and arguably its most complex. Over 98% of the region has the DOC certification. One of the Alto Adige Wine Consortium’s objectives have been to create a more detailed zonation and soil mapping to reflect its complexity. The region is divided into seven distinct growing sub-regions each linked to wine grape varieties, add to that breathtaking alpine scenery, a rich cultural heritage with diverse grape varieties. It’s no surprise the region has gained a reputation for being a must-visit destination among wine enthusiasts.

A Winemaking Crossroads of Culture

Alto Adige, also known as Südtirol, has a fascinating history that has shaped its winemaking traditions. Nestled between the towering peaks of the Dolomites and the Adige River, the region has been influenced by both Italian and Germanic cultures resulting in a fusion of traditions and winemaking techniques. The artisan skill, precision, and reliability from the North has married the charm, art of living and wine tradition from the South.

The region’s winemaking history dates back to ancient times with 2500 years of winemaking tradition, making it the oldest wine region in the German-speaking world. It was the Romans who first recognized the unique potential of Alto Adige’s vineyards. They introduced vines to the region, and over the centuries, grape cultivation flourished.

Climate and Terroir

Alto Adige’s unique climate and terroir play a significant role in shaping the character of its wines. The region benefits from a mix of Mediterranean and Alpine influences creating a cooler climate which helps retain the grapes’ natural acidity. Vineyards are situated on steep slopes, at varying elevations (200m – 1000+m) that provide excellent sun exposure. The high mountains in the north shield vineyards from the coldest northerly winds, but the combination of warm days and cool nights allows the grapes to ripen slowly, resulting in wines with vibrant fruit flavors and good acidity.

The diversity of the region’s soils also contributes to the complexity of its wines. From the limestone-rich soils in the south to the porphyry and schist in the north, Alto Adige offers a wide range of terroirs that influence the flavors and aromas of its wines. All geological formations are found here (volcanism, sedimentation, orogeny) and there are in fact 150 different types of rock. The composition of the soil can change drastically within a few meters. Such a rich land requires meticulous attention to detail.

A Medley of Grape Varieties

With such a complex terroir it’s no surprise that Alto Adige is known for its rich variety of grape varieties that thrive throughout the region. Here tradition meets innovation and change has been embraced by producers. The region used to be a land of reds with main native varieties Schiava and Lagrein, but now the production is 64% white wines using grapes such as Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sylvaner, Veltliner, Müller Thurgau, and Kerner.

Gewürztraminer has historically been a popular grape grown here, known for its aromatic intensity and floral notes. However, many producers now have started to focus on producing high-end crus of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay that express more complexity and structure. The region’s cooler climate and higher elevation lend a refreshing acidity resulting in wines that are crisp, elegant, and mineral-driven.

Among the red grape varieties, Lagrein has long been one of Alto Adige’s indigenous specialties. Lagrein wines are full-bodied, yet smooth and velvety, with flavors of dark berries, chocolate, and spices. This variety produces wines that can age gracefully and develop complex aromas over time.

Schiava, another red grape variety, is widely grown in Alto Adige and is known for producing light and fruity red wines with delicate aromas of red berries and floral notes. These wines are easy to drink and excellent when slightly chilled, making them perfect for enjoying on a warm summer day.

Pinot noir also thrives in Alto Adige and is one of the region’s best kept secrets. Many critics argue that these are the best Pinot Noir’s south of the Alps. Pinot Noir in Alto Adige is full of elegance and can exhibit intense fruit aromas, spice, flowers and earthy undertones.

A Strong Winemaking Community

Over the years the region has developed a strong sense of community among winemakers. A total of 5000 producers with only 5600 hectares of vineyards has created a region comprised mostly of smaller family-run estates with longstanding traditions. However, many are too small to make and market wine themselves, which is why a cooperative system was 150 formed 150 years ago. It is one of the pillars of the Alto Adige winemaking business.

Even if the “cantine sociali” used to be linked to massive productions, It is important to underline that these big entities, in the last decades, have aimed for excellence, trying to create the best expression of their land and generally reaching impressive results.

