Loris Scagliarini: A Brief Introduction
I was born and grew up in what used to be quite a small town, Castelfranco Emilia, in the Italian province of Modena, known around the world for being the hometown of the late opera singer, Luciano Pavarotti, the Ferrari racing and sport cars, as well as various food specialties, such as balsamic vinegar from Modena, tortellini, cotechino, zampone, and Lambrusco wine, among others.
I studied photography at the Vrije Academie Psychopolis in Den Haag, Holland, and travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and North Africa, going back to Castelfranco Emilia, Italy, every year toward the end of summer to work as the de-facto manager of the then brand new electronic scale system that weighed and tracked all incoming grapes at one of the largest local wineries.
Later, I settled down and worked first as a professional photographer in the graphic and photography studio of the now defunct ArsItalia Advertising Agency in Bologna, then as the owner of my own photography studio. The travel bug and passion for wine, however, remained alive throughout my professional career. So it was that, in the 1990's I sold my business and rewarded myself with a one-year sabbatical, and took a trip around the world to decide what to do when I grew up.
My first stop was in the US, where I took a four-week course for adults at a San Francisco, California ESL (English as a Second Language) school, to improve my self-taught English, as I had figured out that, wherever I ended up I would need it. There I met my lifetime favorite teacher, Brigit Solé-March, who still edits all my English language documents. To make a long story short, a few years later we married and I became a US citizen in 2001, soon after the terrorist attack which changed the way we all live and travel.
I was fortunate enough to start my professional experience in the US by contracting with Microsoft to design merchants' web pages and banners for a pet project of Bill Gate's wife, Melinda, called Sidewalk. It was 1996 and the World Wide Web was a very exciting, two-year old technology whose impact on all our lives could not have been foreseen.
When Microsoft wrapped up the project and sold it to City Search, I went on projecting and building web sites, eventually becoming a web architect until, in 2003, I had an epiphany: bring together the passions of a lifetime, including photography, writing, web development and wine making, while contributing to increasing Italian wine awareness in the US. Thus WineCountry.IT, LLC was born as a pet project founded in partnership with an American friend.
Currently WineCountry.IT, LLC promotes, imports, and distributes Italian wines and specialty foods, in addition to publishing a network of seven web sites in English and Italian dedicated to Italian Wine and food (se right column), as well as organizing wine and food tasting events dedicated to US professional buyers, journalists and bloggers.