Welcome to Episode 1721 on Italian Wine Podcast, Masterclass US Wine Market With Juliana Colangelo. Today she moderates a wine2wine Business Forum 2023 session entitled “Ciao, Massican: The Italian wine grape revolution in America (or California)” with Dan Petroski
Americans’ fascination with Italian culture stems from a blend of historical, culinary, and artistic ties. Significant Italian immigration to the U.S. has forged deep-rooted communities that celebrate their rich heritage. Italian cuisine, emphasizing essential, fresh ingredients and communal dining, resonates universally, as the “la dolce vita” lifestyle beckons many. Through films, literature, and travel, Italy’s blend of history, culture, and natural beauty continues to captivate Americans.
The term “Cal-Ital” refers to California wines made from Italian grape varieties. It’s a playful combination of “California” and “Italian.” The term has been used to describe the wave of interest in planting and producing wines from Italian grape varieties in California. The term gained popularity in wine circles in the 1990s and early 2000s. During this period, winemakers experimented with small batches to bottle a multitude of grape varieties, but one variety, Pinot Grigio, came out on top.
During this session, Dan Petroski will talk about the trajectory of the Massican label – from its inception to its recent (September 2023) sale to Gallo – and how the brand embodies the Cal-Ital spirit.
More about Dan Petroski:
A decade into his publishing career at Time Inc., Dan Petroski took a moment to reflect and he jettisoned to Italy for a year. While Petroski's intention was to return to New York, a harvest invitation in 2006 to come to California was too good to pass up. After harvest, Petroski was hired at Napa's Larkmead as cellar master, ultimately claiming the winemaker title in 2012. Petroski spent nearly 15 years at Larkmead, cementing his status as a top-tier Napa Valley Cabernet winemaker; during that period Petroski launched a white wine only brand called Massican, an ode to the Mediterranean and Petroski's time spent living in Italy and drinking white wine. Petroski's approach and ability to craft wines as diverse as Cabernet Sauvignon and Tocai Friulano has earned him perfect 100-point scores, Top 100 wines, recognition as San Francisco Chronicle's Winemaker of the Year in 2017 and Food & Wine magazine's Drinks Innovator of the Year in 2022.
More about Juliana Colangelo:
Juliana Colangelo is a Vice President at Colangelo & Partners, the leading wine and spirits communications agency in the U.S. Juliana joined Colangelo & Partners in 2013 with previous experience in events, hospitality, and nonprofit development. During her tenure at C&P, Juliana has led the development of the California office, growing the agency’s domestic presence to a dedicated office of 13 people with representation of leading wine companies such as Jackson Family Wines, Far Niente, Charles Krug Winery, Foley Family Wines and more. Juliana has completed her WSET Level 3 and her eMBA in Wine Business with Sonoma State University, allowing her to bring a strategic and sales-oriented approach to communications strategy for the agency. In 2021, Juliana was named one of PR News’ Top Women in PR in the “Rising Stars” category. In 2022 Juliana became a Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador.