The first edition of the Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of Italy, published in 2010 by Slow Food Editiore (Bra, Italy), marked a watershed moment in the contemporary history of Italian wine writing. With its publication, the editors-in-chief Giancarlo Gariglio and Fabio Giavedoni not only abandoned the score-based formula that had dominated the field for more than 20 years but they also adopted a wholly new and innovative set of criteria. For the first time, the pioneering Italian wine critics looked not just to the quality of the wines: They also took into consideration the wineries' sustainable farming practices and the winemakers' "Slowphilosophy," as Gariglio has put it, “which continues to be increasingly important to consumers in wine and food globally.”

Where a previous generation of Italian wine writers based their evaluations solely on subjective (and often modern-leaning) tasting notes, Gariglio and Giavedoni had their contributors base their selections on the wines' relationship to the places where they are made and the people who produce them. It was the first time that the Slow Food ethos had been applied so broadly to the world of Italian wine and it was the beginning in a new era of how Italian wines would be perceived throughout the world — and not just in Italy. In Gariglio's words, they "wanted to tell the wineries' stories."

With the 2019 guide, the editors have continued their expansion into the US that started with California and now, Oregon. Slow Wine’s move into the US started in California, where it officially opened its chapter in the summer of 2017. After visiting hundreds of producers on the West Coast and evaluating them according to the same high standards the guide is known for, 70 producers were selected and added to the 2018 guide. Now, moving into Oregon is a significant step for the Slow Wine Guide, as the pioneering state is home to internationally-celebrated wine producing areas. Oregon’s commitment to sustainable wine-making and respect for the terroir is consistent with Slow Wine’s principles and its mission to support local agriculture.