Guest Article by Sylvia Pilar: International Wines: US Tour 2013

International Wines: US Tour 2013, article by Sylvia Pilar
Wine tasting has become  a favorite pastime across the country.  Tastings are offered everywhere from the local liquor store to the major discount wholesalers   and wine and food festivals across the country. These events have opened the doors to consumers to go out and taste local wines and from around the world as well as educate their palate. Special wine industry tastings from wine producing regions around the world offer  private events for the trade. T wo elaborate wine tasting events for the trade were held in Miami Beach this January .  As a sommelier and consultant, it was my pleasure to attend both these events.

Castilla-La Mancha US Tour 2013
January 17th- South Beach, Miami…Spain’s wines of Castilla-La Mancha US Tour 2013 was held at the
former Versace Mansion, now converted to an exclusive boutique hotel, “The Villa by Barton G”.  The opulent setting provided a marvelous opportunity to meet the winemakers who make the wines and are keepers of the traditions. It was also an opportunity  to  discover the wonders of this fascinating wine region  from the land of Don Quixote’s.  A seminar was conducted by local wine experts  to introduce and familiarize attendees to featured wine selections. Delicious authentic Spanish tapas and live music were splendid pairings and an added bonus to the excellent wines!


The wine region represents one of the oldest wine-making regions in the world. The winemakers show-cased winemaking styles that utilize and wine2combine traditional methods with modern techniques.  The wines represented an array of 46 grape varieties to meet every palate and budget, from  the youngest to the special reserves: reds, whites, roses and sparkling wines.

Outstanding  wines from the various vineyards included award winning wines, and organic wines.The “Don Quixote’s Spain” brand represents a variety of wines from a region in central Spain that reflects the plurality and the diverse cultures of Castilla-La Mancha. FINE WINE, HOW DIVINE!

Vinitaly & Slow Wine Tour 2013
January 30, 2013  -  Miami Beach:  Slow Wine guide presentation and tasting  chose the Miami Beach Spa and Resort as one of the U.S locations. This wine expo was a joint venture of Vinitaly International, the ambassador of Italian wine  in collaboration  with  the publisher of Slow Wine Guide, an English guide to Italian wines.  It  offered  the  American wine trade 2013’s most comprehensive Italian wine tasting and education in the US.

The Vinitaly tour format combined seminars, interviews, round tables ,  tastings  to  buyers, distributors, food and beverage managers, sommeliers, opinion leaders and specialized press.  An exclusive olive oil master  class hosted by UNAPROL, the organization of Italian olive oil producers as well as master tasting classes on Prosecco and Soave,  presented an  additional element to the program.  A  light lunch, along with desserts, fruit and cheese complimented the walk around tastings.

With so many wines show casing, the event was spread over two floors: the lobby area and the 18th floor banquet and conference facilities.  Plenty of Proseccos and Moscatos were at hand along with the endless  varieties of reds, whites and roses.  With over 70 wineries sampling wines from  their portfolio, guests were  able to taste their way around some of Italy’s most important and famous regions, a most tasteful and educational afternoon.


It was a bit  overwhelming  with so much  information on the  Italian heritage of people,  vineyards and the  vast amount and  range of wines,  but nonetheless an outstanding presentation.  Additional tastings aperitifs and festivities followed at “dei Frescobaldi”  restaurant inside  the Hotel Astor in South Beach.
Sylvia Pilar,
Certified Sommelier/Wine consultant/Writer

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