Italyabroad.com goes a long way back, well beyond 2003 when it actually began, and is the result of growing up in a family where the women in the house, mum and grandma, would cook a fresh meal everyday and the men, dad and granddad, would look after the elds and vineyards and provide, together with mum and grandma, the whole family with wine and olive oil plus fresh vegetables. This is where it all started and where Andrea, the founder, became passionate about food and wine. Following his travels all over Europe and beyond, Andrea decided to leave the corporate world and follow his passion and dream, importing and selling authentic Italian wine and food into the UK.
The idea behind Italyabroad.com was, and still is, to import Italian wine and food made from small producers, no mass produced because of their lower quality and no branded products because of their extra “brand” cost, same quality without any extra costs. Simply put, Andrea believes that small producers oer the best value for money and by buying from small roducers, we would have respected the environment and supported the families behind it, no corporations, but real people, like us
Italyabroad.com started with a portfolio of 2 wineries, 8 wines in total, from Abruzzo, the region where Andrea was born, no money and a lot of faith and belief. Italyabroad.com wasn’t only a website, but was and still is also a wholesaler, selling wine to restaurants and hotels, and with a couple of bottles as samples and a pair of new shoes, the adventure started. The beginning wasn’t easy, very few people believed in Andrea’s principles, wine and especially Italian wine isn’t a straight forward subject. Italy makes a lot of wine, including a lot of poor quality wine and trying to explain the dierence between a good and a bad wine wasn’t easy, the most common response from restaurateurs was “people don’t care about the wine the drink” and “you won’t last, you are a dreamer”, we are pleased we proved them wrong, and supermarket shelves are full of cheap wine with Italian names made expressly for them, the food was even more dicult, unfortunately we spend more on our dog or cat food than our own.
During our 14 years and counting, life has not been easy, we have seen a deep recession and a few more downs, but we stuck to our beliefs and principles and never compromised, not only we believe eating and drinking is a pleasure but also in importing only the best quality, after all what we eat and drink aects our everyday life, from our mood to our health. During this time, to our initial 2 wineries from Abruzzo, plenty more have been added, and the very few times we have entered competitions we always won, the last time we did, in 2012, we entered the Sommeliers Wine Awards and not only we come home with 4 gold medals out of only 6 wines entered, the other 2 won silver, but were also awarded Best Newcomer Wine Merchant of the year from the UK Sommeliers Association, not because we were new, but simply because we had never entered the competition before and were not based in London, but entering competitions is very expensive and neither us or our suppliers think it is worthwhile.
Nowadays there are too many competitions and the results are very often contradictory, awards in one and nothing in another. It is like winning a lottery, and the only way to increase your chances of winning is to enter plenty of wines in all competitions, this is what supermarkets and big retailers do, eventually some will win.
We also don’t believe and therefore buy wines simply because they are organic or have any other certication or because they were rated high by one of the too many wine experts, we buy wines because we think they are good. For every wine we add in our portfolio we have probably tasted over 100. Certications are not cheap and not all our producers can aord it, but we can guarantee that all our wineries look after the vines and the wines are as healthy as possible. We think that a good wine is a good wine independently of the certication, there are plenty of poor organically certied wines, as well as poor non certied wines. The same is true for our food, it is all made by small producers using only natural ingredients, without any codes or numbers in their ingredient lists.
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