Native Grape Odyssey: Travelling the Wine Routes of Italy with Prof. Attilio Scienza

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The Native Grape Odyssey (NGO) is touching down in Toronto, Canada on September 15th for the first day of Native Grape Odyssey’s Maestro Course at the Peter Pan Bistro on Queen Street. The Verona team has made good on their promise to deliver a distinctively valuable program to enrolled participants who have been interested in learning more about European quality wines, as well as the history, culture and denomination systems that protect some of the greatest wine production territories in Europe. A large part of providing excellent content is the course material being provided to students in the course.

Prof. Attilio Scienza holding an educational seminar on Italian native grapes for the NGO program during Vinitaly.

A fresh course needs fresh information. The course organizers envisioned course material that was up to date, exhaustive yet interesting.

So far, there are 40 students enrolled in the Native Grape Odyssey’s Maestro Course which will run from September 15th to 19th at the Peter Pan Bistro, in the heart of downtown Toronto. The final day will culminate with a Walk-Around-Tasting, as students and wine professionals network and ruminate over 250 different wines. This charming heritage style farm to table restaurant will help to create an educational atmosphere for this flag-ship course that will also be held in Russia and Japan later this year. The course has been set up to focus on European quality wines and the myriad of components that accompany this sector; there will be a particular focus on Italy and Spain, the two key players of this European Union Sponsored program.

A fresh course needs fresh information. The course organizers envisioned course material that was up to date, exhaustive yet interesting. This was a tall order, but the NGO program was able to realize their vision for an excellent course textbook. Prof. Attilio Scienza, a foremost authority in the field of viticulture and genetics and a tenured professor at the University of Milan in the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, was brought on to create a series of six books over three years, specifically designed with the Native Grape Odyssey program needs in mind.

The Maestro course in Toronto this September will present the first of these six books and it is hot off the press. This work includes a study of several wine regions from Valle d’Aosta in the North of Italy, all the way down to Sicily, including the Islands, told through the eyes of a wandering traveler, taking the scenic route. It provides accurate details on the geological landscapes, territories, history and climates that have influenced the terroirs, the vines and how they arrived, thrived and developed in Italy. This book is an all-encompassing look at the cultural practices that are woven into the very fibers of European quality wine.

Even though there is a treasure trove of information to be gleaned from Prof. Scienza’s first installment, after reading it, one thing is clear: the denominations and their importance within Europe’s wine industry stands out, which is absolutely what the creators of the course had in mind. Probably the most apt instance of this sentiment can be found in this excerpt taken from the book; it reveals the all-important denomination system at its birth: “One of the most emblematic documents of this period is from 1716 by the Grand Duke Cosimo III of' Medici, this is known as the Bando Sopra la Dichiarazione dei Confini delle quattro Regioni, (Notice on the Declaration of Boundaries of the Four Regions), that of Chianti, of Pomino, of Carmignano and of Valdarno di Sopra. This is perhaps the first attempt at creating and certifying a Denomination of Controlled Origin in the World.”

We look forward to the success of the upcoming course and the reception that this new book receives from the wine professionals who will read it, as they soak up true Europe. Quality. Wine.

About: Native Grape Odyssey is a project financed by the European Union and managed by Unione Italiana Vini and Interprofesional del Vino de España (OIVE) for the promotion of PDO and PGI European wines abroad, in particular in three countries: Japan, Canada and Russia. In order to achieve this, the Native Grape Odyssey educational program will organize wine seminars, workshops and b2b meetings both in these countries and in Verona, Italy, inviting wine experts and influencers from these countries. These events, realized in the span of three years (2019-21) aim at creating awareness about European native wines abroad, in particular Italian and Spanish wines, which share a long tradition and a high standard of quality.

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