Vinitaly International Academy and Vinitaly International Wine and Spirits Exhibition celebrate three Roadshow events in New York and New Jersey

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The Vinitaly Roadshow took place in three locations across New York City and New Jersey. In collaboration with ITA – Italian Trade Agency – and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the events brought together wine professionals to hear about the 2023 Vinitaly Marathon: the events and the opportunities.

President of Veronafiere Federico Bricolo, Managing Director of Vinitaly International Stevie Kim, ITA New York Director Antonino Laspina.

From Left to Right: President of Veronafiere Federico Bricolo, Managing Director of Vinitaly International Stevie Kim, ITA New York Director Antonino Laspina.

The open house format was intentionally chosen in order to allow guests a choice of venues, days, and times to attend. This informal style made it easy for attendees to taste wines and meet with VIA Italian Wine Ambassadors, as well as experience the camaraderie of the VIA Community as a whole.

The Purpose
The Vinitaly Roadshow events were aimed at trade buyers, sommeliers, wine educators and the wine press. The Roadshows provided a welcoming open house environment for presenting the details of the Vinitaly Marathon 2023 and showing guests how to qualify for the Buyers' Program, which gives selected wine merchants exclusive opportunities to meet and interact with the best Italian wine producers at the Exhibition. Among the events discussed were 5StarWines & Wine Without Walls, the Vinitaly International Academy, OperaWine and the full details of the 55th edition of the Vinitaly International Wines and Spirits Exhibition.

Institutional representatives from Veronafiere, ITA, and Vinitaly International Managing Director Stevie Kim were in attendance at each event and guests enjoyed a light lunch and tasting of various Italian wines from all over the country. The Roadshows also served to shine a light on the Vinitaly International Academy, the wine education it provides and the authoritative Ambassadors it certifies.

“The Roadshow in 13 venues in 9 cities on 3 continents over the course of a month is an unprecedented promotional initiative in the history of Vinitaly, which adds to and implements the important investment of over 3 million euros for the incoming buyers and operators of the next edition of the international exhibition of wines and spirits,” said Federico Bricolo, President of VeronaFiere. “It is a clear signal of Veronafiere SPA’s strong commitment to be increasingly active on the international front, in this case for the wine & food sector, to promote the uniqueness of Made in Italy products and to explore new opportunities as a stable presence in consolidated or potential markets of interest, as is already underway through Veronafiere Asia with Vinitaly Chengdu, Vinitaly China Road Show, Wine To Asia for the wider Far East area and Wine South America for Brazil and the South American continent.”

Open House Inclusivity
The open house format for the three Roadshows was intentionally chosen in order to allow guests a choice of venues, days and times to attend. This informal style made it easy for attendees to taste wines and meet with VIA Italian Wine Ambassadors, as well as experience the camaraderie of the VIA Community as a whole. With over 1100 members around the world, Vinitaly International Academy has created a unique group of wine professionals who have all studied the same intensive course and are devoted to spreading the Italian wine gospel, as well as remaining in touch with the VIA Mothership in Verona and networking with each other throughout the year.

Several VIA Ambassadors attended the Roadshows at the special request of Stevie Kim, specifically to share their knowledge of the program with potential candidates. Because the VIA Program has continued to grow and expand globally since it began in 2015, VIA Community members always welcome an opportunity to get together, meet new members, network and share their experiences. Over 150 guests also flocked to the Roadshows to taste Italian wines and learn how to get involved with all the Verona events coming this spring. VIA Ambassadors provided insight and information with their typical generosity of spirit.

The Venues
Selecting three venues was a crucial component to the success of the Roadshows. Launching the events in Princeton, New Jersey, Harlem in New York City and the Little Italy neighborhood of NYC gave the initiative a 3-day scope, as well as a sense of variety and flexibility for all those who wished to attend.

"Very often, during the initiatives to promote Italian wine, tastings are offered in combination with Italian dishes,” commented Antonino Laspina, Director of ITA New York. “During these Vinitaly Roadshows, perfectly in keeping with the concept of an "open house" format, we instead chose to combine Italian wine with different cuisines. The openness and internationality of the Italian wine on which ICE works also starts from here."

The Salt Creek Grille in Princeton was an obvious choice for the first Roadshow. President and Operating Partner of the restaurant, Hugh Preece, is a certified Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador with many years of experience in a variety of roles in the wine sector. Outreach to Roadshow guests and potential candidates for VIA was supported by Preece and his team, who filled the space with enthusiastic wine professionals on 23 January. Italian wines were paired with typically American food from the restaurant’s outstanding menu and guests were actively able to experience the accessibility and diversity of Italian wines.

Contento restaurant in Harlem is owned by Yannick Benjamin, a renowned sommelier and leading light in the field of accessibility in hospitality. Benjamin, a long-time friend of Vinitaly International Academy and the Vinitaly International Wine and Spirits Exhibition, was the perfect host for the second Roadshow, held on 24 January. The award-winning venue attracted a large crowd of interested buyers, journalists, educators and other members of the wine industry. The restaurant’s Peruvian-based food provided another opportunity for guests to see and taste the ability of Italian wine to pair with unconventional dishes.

DiPalo’s in Little Italy was the final event, held on 25 January. This well- known, beloved, iconic New York location was the perfect setting for guests who wanted to sample authentic Italian hospitality. The Roadshows were part of the "Italy is simply extraordinary: Be IT" campaign, with DiPalo’s providing the ideal showcase of genuine Italian products and a truly warm Italian welcome for guests to taste and share good food and wine.

All three events highlighted the excellence of Italy’s wines by presenting 61 wines from a selection of producers covering the majority of Italy’s wine-producing regions.

Coming Up
Following the success of this leg of the Roadshows, the next stop will be the UK, with venues in London and Cardiff. Events will be held at Eataly in London on 8 February and at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on 9 February. To register as a guest, please visit

Upcoming VIA Italian Wine Ambassador Courses
The VIA Italian Wine Ambassador Flagship Course will be held annually in Verona from 23-27 March, immediately before the Vinitaly International Wine and Spirits Exhibition. Applications remain open through mid-February.

For more information, please visit our website -
To Apply:
Send us an email at: if you have further questions.
About: Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) aims to be the gold standard of Italian wine education. It offers a complete educational path with standardized courses that will teach professionals and educators to master the diversity of Italian wine in a rigorous, organized manner. VIA’s main objective is to foster a global network of highly qualified professionals such as Italian Wine Ambassadors and Italian Wine Experts: in turn, they will support and promote Italian wine throughout the world. VIA was founded by Stevie Kim, Managing Director of Vinitaly International. The new VIA ecosystem avails of the guidance of Italian trade associations Federdoc, Federvini, Vignaioli Indipendenti FIVI, and Unione Italiana Vini as members of the Institutional Advisory Board. Italian vine genetics scholar, Prof. Attilio Scienza, oversees VIA’s scientific and educational direction as the Chief Scientist. VIA Faculty Sarah Heller MW and Henry Davar teach the flagship Italian Wine Ambassador course. To date, there are 307 Certified Italian Wine Ambassadors of which 16 are also Italian Wine Experts.

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