We interview Jennifer Gentile  worked in the wine industry for 5 years promoting and selling wines to the public. She took a break for a few years to dedicate to learning the Italian language. Now, she writes a blog, Vino Travels, where she focus on promoting Italian wines and educating the world. Her goal is to become certified near the end of the year as an Italian Wine Specialist through NASA.

How do you view the potential of Italian wine in your country in terms of market potential?
There is tons of potential for Italian wine in the USA market due to the USA being one of the leading importing countries for Italian wines, but the problem is with educating the USA. There are the popular wines that folks are familiar with like Brunello, Chianti Classico, Prosecco, Barolo, etc., but exposing the other indigenous varieties of the country that carry a great value is where the market is lacking.

How do you think Italian producers can improve their performance in your country?  What do you suggest?
Marketing the brands and building relationships to get their brands recognized in the USA is crucial. With the Internet today there are many ways to network and establish those connections. Staying true to the winery’s traditions, but being able to make that known outside of Italy is key to more brand recognition.

What do you think of the quality/price ratio of Italian wines?
I believe the value is one of the greatest potentials of Italian wines in the US market. There are plenty of great quality wines for $15 and under and even the more expensive wines are high quality for their price range.

What qualities do you personally appreciate most in Italian wines? 
Personally I love Italian wines for the roots and traditions behind each of the wines that are established in each winery and region. Each winery has such an amazing history and hearing the stories and matching them with the wines creates a wonderful experience. I love the different characteristics that make the wine from each region unique.

Please mention the potential of which white varieties and which red varieties do best in your market.
I think there is a great potential for whites from the northern wine regions in Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Outside of the well known reds in the US I think that Siciliy has some potential with grapes like nero d’avola.

What is your advice to Italian producers looking to enter your market?
Marketing and pricing are two areas to focus on to be successful in the US market. Outside of traditional marketing there are plenty of free methods in terms of networking and getting more known on the internet via blogs, social media (twitter, linkedin), forums, wine groups and associations.

Describe your blog 
I started Vino Travels in April of 2013 with the goal of my site being to promote Italian wines throughout the world. I believe there are many Italian wine regions and indigenous grapes that are not well known and that carry great quality and value. My ancestral roots are Italian as well and through my journeys throughout Italy I have met wonderful winemakers and the families that work hard to keep true to their traditions and to produce such fantastic wines. It is my mission to expose these folks and others I encounter along the way.