Who are the #winelovers?
People around the world sharing a passion for wine, invested in social media to facilitate greater communication, education, and promote wine based business for all the facets of the wine industry, from vineyard to glass. Some of this people are the new influencers in the web, with tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, or friends in Facebook. Luiz Alberto is a founder of this community, and also a Master of Wine candidate. We interviewed him about his passion for Italian wine”.

How do you view the potential of Italian wine in your country in terms of market potential?
I believe that Americans drink more Italian wines today than Italians themselves. Pinot Grigio has been a best seller for quite some time now, but Prosecco and Moscato have helped to increase sales (mainly among young consumers). The volume is already considerable, but there’s still room for growth in the US.

How do you think Italian producers can improve their performance in your country? What do you suggest?
Be there! Get to know your customers. And, by “be there”, I don’t mean that the producers need to fly to the US all the time. They can interact with their current and/or future customers almost on a daily basis via social media at a very low cost. Some wineries are already doing that via Twitter and Facebook and I believe that they are achieving their goals.

Do you think that Internet and social media could help to re-shape the final consumer�s perception of Italian wine?
As I said on the previous questions, it’s not only a matter or re-shaping the perception… it’s also about making your presence felt. The millennials (people born in 1980 and later) are in the driver’s seat when we comes to the increase of the consumption of wine in the US. Social media plays a big role in their lives and, evidently, it will influence their decision making process when it comes to purchasing wine.

What do you think of the quality/price ratio of Italian wines?
I don’t like generalizations that much. There are Italian wines that have extremely good value and there are Italian wines that are much more expensive than they should be. With that being said, Italy offers a wide variety of styles of wine. The consumer will always find a wine of good quality that he/she enjoys for a price that will not break the bank.

Which qualities do you personally appreciate most in Italian wines?
Diversity and uniqueness are at the top of my list. However, I think I have to mention “deliciousness”. Some Italian wines are simply yummy… and I love to drink them!

What is your advice to Italian producers looking to enter your market?
The American market is in reality 51 different markets (50 states + DC) with different rules and behaviors. Get to know your audience and the cultural and legal aspects for each market (state) that you have plans to sell your product. If you don’t do that, there’s almost a certainty that you will not succeed.