A Traveler’s Paradise

Alto Adige offers a delightful experience for wine enthusiasts and travelers alike. Its beautiful landscape, charming villages, and world-class wineries make it an ideal destination for wine tourism.

Many wineries in the region welcome visitors, offering guided tours of their vineyards and cellars with an opportunity to sample a variety of exceptional wines from aromatic whites to elegant reds and sparkling wines. Accompanied by local delicacies and paired with breathtaking scenery, the wine tourism experience in Alto Adige is truly memorable.

In addition to wine, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a culture lover, there is plenty for you to enjoy in this picturesque alpine wonderland. These breathtaking mountains, pristine lakes, and verdant valleys make hiking and mountain biking a popular activity, thanks to its extensive network of trails. From leisurely strolls through picturesque villages to challenging ascents up rugged mountains, there are trails to suit every level of fitness and experience.

The Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site that rises up to more than 3,000 meters with forests, lakes and gentle green valleys that offer a unique play of light and shadow which is difficult to describe without experiencing them. They provide a stunning backdrop for rock climbing and Via Ferrata adventures. With their towering peaks and dramatic cliffs, climbers can enjoy breathtaking views and exhilarating challenges.

Water sports enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to indulge in their favorite activities. Lake Caldaro, the largest lake in the region, offers swimming, sailing, and windsurfing. The nearby Passo Resia and the Soasere Lake are perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

During the winter months, Alto Adige becomes a winter playland for snow lovers. The region boasts numerous ski resorts, including Val Gardena, Alta Badia, and Plan de Corones, offering a wide range of slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also popular activities, allowing visitors to explore the snow-covered landscapes at a more relaxed pace. The region’s winter hiking trails provide breathtaking views and a chance to experience the tranquility of nature.

Alto Adige is also renowned for its culinary delights, combining Italian and Austrian influences to create a unique gastronomic experience. One must-try dish is the South Tyrolean dumplings, known as “knödel” in German. These flavorful dumplings come in various flavors and are often served as a side dish or as the main course accompanied by sauces and local ingredients. Pair them with a glass of Schiava, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Grigio for a truly indulgent experience!

Alto Adige is also rich in history and culture, with influences from both Italian and Austrian traditions. Exploring the region’s towns and villages is like stepping back in time. Bolzano, the region’s capital, is a vibrant city with a mix of Italian and Austrian architecture. Strolling through the charming streets, visitors can explore historic sites like the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, home to the famous Ötzi the Iceman. The city’s Christmas market, one of the most renowned in Italy, is also a must-visit during the holiday season.

Merano, a spa town famous for its thermal baths, offers a blend of art nouveau and medieval architecture. The Kurhaus, with its beautiful gardens and stunning architecture, is a testament to the town’s elegance and grandeur.

Alto Adige is also home to numerous castles and fortresses, which are a testament to the region’s rich history. Castle Tyrol, Castel Roncolo, and Sigmundskron Castle are just a few examples that provide a glimpse into the region’s medieval past.

Wellness and Relaxation

The area is also renowned for its wellness and spa offerings, providing the perfect retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation. The region boasts a wide range of thermal baths and wellness centers where visitors can unwind and enjoy a variety of treatments. The Terme Merano, with its stunning architecture and luxurious facilities, offers a range of spa treatments and thermal baths.

2023 Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards

I’m en route to Stellenbosch, South Africa to participate as a judge in the 2023 Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards.  I look forward to meeting the esteemed panel of international judges for judging week which will be taking place from July 24th to 28th, 2023.

The judges are comprised of selected wine and spirits experts hailing from five different continents, in which we will be employing the internationally recognized 100-point system, and using the blind judging approach.

This year we will be judging at the stunning Lourensford Wine Estate, which is in the heart of the historical winelands of Somerset West. Spanning over 4,000 hectares of lush forest, fynbos, fruit orchards and sprawling vineyards, it is set against the stunning backdrop the Helderberg Mountains, caressed by breezes off the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Stay tuned for some more updates!