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Welcome to the Jumbo Shrimp Guide to International Varieties in Italy. This guide is the second in our series of instant books designed to give bite-sized guides to big topics.
This is why we named the series “Jumbo Shrimp” an oxymoron that slowly the authors are coming to accept! In this book we wanted to explore a topic that is often overlooked, the so-called international grape varieties in Italy.
The fashion has always been to ignore these grapes and wines, and yet they are fundamental to Italy and some of its greatest, most recognised and celebrated wines. As a result, we thought it was about time that someone started the conversation and gave these varieties some attention, as I like to say, share the love! Of course, one of the first things we had to tackle when started this book was what actually constitutes an “international” grape and how on earth did they find themselves in Italy?
Fortunately, the Jumbo Shrimp team are privileged to have as their friend and colleague renowned Italian wine historian and geneticist Prof Attilio Scienza, and we couldn’t have produced this guide without his invaluable knowledge and guidance. Although, Jacopo and Rebecca did have to “Jumbo Shrimp” some of the information he provided! Inevitably, given the global nature of the topic we had to start at the beginning and consider what makes these varieties international and ask why so many of them happened to be French.
Similarly, at the end of the guide we thought it would be fun to look at what Italian varieties that are slowly making their mark in other places! Although this book does occasionally become a bit geekier, as is unavoidable when explore topics like genetics and origins, the aim that is the foundation of Jumbo Shrimp remains the same; useful information, but also fun facts and some frivolities. Educating whilst also amusing.
As ever our aim is not to make you an expert with this book, instead we hope it will be a starting point for your continuing journey with wine. Although the book doesn’t need to be read from chapter by chapter, we hope that it does represent the journey and gradual growth experienced by international varieties. To finish our story, we even provide some insightful data about the trends in the planting of the key grapes that I think readers will find intriguing, especially looking at those grapes that are seeing quick popularity or decline, a keen insight into how much the market can fluctuate.
Even for a small book like this, there was an incredible amount of work that goes into it by every member of the team. Whilst the authors are often in the spotlight, the Jumbo Shrimp guides would not be possible without the amusing illustrations of the talented Silvia, or the editorial overseeing of Andrea who continues to oversee and manage these guides with infinite patience.
As we did with the first book, Jumbo Shrimp Guide to Italian Wine, this too will be broadcasted into a dedicated audio series Jumbo Shrimp via Italian Wine Podcast so tune into to your Soundcloud, Spotify, or any of your favourite podcasting platforms. We are even available in China via Himalaya. Your feedback is very important for us. Our efforts spreading the gospel are persistent and constant but we could really use your support.
Please ping us with your questions, comments, suggestions as we look forward to growing and making any thoughtful adjustments. Look out for us also on TikTok (@mammajumboshrimp) for some extra fun and on Clubhouse (@winepodcast @steviekim) to engage with our casual but rigorous conversation with our community. We love Italian wine, and we hope this book helps you continue your journey around the Italian wine regions…