The SOMM Journal

February / March 2017

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Page 77 of 116

{ }  77 In the early 1970s a group of biologists moved five pairs of Italian wall lizards to a new home on a neighboring island. After just 30 or so years, their findings showed "rapid and large-scale evolutionary changes" simply by changing the lizards' environment. National Director of Banfi's Cru Artisan Wines portfolio Lars Leicht has been a lot of things—journalist, brand ambassador, translator, PR man, Italian food and wine expert—but not a biolo- gist; still, the mastermind behind Cru Artisan College has somehow managed to accomplish very much the same thing with his group of winemakers and traveling educational tasting. Except it's the program that has adapted at an astonishing rate, not the Italian lizards—whoops, I mean already perfect Italian winemakers. For the past three years, Cru Artisan College (CAC) has consisted of a four-city tour in which a band of winemakers from Banfi's Cru Artisan Wines portfolio lead an entire day's worth of buzzworthy educational seminars. There are also food pairings with local guest chefs and cash prizes for blind tastings, making CAC one of the most interactive, thorough trade tastings to tour the U.S. "It's the next best thing apart from actually visiting the vineyards," says Leicht. Those of us at The Tasting Panel and The Somm Journal have been involved from the very beginning. As our wine editors will tell you, it's really more of an experience than educational tasting; yet, each year Leicht has still found room to improve, fine-tuning this experience. 2017 CRU ARTISAN COLLEGE DATES! MAY 1 WASHINGTON, D.C. MAY 2 CHICAGO MAY 3 SAN FRANCISCO For complete, updated information go to Contact Events Director Becky Tsadik to reserve your spot, and/or for more information at $50 tuition fee. Scholarships available. PHOTO: FELIX SANCHEZ Enrico Cerulli, family proprietor of Cerulli Spinozzi, representing Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, at the University of Houston in Houston, TX.

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