Everything You Need to Know About EXPO 2015 and the Wine Pavilion

The Wine Pavillion Expo 2015

Last Friday EXPO 2015 finally opened the doors to visitors from all over the world.
I say “finally” because it has been a fight back and forth between optimists and pessimists: in the last six months I kept reading that everything was still under construction and would never be ready on time from some sources and that everything was perfectly on track from other sources.

Friday everything started. And it seems like it’s a success. Yes, some things still have to be completed. And yes: there were several people arrested because of frauds in the last months. But visitors are coming in and their feedbacks are positive. And this is happening because many people worked hard to get it started and will be working hard for the next six months until the event is over.

The theme of this edition is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, tackling the problems of nutrition and the sources of our planet. 140 countries joined the World Expo, back in Milan after 1906, and 20 million visitors are expected to attend the event (10 million tickets have already been sold).

The Exhibition is located north-west of Milan, about 30 minutes from the three train stations in the city and easily reachable from the airport of Malpensa, Linate and Orio al Serio. Click here for more information on how to reach the Expo from the airport and from Milan.

Even if it is a long trip to get to Milan, the effort is worthwhile: I’m already finding several comments on social media about the amazing global food experience you can have at the event, such as this one:
Expo Experience Comment Facebook
The comment above is a great example of how a foodie can find his/her own paradise at EXPO: “Yesterday I had lunch in the South Korean pavilion, dinner in the Qatar’s pavilion and dessert in the Dutch pavilion, a great pleasure for my taste buds”.

When it comes to food, the Italian tradition always brings wine as a necessary companion.
Indeed, in the exhibition you can find the Wine Pavilion, designed by Italo Rota, a major figure in international architecture: there is a Wine Library to taste bottles from all regions of Italy, and an on-line Winery to purchase the wines you like. It’s a very wide offering of 1,400 wines and spirits, from small wineries in relatively unknown regions to big names of the industry: it’s a real showcase of the Italian biodiversity, with wines made from 594 different grape varieties (Source: D’Agata Ian, Native Wine Grapes of Italy. University of California Press, Berkley, 2014). Along with the Wine Library, there are several wine tastings with sommeliers and educational events scheduled.

You can get a taste of the pavilion through the photos in the gallery, courtesy of Foto Ennevi Verona:

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Past, present and future of Italian wine history through the five senses is the key concept of the pavilion: Enotria, “the land of vines”, is the name commonly used  for the Italian peninsula two thousand years ago, because of the huge number of grape varieties available (one third of the existing varieties).

A collection of historical wine-related artefacts from Magna Greece to present as well as mythological characters in video cartoons are the topics of the educational project targeted to children, so that families can enjoy the experience all together.

The Rooms

As you can see from the pictures, there are several rooms that deserve to be described one by one:

  1. Domus Vini: the tour of the wine pavilion starts with an invite to download the app “VINO – A Taste of Italy” and take a 5-question test to define your Italian wine profile. After that, a huge vault decorated with the Tree of Life and Vines representing all 594 Italian grape varieties opens on to two smaller settings: one reminiscent of Etruscan and Roman decorations and the other of the Middle Ages.
  2. Hall of Glass and the Colors of Wine: this room is dedicated to the colors of wine with 12 crystal jars to represent them. A collection from the Lungarotti Wine Museum in Torgiano completes the room.
  3. The Tunnel of Wine Cellars and Wine Perfumes: this room is dedicated to the perfumes of wine in a wine cellar. Visitors can enjoy the bouquet and typical perfumes of grape and wine, all surrounded by a Caravaggio’s gigantic fresco representing Bacchus.
  4. Sea of Wine – The Final Toast: this room is characterized by a Roman impluvium with a marble basin filled with wine and screens on the ceiling representing cinema’s most famous toasts (such as Visconti’s Leopard and Losey’s Don Giovanni).
  5. Wine and Territory – A Spectacular Explosion: in this room visitors enter the future. The main components of this room are spectacular views of planets and satellites representing the Italian regions with their respective DOC and DOCG wines and a special bottle of Sassicaia: a 2000 vintage, which was taken into orbit during a space mission. Visitors leaving the pavilion are greeted by the statue of Shakespeare’s Juliet, loaned by the City of Verona. The visitors who want to enjoy the wines, can move on to the first floor.
  6. The Wine Store of the Future (First Floor): an helical structure made of metal and barrique wood brings the visitors to the Wine Store, designed to resemble a Wine Library, where they can taste all the 1,400 wines under the guidance of expert sommeliers and the app. Everyone can rate and comment all wines through the app as well as purchase them (powered by Vinitaly Wine Club e-commerce platform). The bottles of wine are available in modern Enomatic wine dispensers we already saw at Vinitaly in the Doctor Wine’s room.

The App

Based on three key actions – Taste, Explore and Shop – the app works pretty neatly. You can get a sense of it through the following screenshots:

Every user can complete the Italian Wine Profile, answering questions related to flavors, aromas and colors that he/she usually prefers; based on the results, the app suggests the six bottles of wine that best fit with the profile. By setting the option At the Expo or Not at the Expo, the app guides the users through two different experiences; the combination of physical visit and interaction with the app makes the experience more enjoyable and allows foreign visitors to purchase the wines they liked without the hassle of transportation.

Do you have a direct experience at the event or any thoughts about it? Share them on social media or in the comments!

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