You could hear a Texas twang at the 47th annual Italian wine trade fair last week in Verona, Italy: Organizers of the behemoth event, Vinitaly, awarded the prestigious Vinitaly 2013 International Prize to Dallas-based Italian wine blogger and journalist Alfonso Cevola, author of On the Wine Trail in Italy, for his contribution to Italian wine education throughout the world.
Born in California to Sicilian and Calabrian parents whose families had immigrated to the United States in the first half of the 20th century, Cevola (left) is based in Dallas but his work as Italian Wine Director for Glazer's -- one of the largest fine wine distributors in the U.S. -- brings him to every major market in the state of Texas, where he is a top resource for the scores of young Texan wine professionals studying to be Master Sommeliers (in the Court of Master Sommeliers) and Certified Wine Educators and Specialists (members of the Society of Wine Educators).
Just ask any Houston wine professional who they turn to when they need guidance in navigating the often confusing waters of Italian wine and invariably, Alfonso's name is at the top of the list of leading Italian wine authorities in our state.
Cevola is "known as the 'Italian Wine Guy,'" wrote the event organizers in a press release, "for his profound knowledge of the top wineries as well as the small grape varieties of the Italian enological heritage. A great communicator, he expresses his passion for Italian vines and culture through his blog On the Wine Trail in Italy and his active career as director of Glazer's Italian wine program for the last 21 years, Certified Specialist of Wine, and special contributor to The Dallas Morning News and The Well Fed Network."
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The fair, now in its 48th year, is the number one annual gathering for Italian wine industry insiders and observers. This year, it included more than 4,200 exhibitors and more than 140,000 visitors over four days on the sprawling fair grounds in Verona, Italy.