Via Vino, Mattia Spedicato's new project in Copenhagen

Originally from Salento, the sommelier of restaurant Geranium tells us about his new business in Denmark showcasing small Italian wine producers

31-05-2021
Three of the four partners at Via Vino, the newly

Three of the four partners at Via Vino, the newly born importer and sales business specialised in Italian wines and founded by the guys at Geranium, the 3-starred restaurant in Copenhagen. Left to right: Soren Orbek Ledet (sommelier and co-owner at Geranium), Mattia Spedicato (sommelier) and Andrea Sala, (assistant head sommelier). With them, there's also Michael Rendebaek Soerensen

Denmark has always been a country with a feeble connection to its culinary tradition. This has made it possible for the Danes to widen their horizons in terms of restaurant offer. In the world we know better, the dining room and the sommellerie, we've always wondered how could it be possible that our guests at Geranium had so much ease in handling the wine list.

Danes are keen to discover and be interested in other culinary and wine scenes because they enjoy going on holiday abroad. One of their favourite destinations is Italy and especially Valpolicella – very popular as it's very convenient when coming via Germany - Langhe and Tuscany. They buy homes here, celebrate their wedding in the vineyards, and they often import the wine they liked.

Indeed, every Danish citizen can easily obtain an importing license, thanks to a smooth bureaucracy. As a result, however, there's a huge competition between importers to be the first to get an important and high-quality wine and, then, to build the right clientele to succeed. The current gourmet status of Copenhagen has created a large group of connoisseurs: every day there's a quest for the novelties in the market. In some cases they “steal” these wines from other restaurants, and add them as an exclusive to their wine list.

Via Vino has a warehouse storage where clients can collect their order placed online. The location is: Øster Allè 48, Copenhagen

Via Vino has a warehouse storage where clients can collect their order placed online. The location is: Øster Allè 48, Copenhagen

Our job at Geranium allows us to taste wines from all around the world on an ongoing basis. So we got an idea during the lockdown: support, for what we can, deserving, serious producers, who focus on the high standards of their wines every day, generation after generation.

The project is called Via Vino. One of its main goals is to explain to Danish people that there's not just the red wines of Valpolicella, Langhe and Tuscany. At Geranium, clients rarely go beyond the classic Italian wineries, those that are known worldwide (unless we recommend trying something else). This is why we want to create more awareness with Italian wine, extend their interest beyond the usual denominations. Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world. It has a unique biodiversity, unlike any other country, including France. So why should we limit ourselves to stereotypes?

With Via Vino we would like to have a different approach: use our experience as sommeliers to guide clients in the different stages of their choice; not just customer service right after the purchase, but support even after the final choice is made. Why so? Because the wine world should not be a taboo or a category for few enlightened people. As dining room professionals, we have the duty to share our knowledge of the wine industry with our clients to improve their experience, their knowledge and culture.

We don't want just to sell wines, but to be ambassadors of our producers, give value to their work, display the Italian brand around the world. We want to guarantee that the sacrifices they make for their wines were not in vain. Of course, research and selection are crucial due to the competitive local market, paying attention to small family businesses, an expression of the territory, with integrated farming and organic certification, a proof of respect for nature.

How do we divide our tasks? I'm in charge of sales and front desk (I'm the one who's always talking too much!); Andrea Sala, assistant head sommelier at Geranium – is one of the youngest sommeliers I've ever met – selects the Italian gems; Soren Orbek Ledet, sommelier and co-owner at Geranium with Rasmus Kofoed, is responsible for public relations and events; my brother-in-law Michael Rendebaek Soerensen takes care of the legal part and of the bureaucracy (without his work, it would be a disaster).

On top of the daily tasks, we decided to create an online wine club, in honour of the great Luigi Veronelli. It's called Veronelli Wine Club and it's a monthly masterclass in which we select 3 wines per theme (for instance: aromatic, volcanic or Mediterranean wines). We illustrate their features and peculiarities through some research materials, which we simplify so that everyone can be interested. On top of that, every month our producers join us online to discuss their work with the participants.

On Friday 30th April Geranium opened again after a long time. Via Vino is a project separated from the restaurant. But this doesn't mean we will stop. In fact, the challenge will be to continue both projects in the best way we can.