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Wine #Vinitaly 2012 and 2013 upcoming 48th edition, 

 Update...  Vinitaly 48th edition, 2013. held in Verona,  holds much promise to discover new wines, winemakers and some great interviews. I will be bringing you all the news, photos and statistics in and around Verona again.

happy Easter, 

 2012 edition.This month saw the  47th edition of Vinitaly certainly the largest winefair in Europe, if not the world. Italy makes an enormous quantity of wine in every price point and they were all there from the bottom of Sicily to the border of Switzerland where I live on lake Como, along with winemakers, marketing teams,  wine agents, brokers, wine ambassadors, olive oil producers, glass bottle manufacturers, and tens of  thousands of  visitors daily from all over the world.


Around the actual main fair are tastings, meetings and dinners of every type, some top-draw some simple, but all facinating. The  Franciacorta pavilion where I spent quite a bit of time between tastings and interviews was packed to the gills all day. It was the pavillion that seemed the most popular, out of the ones I had meetings and tastings in namely Piemonte, Tuscany, Maremma, Sicily, Campagnia, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Umbria, Lazio, Trento, among others,  I wondered why, and spoke with various producers and presidents until I came to the local truth. Its where people start with an aperitivo right at the gate, in its swanky Franciacorta surroundings and then finish off at the end  with a closing drink before leaving from the gate,  makes perfect sense.

Although I must say Franciacorta is growing in popularity as I hear from the leaders in the region, I also visited my old friends who make wine from Bolgheri on the Tuscan Coast to Serralunga d Alba in Piemonte and whose wineries have been featured in this blog.  See my most recent  blogpost  winery visit.


I participated and filmed a fabulous vertical  tasting with the ever lovely Bianchi family of Villa Franciacorta fame, and other friends and then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at their newly revamped villa and  winery. The sumptuous meal attented by press and Franciacorta clients from throughout Italy was a real treat and I shall be writing up my tasting notes when I post the videos with the menu.

The charming couple, our hosts Roberta and her husband Paolo, treated us to a winetour, and  later an evening to remember in true Franciacorta style.

I shall be covering the area extensively, but since I am also  followed by those who are not wine nerds, I will keep this post photographic and stats based.

Here is the link to my full photostream of Vinitaly in verona 2012. If you wish to use the images please leave me a note and I will approve use under certain  creative commons conditions




So Vinitaly Facts  2012

exhibitors... 94,966 sq.m. of area

4,164 exhibitors, 94 international

156,033 visitors, 50,066 international

2,625 journalists, 328 international


wines on show... thousands 

bottles poured during the show, 10's of thousands 

Accomodations occupied in and around Verona in a 100km radius  during the week of vinitaly- every single room, no room at the inn...  and many people travel in for the day from across Veneto, and also Milan, Modena, Parma, Cremona, Bergamo, Como, Brescia and the entire Po plains. to enjoy the show.  


The wine world goes London #LIWSF


Update watch out for the forthcoming LIWSF in Docklands,  2013,  held in May every year, where I will be once again in London bringing you all the wine news.


The wine world gathers every year in May in  London, and so it wass that again in  2012 I found myself among the wine fairs, RAW and REAL and the biggie LIWSF  at EXCEL in Docklands. The fair is the mecca of wine for the trade. Who attends? Everyone from the producers, winemakers, distributors, agents, cork, glass and winepouch manufacturers, press, wine-writers, and those who consult and  do branding and social media for wineries like myself.

 In 2011 We gathered to taste, to sniff out the new, to spot the grape trends,..... was it viognier was it pinot noir,was it arneis? We chattered we reconnected, we compared, we were delighted and surprised.

Yes we swilled, sipped, spat and sometimes tried not to say that's green, vegetal, vinigerary and disappointing, and to rather say mmm interesting  ....and slowly drift away.

So what will this year bring youll have to check back here and see. 

The fair which lasts three days is an opportunity for wine brands and newcomer single vineyards to do product development, to meet a prospective agent, a place to do new deals, to see your clients, to meet new clients, to savour a glass with old friends and to reconnect.





 Jim Budds  report on 2012 LIWF event


it was as usual great to meet up again with those WINEYACS from Italy, Portugal, Austria, Spain, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Finland, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, here  in UK

I will be uploading videos of my talks with the winemakers and wine writers on here and also  on the facebook winesocialclub group, ask to join,,  a unique place  on the web where we talk with winemakers and they talk to each other, I also host Merlot MOndays there all about blend, so tweet me and I will add you to the group.

So see you again  at #LIWSF


Alba Italy the wine festival  


Things I learned in 2012

Resilience is the ability of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically, and release that energy upon unloading. The modulus of resilience is defined as the maximum energy that can be absorbed per unit volume without creating a permanent distortion. It can be calculated by integrating the stress-strain curve from zero to the elastic limit. In uniaxial tension,

 U_{r}= \frac{\sigma_{y}^2}{2E}

where Ur is the modulus of resilience, σy is the yield strength, and E is the Young's modulus.[1]

I'm content, although surrounded by insecurity, that doesnt mean I've settled and know the future, but I have more peace, real peace. I’m proud of the jobs I have  had, the people I have helped and the hard work I do- my sheer resilience through pain, learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, helping others to find a way up, and  setting a good example for my children when I do what I have to do, and not  just what I want to do. 


