“If the reality changes, we must change accordingly.” – Federico Gordini, Founder Milan Wine Week
Milan is the epicenter for fashion, design, and culture, but this week it is gearing up for the third edition of Milan Wine Week taking place from October 3rd to 11th, 2020. Milan Wine Week is the first post-COVID wine festival with big plans and a myriad of events. The week-long celebration will take place in person and digitally, with events in major cities around the globe. The wine event will bring together winemakers, press, economists, producers, consortiums, buyers and consumers from around the world.
Federico Gordini is the mastermind behind Milan Wine Week, this will be the first major international wine event post the coronavirus pandemic. I had the opportunity to chat with Federico about the events, challenges, and inspirations behind this mega wine event.
What was your inspiration for Milan Wine Week?
In 2009 we first started Milan Food Week, which was inspired by Milan Fashion Week and Design Week. In 2012 we started hosting a few small wine events, the most successful being Bottiglie Aperte. In 2018 we realized that Milan was ready for hosting a large-scale wine event and our mission was to transform Milan into a large-scale food and wine hub. Milan Wine Week 2019 was massively successful with 300 events over 9 days with over 300,000 participants.
Why Milan for a wine festival?
Milan is an international town that represents Italian excellence. Milan is the place to be. Over the last decade, Milan has transformed into a city with great innovators, technology and entrepreneurs. There has been an influx of new investments that have given the city a mini-renaissance. The city has developed faster than other parts of Europe, making it an epicenter for culture, food and wine.
Located in the heart of Lombardy, Milan was the ideal city to showcase a large scale wine event. Milan Wine Week will positively impact the Italian wine industry and help forge a new path in this post COVID environment. The event brings together various industries collaborating together; hospitality, technology, food, event planning, restaurants, and wine bars. Milan Wine Week is a creative way to kickstart the local economy that has been gravely impacted by the current pandemic.
What is the format of Milan Wine Week 2020?
Milan Wine Week 2020 is dedicated to the promotion and relaunch of the wine sector through a series of trade and consumer events. Due to the global pandemic, Milan Wine Week will launch locally in Milan as well as digitally in key cities(New York, Miami, San Francisco, Toronto, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Moscow) around the world, in a safe and creative platform.
The third year of the event has evolved and transformed to include a full-scale digital wine event. Masterclasses will be conducted live and digitally transmitted to 7 major cities around the world. “Milan Wine Week will utilize digital applications to connect physical events. The only thing missing is physical handshakes.” In addition to the digital connections, there will be walk-around tastings, cooking shows, wine pairings, wine tours, seminars and networking forums that will unite all areas of the wine industry.
Can you elaborate on some of the key highlights of Milan Wine Week?
One of the highlights of Milan Wine Week that is not to be missed takes place on Tuesday, October 6th. There will be a Wine Business Forum to discuss the economic impact of Covid-19. The discussions will revolve around the internationalization process in the wine sector based on the results of a survey carried out in Europe and America by the European Association Of Wine Economist.
The Wine Generation Forum will be held on Oct 9th. This is an event dedicated to highlighting the ideas, objectives, and values of young players in the world of wine. The forum will showcase a new generation in wine which plays a fundamental role in the communication revolution and the new approach to wine consumption.
In addition to events for trade and media, Milan Wine Week will offer experiential events for consumers. Seven local districts in Milan will be dedicated to a particular wine region(i.e. Franciacorta is housed in the characteristic and lively Brera-Garibaldi-Solferino district). Restaurants and wine bars within the district will feature one particular wine region and top chefs will come together to create delectable wine and food pairings.
What safety measures are in place for this first post COVID wine event?
Social distancing regulations will be adhered to and extra precautions are put in place. Only 30 people will be allowed in the huge tasting rooms that typically accommodates 90 people. Temperatures will be taken from all attendees and masks are mandatory.
“We want to be a model of how events can thrive during COVID.” We have increased the number of events, allowing for smaller groups. Our digital platform gives international participants access to the events in a safe and socially distant manner. We are finding a way to move forward with creativity and innovation. We will be able to reach people not just in the seven districts throughout Milan, but we will be able to connect people from around the world with digital connectivity. With over 100 events(tastings, forums, and talks) over 9 days, you can watch live on-demand or recorded sessions. Milan Wine Week will be a mega-event with great possibilities.
Will you continue the digital platform next year?
Yes, the wine industry needs new ways and new instruments to connect with people. Even with physical events, you still need better ways to connect with people that are not able to come to Milan. “This is not an Italian wine event, this is Milan Wine Week, which is an international wine event, one that includes a digital wine platform that connects wine markets and winemakers from around the world”.
Let’s begin the celebrations with a live virtual toast…
As in past years, Trentodoc will begin the opening ceremonies for Milan Wine Week. In a post-pandemic environment, a grand virtual toast will take place digitally with 500 homes collectively hosting small parties with 10-12 people. We expect 5000+ people to participate.
In the past, the opening toast was done in a big square in Milan. This year participants from all around the world will join in digitally to make this a very special toast. Regulations make it impossible to fill a square at the moment but the energy and motivation are the same as the past. This virtual toast will be a “symbol of the renaissance of Italian wine excellence in a post COVID world”. #StrongerThanEver #MWW2020
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