Why Decent Italian Wines are difficult to locate

All of you who follow the Hedonist regularly know that I’ll give at least a half-hearted search for ingredients/cuisines/products in order to complete whatever topic I’m trying to cover. Luckily for myself, I happen to live in a market friendly city where I can find almost any ingredient a recipe/cuisine may require.

Alas, I’m having difficulty finding a decent Lazio wine here in the Emerald City. Certainly not through lack of trying. I’ve gone to DeLaurenti as well as La Buona Tavola as those in the comments have recommended, but have come up empty.

However, I did find out that this lack of decent Italian wines is not due to a lack of a market here in Seattle for these wines, but rather is due to Italian export laws.

In talking with one of the fine, upstanding folks at La Buona Tavola, I was alerted to the fact that wines can only be exported out of Italy if the winery makes over a certain amount of bottles a wine a year. I believe the number is 20,000 or something along those lines, but don’t quote me on that. So while many of the larger Italian wineries can open up their markets to the US, the small artisinal wineries are left out.

So when one of the wine folks at DeLaurenti said that wine from the Lazio region isn’t that good, she may have been mistaken. The reality may be that the good wine may be unable to be exported to the United States due to the size of the winery, while the bad wines come from the larger, more profitable companies.

At any rate, fear not faithful readers. I have a contact with a wine importer here in Seattle who may be able to point me in the right direction. A company called Small Vineyards, LLC has an arrangement with a wine co-op in Italy. this co-op is a collection of dozens of the small artisanal Italian wineries that have been prevented from exporting. In order to circumvent the export laws, they have pooled their bottles together to exceed the 20,000 minimum number. So, although it’s difficult to find certain wines here in the States, it is not impossible.

Tags: , ,