Amarone della Valpolicella: Growing notoriety for an often imitated wine that becomes more and more synonymous with glamour

“Amarone, it needs only the name” was a slogan used on a well-known Italian advert and describes the international reputation of Amarone, a fame that it can also fall victim to.

The cutting edge of the sword is of course counterfeit wines and the Consorzio di Tutela della Valpolicella allied with the relevant bodies fights a constant battle against the incorrect use of the appellation. In the past months “DIY” kits sold online to make DOC Valpolicella and Amarone wines were successfully removed from sale. The Chamber of Commerce of Verona with Federdoc (the association of DOC and DOCG protection consortiums) had flagged the promotion of ‘DIY Amarone’ kits made by three different Canadian companies and sold online in the US and UK. The availability of these products giving people the illusion they can make these big red wines themselves is however an indication of the appellation’s popularity.

Data from Google trends also shows the growing demand for online information about one of Italy’s most prestigious wines. Taking the term ‘Amarone’ we can see that over the past decade, especially since 2005, the interest of internet users in this big red wines has increased considerably with peaks of activity in the months of November and December coinciding with the release of the new vintages. Looking at the geographical areas, most clicks for Amarone come from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Italy. The searches carried out also show the strong link with the area of production as in most cases ‘Amarone’ is coupled with the term ‘Valpolicella’. Those who search ‘Amarone wine’ however are located in Canada, the US and the UK.

It’s also important to remember another phenomenon of the wine’s image: the use of the name, synonymous with excellence, to add a touch of glamour to other types of products which at first glance wouldn’t seem related. An example of this would be the first line of men’s beauty products from Amarone : after-shave, face cream, soap and body lotion were presented at Vinitaly from a project involving Coldiretti. Along the same theme are the wollen scarves made from very soft sheep’s wool from the “Brogna” race bred in the Lessinia hills to the North of the Valpolicella. Once considered one of the best Italian yarns, these products have enjoyed growing popularity thanks to a project linking local crafts with promotion of the area. Washed, combed and spun into bundles, the wool is available not only in the buttery natural colour but also in a range of delicate tones from pink to lilac coloured naturally with the prestigious Amarone della Valpolicella. Amarone is also used by artists to create a new frontier of art also known as “art’Enoica”. Maurizia Gentili has used 200 types of wine in her work to date. Sometimes using up to 30 wines in the same piece, she confesses to have a weakness for Amarone. Arianna Greco, an artist from Salento, who creates female figures in her work with what could be imagined to be blood, uses in fact bottles of wine as tubes of colour. In more than one occasion, she has “inebriated” her audience with her canvases. Another demonstration that Amarone is a true “thoroughbred” is the four-legged champion Westfalian (German breed) that has been contending on the most important show-jumping courses ridden by the Danish jockey Thomas Sandgaard.

For those who love Amarone della Valpolicella, the Anteprima Amarone on 25th and 26th January 2014 at the Palazzo della Gran Guardia is not to be missed.

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