None of this would have been possible without Wayne Young, one of coolest dudes in the Italian wine business today.
When you ask him what his title is at the Bastianich winery, he takes off his aviator glasses and looks you in the eye and says, “Joe usually tell people that I’m ‘Special Ops.'” In fact, he’s the winery’s factotum: he does everything from regional sales management to winemaking to marketing to hosting rockstars when they come through Cividale del Friuli. Wayne has a long history with the Bastianich empire (I first met him right on the cusp of the Bastianich revolution, when Babbo had just opened in NYC and the world was about to meet the reigning family of Italian cuisine in the U.S. today). He began working with the family in the 1990s and ultimately settled in Udine, Friuli.
Giving credit where credit is due: the COF 2011 blogger project is Wayne’s brainchild.
In the U.S., Siculo-American Alfonso Cevola is widely (and affectionately) known as the “Italian Wine Guy,” a title that he has earned through more than 30 years working in the Italian wine industry in the U.S.
Alfonso is the “Italian wine director” for one of the country’s largest distributors of fine wine and we are thrilled that he is joining us on this trip: not only is his blog the top Italo-centric wine blog in the U.S. today, but he is also the leading English-language authority on how Italian wines are marketed and sold in this country (and he’s also a super nice guy with one of the most generous souls you could ever be blessed to know).
We sincerely hope that the dialogue between COF producers and our blogging team will be a two-way street: we imagine that participating winemakers will be keen to hear his insights into how Italian wines make their way to market in the U.S.
Not only is it one of the consistently most popular wine blogs in the country, but it is THE insider wine blog par excellence. Ask any of the top wine bloggers and wine buyers in the U.S. and they will tell you that they are addicted to her uncannily engaging writing style and her unique approach to wine blogging. One day it’s a poem, one day it’s a short story, one day it’s a performance art happening… And with each post, as she pushes the envelope of what wine blogging is and can be, she turns her readers on to her amazing palate and her encyclopedic knowledge of fine wine.
She’s the French wine specialist at one of Southern California’s top shops, The Wine Country, where she has worked since 1998. This chick knows her SHIZNIT! We are thrilled that she is joining us and she, Alfonso (above), and David (below) are a trifecta of wine industry experience.
David McDuff (above) is not an alien. He just looks like one when he hasn’t had his proper share of Beaujolais Morgon.
Like his compatriots and blogger colleagues, he is a veteran of the fine wine industry and has worked in nearly every aspect of the business, from writer-for-hire to consultant, from wine buyer to sales for a boutique distributor. His background is literary: he holds a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland and he writes eloquently about wine, music (most gloriously when the subject is
1970s early 80s punk), and cycling. His blog, McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail, was recently cited as one of American sommeliers’ favorite wine blogs by Food & Wine magazine (not too shabby, eh?).
The only thing we can’t really fathom when it comes to this wine maverick and all-around great dude (whose tastes in music are rivaled only by his palate for Nebbiolo and Riesling) is why the food on Air France causes him to act out the scenes from kaiju movies but with the dialogue in Yiddish!
Nicolas Contenta (above) has already earned a nickname among his fellow COF 2011 bloggers as “the Shredder.”
He is the author of the excellent blog ‘na cica de vino and here’s his bio:
I lived, studied, and worked as a musician in Italy (mostly in the Veneto but also Emilia and Tuscany) for many years when I was a graduate student working toward a doctorate in Italian language and literature from U.C.L.A., dissertation filed in 1997. In 1998, I landed a job as an editor in the offices of the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana and I’ve been writing about Italian wine and food ever since.
When Wayne (above) and the Consorzio dei Colli Orientali del Friuli approached me this summer about putting together this project, I thought it was a smashing idea. Not only are Friuli and its wines wildly misunderstood outside her borders but Friuli is a truly undiscovered country where hardworking, earnest folks create enogastronomic magic with their materia prima.
And on a personal note, I hope to use my time on the ground in Friuli to expand my knowledge of Friulian dialectal poetry and theater. More on that later…
Do you have a story or experience in COF that you’d like us to repost here at the COF 2011 blogging project? If so, just shoot me an email by clicking here.