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Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Makes a Splash in North America

Situated on the eastern coast of central Italy, Abruzzo’s region-wide Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) is seeing an uptick in global export sales, with a 13% rise in 2017 when compared to 2016. The United States and Canada account for 21% of these exports, and the Consorzio di Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo is focusing its efforts on education in these markets to couple with the increasing availability of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC.

More than 42,000 acres of Montepulciano are planted within the delineations of the DOC, resulting in a total production greater than 17 million gallons, accounting for 70% of the denomination wines in Abruzzo.

Additionally, the timing could not be more appropriate, as the DOC is currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary since its foundation in 1968. “The objectives of the Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo for 2018 are ambitious,” confirms Valentino Di Campli, president of the Consorzio. “We want to seize the opportunity of the 50th [anniversary] to increase the perception of Abruzzo wines as wines of great quality, not only through the many promotion activities already planned, but also through greater controls on companies to protect the quality.”

Wine Enthusiast recently talked with Campli about the DOC, focusing on its unique character and growth in the U.S.

What makes Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC so special?

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC is a very versatile wine, in the sense that it goes well with every different kind of food. If you drink it when it is young (from six to 18 months from the harvest) it is immediately enjoyable with its aroma of fruit with an aftertaste of licorice and its fragrant and balanced taste. When it’s mature, it is more complex, spicy and full-bodied.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is considered a versatile wine that goes well with food but consumers are still learning about its ageability. How is the Consorzio promoting the idea of Montepulciano as a great wine for the cellar?

This year, the Consorzio has been organizing many tasting events in Europe and now in America with very mature wines (for example between fifteen-year-old wines). In this way we want more and more people to understand the evolution of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC.

What are the main goals for the upcoming U.S., and Canada visits by the Consorzio’s and the Italian winemakers?

The main objectives of the upcoming U.S. and Canada visits are obviously to promote the DOC of Abruzzo and to create the condition to expand the sales of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in North America.

What were some of the challenges Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC is currently facing as regards weather and/or the market? How are you addressing those challenges

As with regards to the weather as I will explain in my introduction, in Abruzzo we don’t have many problems with the weather. As far as the market is concerned we want to increase the sales of our red wine everywhere. The Consorzio’s objective is to expand the knowledge of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo everywhere. In this way, we are convinced that the consumption of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo will increase.

What makes the American market exciting for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo?

For us, the American market is the first market for Abruzzo wines.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo continues its worldwide event celebrations on September 13th in Boston. To register for the event, click here.

Read more about Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in our upcoming November issue.