Sometimes life gives you a huge curved ball and then you add ill health on top of that. That's a Tsunami wave, that I've survived.. Responsibility is taught and I’m teaching that there are times you have to go to work,  sometimes hard soul-destroying work- and you cant bitch and moan about it, or worse- not do it at all- but the times you must grit your teeth, put a smile on your face and go because it’s what you HAVE to do, are the times you’re really acting like an adult. 
I dont place much worth in excuses, its just too easy to make them. I keep my word, and I expect the same of others now.

 I've learnt the limits of my determination and my physical and mental state. I don't need to fix problems and situations, not created by me. My body and mind are tired of fighting for justice that doesnt come, for love and understanding from family and friends. Some of them may never give their understanding and support in a real way, but I can and will give that respect and honor to myself.

I’ve learned to let go and forgive, and if I haven’t learned to turn the other cheek yet, I’ve definitely perfected the art of moving on. Life is too short to surround yourself with wolves in sheep’s clothing. In eliminating time wasted with people who have selfish or malicious motives, I freed up more time for the wonderful people I love.

I’ve learned what happiness really feels like- and how to discern it from the bullshit I’ve waded in at times. Life is not fair, we are not all born equal, I've always said that, but now I've learned the meaning of Justice delayed and to realise Justice sometimes never comes.

I’ve learned what honesty and decency sounds like- after dating some horrendous liars. Real men don’t lie- because they care about the value of being a good man. They don’t cheat either, because they care about how they represent their gender and their families.


I’ve learned to get myself out of hot water even if it means swimming away  in search of safe shores alone, by just holding on to a few bits of wood from the shipwreck.  I’ve learned to spot bullshit, learned to reach out to the right people and to lay an abusers shit bare when they deserve it. I’ve learned to silence the evil men who dare cross my path… or at least slow them down. I’ve learned to use Google to my benefit- to the disappointment of the a ..holes.

I’ve learned to only apologise when I mean it- and to verbally eviscerate those worthy. I meant every word. How’s that for personal growth. No I’m not sorry. I may have lost a few friends, cut a few a holes out, perhaps got radical along the way, but Ive cut the cancerous people out of my life.

I’ve learned to quit while I’m ahead- to hush when I only have anger on my tongue and to accept the things I can’t change. I can’t be everything to everyone, I can’t do everything I want to get done and I can’t turn an a..hole into a decent person. Some people are ugly forever- and sometimes the best revenge is letting them drown in their own truth.

Im ready for whatever 2013 brings. You?

 happy holidays, Donna


Freelancing 7 things you should know for 2013

So you dream of firing your boss, kicking back in your newly decorated home office with your mac pro with coffee brewing and your music blaring. Yeah crazy cool.

Can you do it?




This year I celebrated ten years of working location independent, based in Italy but travelling all over Europe.  In those ten years I've worked as a content writer, editor,  blogger, travel photographer, project manager, coach, trainer,  digital strategist and consultant. I wear lots of hats and have clients  on every continent. I've seen amazing places and done fantastic things, but one thing is a constant - the ability to find, keep and bill clients. It is this alone that will determine my success or failure.



7 things you cannot afford to kid yourself about.

1. You're going to work alone, a lot, you're going to have to fight the distraction of popping out for a cappuccino, switching on the TV, digging in the fridge, playing on twitter, updating your facebook, watching clips on utube. All these are the drug of the solitary worker, and they eat the one resource you  do have, time.

2. You can choose your hours right?  Wrong. If you burn an all-nighter, the next day you feel like hell, so you sleep in  and lounge around in your pajamas till noon. Yeah this is it, no boss to chase me.  You just exchanged your one boss for many, your clients are now going to be your bosses, when you find some that is.

3. They will come if you build it -  The silent phone, the emails you dreamed would come in a flurry asking for you to design that site and write those articles. Silence.. If you just keep going to conferences and social events joining facebook and linked-in groups the work will eventually roll in, right? Wrong - you have to pitch, like the salesman who knocks on doors constantly, and for every presentation he makes gets rejected 90% of the time, you must get comfortable pitching.

4. Starting with no savings in a one income household? Panic sets in quickly once the rent isn't paid, and that new mac pro you bought starts to seem like an expense you should have waited awhile for. You'll need family support, or a regular job while you phase in your first freelance attempts. Office space can wait too. Yes you'll sometimes have to lock your spouse or  your screaming baby out of the room  to meet that deadline. You'll definitely work harder than you ever did for a boss. 

5. Billing according to industry standards and getting contracts and agreements signed is by far the most difficult and important thing you'll learn. When to bill? How to negotiate with difficult clients ? Sometimes the first client is a client from hell, that leaves you pacing the kitchen floor talking to yourself. You need a support group of other freelancers to bounce ideas off and learn from.

6. Getting recommended and verified. This is were time management becomes crucial, the ability to build a network of people who you can communicate with daily on social media in a directed and focused way, is an essential skill, asking for what you want is another. 

7. Keeping up with trends and adapting and transitioning is a full time challenge. The changes in the past two years alone  have made work people were getting paid good money to do, obsolete. Whole industries have disappeared. Re-invent yourself.

Can you do online coaching and webinars?  Can you continue to be competitive in your field?

If you can manage yourself, and your erratic finances it can be a wonderful lifestyle defined by you and your dreams.

Next week..

What should you charge for your services..