New York. NY (PRWEB) February 11, 2014
Freshly returned from its New York trade event on February 3, Vinitaly USA is celebrating the successful launch of its new Vinitaly International Academy (VIA), an educational initiative aimed at simplifying the vast diversity of Italian grape varietals by explaining, divulging and broadcasting the characteristics of Italian wine for all levels of wine knowledge from novice to expert. Despite blizzard snow conditions, the show must go on and Vinitaly International Academy opened in New York to standing-room only crowds for each of its first three seminars, and rave reviews from participants.
Scientific director Ian D’Agata inaugurated the program with a series of exclusive masterclasses tailored to the wine-savvy US market, beginning with a Focus-level seminar on Barolo from the legendary Cannubi vineyard, “Barolo’s Cannubi: Italy’s oldest and most famous Grand Cru.”
“As Cannubi is Italy’s most famous cru, it’s a topic that embodies well what the Focus level is all about,” explains Dr. D’Agata. “Not just a single wine and vintage, but even more specific as it detailed a single vineyard and single grape variety. The wines were fantastic and very true to type.”
“This was a great seminar,” applauded Anatoli Levine, a wine journalist who manages the blog Talk-A-Vino. “While I had some knowledge of Barolo as probably the best of the Italian wines, there was so much interesting detail about different areas, the cru system - which resembles the cru system of Burgundy - and all the little details on the diversity of the soils.”
Producers present also appreciated the rigor that Dr. D’Agata brought to the seminars, which consisted of tastings as well as academic-style lectures. “It was really very, very professional ,” praised Federico Scarzello, president of the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo. “Ian accurately portrayed a lot of the characteristics of Cannubi cru – a great masterclass, at a university level.”
The second seminar of the morning, an Advanced-level masterclass on Franciacorta entitled, “Italy’s answer to Champagne: Franciacorta,” was greeted with an outstanding response that surprised even Dr. D’Agata. “Franciacorta is often underappreciated; everyone knows and loves Champagne, but the Franciacortas are very different in style due to a different terroir and microclimate, and it was very gratifying to see such a huge turnout for this wine. It also helps of course that the wines really are outstanding.”
“I learned so much today,” affirmed journalist Philip Kampe, contributor to The Wine Hub and Wine Enthusiast. “For whatever reason I’m a big fan of Cremant and Cava, but now I’m an even bigger fan of Franciacorta – and I really knew nothing about it beforehand. This was incredibly enlightening, even life-changing.”
The seminars helped highlight a key feature of Italian wine: world-class quality, at competitive prices. As wine journalist Leslie Gevirtz explained, “Franciacorta comes from a region that frankly we Americans haven’t heard very much about, but it’s a great value play in comparison to say, Champagne; I think when you get to the tête de cuvee of both houses, hands down, Franciacorta wins.”
VIA’s premier closed with an Advanced-level masterclass on Amarone, “The velvet underground of Amarone: treasures to be shared.” In Dr. D’Agata’s analysis, “Amarone is so interesting on many different levels; it’s not just about air-drying grapes and making a supercharged wine. There’s a lot more complexity and nuance to it than people think, and myriad versions exist thanks to many different parameters: terroir, length of air drying, type of oak used, presence or absence of noble rot and especially the various percentages of grape varieties used - each estate has its own blend.”
Looking ahead to its next tour stop, Vinitaly International will make its first visit to mainland China in four years with a three-day B2B event in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Provence, on March 25-28th. Vinitaly International will debut at the Kempinsky Hotel, an off-site showcase of the annual Tang Jiu Hui Fair, one of the most prominent food and drink trade fairs in China, where Dr. Ian D’Agata will present new editions of the VIA masterclasses tailored to the developing Chinese market.
“We are looking forward to taking Vinitaly International Academy to the next stop, Chengdu, China,” explains Stevie Kim, Managing Director of Vinitaly International. “There is an incredible difference between wine knowledge in the US and China. The Italian wine market has consolidated its presence over the past years, and Italian wine is a leader in the US. All three VIA seminars in New York were attended by highly specialized experts both from trade and press. In China, we will schedule the same type of classes but the presentations will be more basic, while maintaining the same scientific rigor. We will always gauge the knowledge of our audience to best deliver the concept behind Italian wine education.”
Veronafiere is the leading organizer of trade shows in Italy including Vinitaly (http://www.vinitaly.com), the largest wine event in the world. The 47th edition of Vinitaly counted some 148,000 visitors (+6%), of which 53.000 were international attendees (+10%) visiting from 120 countries. On 95.000 square meters, 4.200 exhibitors welcomed trade professionals, media and producers alike. The next installment of the fair will take place on 6th- 9th April 2014. The premier event to Vinitaly, OperaWine (http://www.vinitalyinternational.com) “Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers”, will unite international wine professionals on April 5th 2014 in the heart of Verona. Veronafiere also created Vinitaly International in 1998 to develop a global platform for the promotion of companies in the Italian wine and food sectors.