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About GreatVine & Thomas Soliman

GreatVine was formed to re-educate the market in Ireland and the first step in doing that, is to import the finest selection of Prosecco and the various varieties of it from the best of the high quality and Artisan producers that we know intimately and work with in the Veneto Region of Italy.

Thomas M.Soliman

Thomas is the founder of GreatVine wine import agency, with a 37 year International career in the hospitality industry from the Middle East to Europe. having moved to live in Northern Ireland after 20 years working in the hospitality industry in Venice, Italy.  In 5 star hotels on the Grand Canal, he was famous for making the best Bellini cocktails in the city and was featured in Italy’s leading Hospitality publication ‘HD Magazine’ for his Bellini and Rossini cocktails where they also referred to him as a ‘Grande Professiontista’ – meaning a great professional.

What is Prosecco

Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine made from Glera grapes and grown in the Province of Treviso in the Veneto region of North East Italy.

Prosecco is produced in the Province of Treviso North of Venice. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is made with the Charmat method of producing sparkling wine,  in which the second fermentation takes place in pressurised tanks rather than in the bottle.  The first fermentation produces a still wine, and the bubbles are put in during the second fermentation in the autoclave or steel tanks. The shorter, less labour intensive method is ideal for Prosecco as it preserves the crisp, young, fresh flavor of the grapes and keeps it affordable. Time in the bottle is not a good thing for Prosecco, unlike Champagne. This is why many Prosecco producers will bottle several times a year so that the Prosecco is kept as fresh at it can be, rather than bottling their entire production at one time.  Prosecco is known as the main ingredient of the Bellini cocktail and has more recently become popular as a less expensive substitute for Champagne, but also as an alternative to those who find champagne too dry or acidic.

Raboso from the Piave Region

Raboso – Signature Red of the Veneto Region

They love this wine in the USA but you’ll never find it on a wine list in Ireland!

Raboso is without a doubt the signature red wine of the Veneto region of Italy, mostly grown in the low lying coastal region around the Piave river which flows through the Veneto’s eastern Treviso Province. This is a full bodied red deep in colour with plenty of tannins, but it is more often than not made to be slightly ‘frizzante’ (fizzy). This is why it drinks really easily even when served slightly chilled, which it is in the heat of the summer in Italy and it is served in a carafe in most Italian restaurants as ‘sfuso’ or loose wine. More often if you order a carafe of loose wine in the area, this is what you will be drinking and it’s really really good!

Thomas and Dogarina Harvest

Thomas Hands on at Harvest

A community effort

‘Vendemmia’ is the Italian word for harvest. It usually happens between July and October in Italy. Thomas of GrapeVine has worked for neighbouring vineyards offering a helping hand at harvest time. It really is a community effort with lots of helping hands coming from friends and family who live locally. Everyone works hard under the blazing sun, but are usually rewarded back in the cantina with a glass of something good enough to quench the thirst.

Dessert wines Isola di Pantellerìa

Dessert Wine from Italy

The Famous Sicilian Island ‘Isola di Pantelleria’

Some of Italy’s best sweet wines come from a Mediterranean, volcanic island just 60 km from Tunisia.  The island is only 15 km long but home to some of the world’s most unique vineyards.  In addition to high summer temperatures, moderated by the surrounding sea, the most distinctive element in its terroir is the strong hot, scirocco winds that come out of Africa on their way to Sicily and southern Italy.   The dry heat of Pantelleria is perfect for producing the sun-dried Zibibbo grapes used to make the delicious sweet wine Passito di Pantelleria.

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