Meet Alessandro Masnaghetti

- Mr Map Man is coming to Stockholm to Festa del Chianti Classico

Alessandro Masnaghetti is famous worldwide for his wine maps and his detailed work on Italian wine regions. Meet the man who went from being a wine writer and trying thousands of wines a year to becoming Mr Map Man - and who is coming to Sweden for the first time for Festa del Chianti Classico.

Alessandro Masnaghetti is one of Italy's most famous wine writers and cartographers. His detailed wine maps of Barolo, Barbaresco and Chianti Classico are a must-have for anyone who works with and loves wine.

But how do you become one of the wine world's most famous cartographers?

Alessandro Masnaghetti loved maps from an early age. His dream as a little boy was to drive a car from Italy to Sweden and Norway. After school, he enjoyed studying maps of European highways for hours. Little did he know that maps would have such an important place in his future life.

He came to the wine world by chance because it was food that was his first considerable interest.

"I graduated as a nuclear engineer and then had to do my military service in Sabaudia, south of Rome. There was nothing to do there, so I had fun eating at restaurants and writing reviews about them, mostly for fun," he says.

In the late eighties, there were three primary food and wine guides in Italy. The Michelin guide, Espresso and Veronelli, whose creator is the now cult wine and food critic Luigi Veronelli. He was the first to tell and write about wine in a new and modern way in Italy. These were years when Italy took a step away from producing simple table wines to become a name reckoned with on the international wine scene.

Alessandro sent a letter to Luigi Veronelli with one of his restaurant reviews but did not expect a reply. Against all odds, he got it—a handwritten answer from Luigi Veronelli.

"Luigi Veronelli wrote that I would contact him when I was done with the military service and invited me to lunch. I could not believe it was true!"

When the year in the army was over, Alessandro called Veronelli, who wanted to invite Alessandro to lunch.

"When I got there, one of the guests was a young lady, a lady who today is my wife!", Says Alessandro and smiles big.

After that, Alessandro Masnaghetti started writing for Luigi Veronelli and eventually also for Espresso. For twenty-five years, he travelled around Italy, tasting thousands of wines a year.

"In the mid-2000s, I was tired of trying wine. It was always the same thing that was repeated time and time again. I could not bear to try 100 wines a day. The story was always the same, and I was bored."

He decided to focus more on Italy's different terroirs instead of describing what was in the glass.

"To be able to talk about terroir, I needed maps, something that I noticed did not exist to any great extent," he says.

In 2005, he started making his own.

"I made my first map back in 1994 of Barbaresco. Luigi Veronelli was enthusiastic and printed thousands of copies, but it sold nothing, maybe fifty copies. It was too early for both Italy and the international wine market. "

Ten years later, the situation was different. The interest in wine increased in Italy, and people looked for new knowledge. Alessandro started making a newsletter, Enogea, which developed into a website and a publisher. He got the feeling that wine maps could also be of interest.

"The Italian wine producers also started to travel more internationally and needed a map to show where they came from and tell about their region's conditions in a neutral way," he says.


To highlight Chianti Classico's varied conditions, one of Italy's most well-known wine journalists, Alessandro Masnaghetti, is coming to Sweden for the first time. It is Alessandro, also known as "Mr Map Man", who made the world-famous maps from Barolo, Barbaresco - and Chianti Classico. He is a sought-after lecturer around the world due to his detailed knowledge of Italy's different wine districts.

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The maps were a success and are sold today to knowledge-hungry wine lovers around the world. Alessandro Masnaghetti is also a diligent and internationally acclaimed lecturer and to be able to listen to one of his lectures is pure joy.

But how does he go about making the maps? Where does he start?

"My way of working has changed a lot because today there is a new technology that makes my work easier. At the start, satellite images were not reliable, and I had to go to the regions and make sure that what I set out as a vineyard was not a hazelnut crop," he says and laughs.

When he goes to the wine regions, he visits between nine and ten producers a day. A visit may take a maximum of 45 minutes. (How is that possible in Italy?) But it is still essential to visit the producers and find out details about soil, sun exposure and altitude.

"I visit all the wine producers in the regions that I map, at least once but often three or four times. I want to be neutral and not favour certain producers. "

Today, it takes about five months to make a map compared to at least one year at the start.

But what has he learned during his years of cartography?

"I have learned to appreciate the landscape. By looking at the landscape, you get almost all the answers. A piece of advice is to look at vineyards from a distance and different angles, not to walk in the middle of the vines ", he says.

He also says that many people only look at his maps, but the back is at least as important, if not more important.

"It contains the most important information I have gathered. So a tip is to start by reading on the back, then look at the map and, if you can, visit the wine regions. But not everyone has the opportunity to do so, so I have made it possible to visit vineyards and areas on my website enogea virtually ", he says.

Alessandro Masnaghetti's childhood dream is finally coming true. He comes to Stockholm and Sweden for the first time. Meet Alessandro Masnaghetti at the Festa del Chianti Classico at The Winery Hotel in Stockholm on 21 and 22 January.

Written by: Åsa Johansson

Text: Tamara Sundstedt
Publicerat: 21 october, 2021
Updated: 21 october, 2021

Tamara Sundstedt


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