The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

A Roman in New York

Posted on | December 10, 2009 | Written by Will Di Nunzio | 1 Comment

In March 2007, I moved to New York from Rome, Italy where I lived for the past 23 years.  Moving here, I had no idea I’d end up working in the wine industry. My food and beverage background has given me plenty of opportunities to present wines and sometimes even drink them, but those opportunities were not even close to what I have experienced at IWM. You must understand that in Italy the passion for wine is a natural part of everyday life, as is the passion for food; those of you who have been to Italy can certainly understand. In some ways, though, we in Italy take that wine culture for granted. For example, some of the greatest producers lived and made their wines only two hours away from my doorstep, but when my American friends would ask me to come with them to Tuscany for weekend wine tastings, I would always reply “No thanks!” I reflect on all those times I said no and feel enormously stupid.

In Rome, my daily life centered on two things, mostly: (1) finding a proper espresso at every corner and (2) eating the best pasta at my friend’s family restaurant, where his grandma cooked in the back. I never thought about having to take a seven-hour plane ride to visit the vineyards whose wines made your heart sing the first time you tasted them. Now I do. It’s not just a question of absence making my heart grow fonder, however. It’s more complicated.

I have learned many things here in NY: Don’t stand in the middle of the sidewalk and stare at a skyscraper; walk fast; know what you want before getting in line at Starbucks because there are about twelve people behind you ready to murder you if you don’t; subways are the best way to travel; and it’s cold…really, really cold in the winter, so when you’re outside keeping warm is a priority, not fashion. The one thing, however, that I needed to come here to learn was Italian wine. It may be an ironic lesson, but it’s one that I’m glad I’m learning here in New York, the place I’m learning to call my home away from Rome.


One Response to “A Roman in New York”

  1. Christy A. Canterbury
    December 10th, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

    A dear friend, whose family has made wine for centuries, has told me many times that it was – ironically – the year he worked in San Francisco and Napa Valley that enabled him to appreciate the vines and wines around which he was raised. He may never have made wine in Burgundy otherwise. You are not alone!

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