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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 80, December 2009   
In Memory of Luigi VeronelliIn Memory of Luigi Veronelli  Contents 
Issue 79, November 2009 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 81, January 2010

In Memory of Luigi Veronelli


 November 29th, 2009 represents a significative date for everyone being interested in wine and for whom, without having the pretension to be compared to his greatness, wish to remember one of the most important figures of the job of “writing about wine”: Luigi Veronelli. This date in fact represents the fifth anniversary of the passing of the great Luigi “Gino” Veronelli, a master and a reference for anyone who - today - writes about wine, trying to spread the culture of wine and enogastronomy. Considered as the pioneer of wine journalism, Luigi Veronelli was - with no doubt - the indisputable master and reference for most of the people who write about wine today. Master of many, with no doubt, and still today being unequaled - frankly speaking, hard to surpass - if we consider the quality and the style of most of the reports, books and comments we read about wine.


 

 Luigi Veronelli had his style, unmistakable and frank, something being absolutely personal, something which certainly contributed to make his greatness as a journalist and as someone who write about wine and gastronomy. The style of Luigi Veronelli was his style and no one else's. It makes one smile, as not say something even worse, whoever tries to “emulate” that style - but we should better say, to copy - which in the “pen” of others simply looks like ridiculous and inappropriate, like a large and immense dress wore by someone who is clearly slender and thin, very thin. Because in that style, so personal, there also was something more, there was the courage to say things the way they were, the courage of also saying what many, too many, did not like to listen. Moreover, there was the courage and the frankness of doing, to do for real, not only with words, but also with facts. And if we look to what we see today, who is capable of showing that courage and that frankness, that honesty to say things, in absolute freedom, even at the cost of his or her own freedom? No one.

 We should not forget Luigi Veronelli always had this courage, a courage he also paid with jail and with the exclusion from the scenes of Italian television. In 1957, for having translated and published “Historiettes, Contes et Fabliaux” written by Marquis De Sade, he was sentenced to three months in jail for publication of obscene material. All the copies of that book were burned, in the yard of police headquarter in Varese, the last burning of books done by Italian censorship. A decision which would make everyone laugh today, by considering the doubt morality and the obscenities brutalizing our society almost daily. He was also sentenced to six months in jail and accused of having incited Piedmontese farmers - who then occupied the train station of Santo Stefano Belbo, Cuneo - only for having told them production disciplinary of wines mainly favored the interests and the monopoly of industries instead of the ones of farmers. And Veronelli did not have good feeling towards industrial products. One of his most famous opinions is in fact «the worst wine of a peasant is better than the best industrial wine». A provocation, a clear support for quality and authenticity.

 Luigi Veronelli has always expressed his ideas for the support - sincere and passionate - of the world of wine and gastronomy. In particular of anyone being really and practically involved in the surviving of earth, of peasant world and the support of their products. Among his last battles, the support of “Denominazioni Comunali” (Communal Denominations) of gastronomical products, self-certification, source price and olive oil, conducted together with many social centers, as well as having contributed to the project “Terra e Libertà/Critical Wine”. In particular, the proposal of “source price” is very interesting, something which certainly commercial firms involved in wine business do not like. The idea of “source price” invites producers to write in labels the price to which they sell their wines to distributors, therefore “forcing” an ethical and honest price policy, while understanding there must be a profit for anyone offering the service of wine distribution, including restaurants and wine shops.

 Luigi Veronelli was born in Milan, in Isola quarter, on February 2nd, 1926. He graduated in philosophy, he was assistant of Emanuele Bariè and worked with Lelio Basso. He was also involved in politics, professing for all of his life an anarchic faith. Characterized by a personal and innovative journalistic style, he invented - for the world of wine - neologisms today widely used, such as “meditation wine”. Luigi Veronelli has given Italy - being the first in this regard - the conscience of the greatness of their products, including, of course, wine. And he has also been the first one to start the “job of writing about wine”, an essential contribution which allowed anyone to start a field today considered fashionable, such as enogastronomy and wine. Considered as a “Master” by many, Luigi Veronelli had many disciples, some of them continuing today to praise his job and his “teachings”, some have completely denied him, in any case, no one has been as great as he was.

 He was the first one to start a new course for information, by making Italian people understand the richness of our territory, Luigi Veronelli was also involved in the world of television. Among his most famous TV shows, a memory for those having today an age, like to say, considered as mature, “A tavola alle sette” together with Ave Ninchi, the great Italian actress who had, among the many things, a strong passion for cuisine. Luigi Veronelli - “Gino”, the name his friends used to call him - was capable of starting passionate debates also by using an intelligent polemics and provocation, qualities which gave him some “opponents”. Five years have passed since the day Luigi Veronelli has passed away, but he left us a remarkable heritage, his teachings and his honest frankness in saying what he thought. As a free man, because he truly lived as a free man. And today, we truly miss men like him, and not only in the world of wine and gastronomy. Five years have passed since Luigi Veronelli passed away, and we would like - with this modest and little contribution - to remember him and to thank him for everything he did for wine and food journalism and for Italian wine. Thank you again, Gino.

 




   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 80, December 2009   
In Memory of Luigi VeronelliIn Memory of Luigi Veronelli  Contents 
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