I have readers ask me all the time about finding particular Italian wines – some of these are the wines I write about, while others are wines that readers have encountered. Thus I thought I’d mention a few things about this process.
I write about wines that impress me and often these are from small estates; thus it will be difficult to find these wines throughout the United States. Some producers don’t even export their wines to the States, due to limited production or legal paperwork, but most do. But most cannot supply a national importer that needs enough wine for restaurant and retail chains as well as hotels and clubs. So it’s the small importers that handle a lot of the finest Italian wines.
This means that you might find a particular wine in the New York City area as well as other major markets such as Chicago and San Francisco. Or there might be a small estate that only has two or three importers across the country, so you could only find their wines in places such as North Carolina, California or Florida. It’s different with every estate.
I choose to write about the best and most interesting wines from Italy to let readers get a better understanding of what the Italian wine industry is all about. If I only wrote about wines that had national distribution, I’d be limiting myself to the same 200-300 wines again and again. Very nice estates, mind you, but when you realize the thousands of wine producers in Italy, you know why I do it this way.
In short, there are two ways I recommend when you need to find a particular wine in the U.S. (assuming it is available). One is to ask a good local retailer in your area, especially one that carries many small estates from Italy (and the rest of the world). The second is to do a google search, listing the producer and wine. You’d be surprised how many sites you’ll find that might carry the wine and have it for sale over the internet.
If you don’t find a particular wine, try something similar. Italian wine is all about variety and local traditions, so you’ll probably discover something exciting!