If someone asked me to name the most important person for Southern Italian Wine in Italy at the moment, it would not be a winemaker or vineyard owner. It would be Nicola Campanile, the organiser and curator of the wine competition and festival called Radici del Sud which happens every year in Puglia. Radici del Sud celebrates the native grape varieties of Southern Italy bringing in some of the best journalist’s and wine trade from around the world for a week long event that looks at why Southern Italian wine is so special.
The competition aspect of Radici del Sud is simple.
Radici del Sud’s wine tasting is the event where the wines made by native grapes of Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria and Sicilia are compared. It has been designed by the ProPapilla Association with the aim of identifying those labels that best represent the typicity of the grape that they are produced from. ProPapilla’s mission consists of enhancing the South Italian oenology for the safeguard of that cultural heritage that makes agro-food products appreciated. Under the name of Radici, the Association arranges all sorts of initiatives that support the production of wine from native grapes, with the aim of spreading the high quality of the South Italian labels, enhancing their profile and offering opportunities for visibility within both national and international markets looking for authentic products able to express the territory they come from.
This year, 129 wineries from Southern Italy have entered into the competition and I know for myself, when I attended in 2012, it was an amazing and fascinating experience.
And going back to our original statement, why is Nicola so important?
He is one of the few people in Southern Italy who is working to unite all the Southern regions in highlighting to the world, just how special the native varities they have in their own back yard.
Forza Nicola I say and let’s hope that Radici del Sud is still as relevant and important for Southern Italian wine in the future, because the landscape would be much different without him.