September 27, 2023

Episode #707 – Atri (Italy) Chose You!

Things have been going swimmingly for David Wilson lately, ever since he moved to the medieval village of Atri in Italy’s Abruzzo region-a somewhat obscure and substantial section of Mideastern Italy where American consumers are concerned. It was an unexpected and daring decision that meant living off the beaten path, distanced from many of Italy’s more renowned regions, like Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. It was, however, an opportunity to observe and participate in a regional culture that you typically won’t find in travel brochures.

Wine enthusiasts have undoubtedly encountered the beautiful wines of Abruzzo, including the remarkably delicious and inexpensive Montepulciano D’Abruzzo red, but few could’ve predicted that Abruzzo was about to take center stage in the worldwide wine community literally overnight. It was all due to Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s announcement of their prestigious Wine Region of the Year Award, an epic and unexpected honor. Suddenly, instead of asking, “Why Abruzzo,” David’s friends and colleagues were saying, “Wow! Abruzzo!” On Grape Encounters Radio Episode 707, David explores how his all-new life in this beautiful Italian countryside came to be without a lot of research, planning or expectations.

When David first arrived at the beginning of 2022, the transition was difficult, if not terrifying at first, due to language barriers and cultural differences. But soon enough, David managed to assimilate into the welcoming Abruzzo community with the help of local friends and the occasional Google Translate. Just one week before the Wine Enthusiast announcement, David responded to his ringing doorbell and was surprised to find a lovely woman named Luigia standing at the door, holding a very substantial gift basket. Although they had only had just a few conversations up to that point, she wanted David to know that the entire town was grateful for his presence and thanked him accordingly with this thoughtful gesture.

During their conversation, Luigia made an interesting comment: “David, you may think that you chose Atri, but the truth is, Atri chose you.” It was a deeply metaphysical statement which left David in deep thought as he reflected on how quickly he went from living in America to residing in rural Italy without any prior research or expectations.

The unexpected turn of events – coupled with the generous hospitality of the Abruzzese people – has made his experience in Italy one to remember. On this episode of Grape Encounters Radio, David reminisces about his uncharacteristically spontaneous decision and how it has been rewarding and full of surprises, both professionally as well as personally.

This edition of Grape Encounters has been brought to you by Total Wine & More. Absolutely nobody makes great wines, spirits, and beer from around the globe more accessible and affordable than Total Wine & More. Whether you’re an expert, a sommelier in training, or just a wine-loving consumer that could do without all the jargon, Total Wine & More speaks your language. Find what you love. Love what you find at Total Wine & More, or visit Total And please, be 21!

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