Vinitaly International Academy: Adventures in Wine
By Hayley Black, General Manager/Wine Manager
I had the honor of recently participating in Vinitaly International Academy’s second edition of its certification course (I’m in the forth row, second from the left). It was truly an incredible experience. I spent one week in Verona, Italy from April 4th through April 8th. The aim of the Certification Course is to enable all those who love Italian wine to speak of it in a unified and organized manner, with true in-depth knowledge. Dr. Ian D’Agata led our course and is really a true wine master. He has dedicated the past 30 years of his life to the Native Grapes of Italy spending time in vineyards all over the country. He has a wealth of knowledge to share. I attended classroom lectures and tastings each day with 50 other candidates from around the world.
Outside of class and tastings we as a group shared our meals together and our study time. The passion amongst this group of individuals is nothing less than astounding. The wine business is truly dynamic and I was lucky enough to spend my days with those from all aspects of our business including those in the Master of Wine program, wine educators, sommeliers, importers and buyers. I felt so honored to share time with these fantastic people, and really learn from them in addition to the course itself. Tastings each day included well known wines like Borolo and Prosecco to lesser known varietals of Italy such as Grigniolino and Pecorino. After an intense week of class and study time, we tested and 26 of the 57 people in the course left as Italian Wine Ambassadors and received their pins. I was not one of those individuals, not yet anyways, I missed my pass mark by 1 point! I look forward to continuing my education and joining my fellow classmates as an Italian Wine Ambassador and someday and Italian Wine expert.
There are so many grape varietals, especially from the south of Italy that are less well known but perfect pairings for our food here at Tutta Bella. I am excited to introduce and educate our guests and staff on these lesser known wines and get them excited about them as well. A great example would be Piedirosso. It can be found in Campania and Puglia. One of Italy’s most ancient red grapes. It is the second most planted grape behind Aglianico in Campania and is found blended in a ton of IGT, DOC, and DOCG wines. It’s red berry and floral aromas would match perfectly with almost all of our Pizzas! Keep a look out for this one, I am hoping to find a great sparkling version for the summer months.
My love for Italian wine was ignited here at Tutta Bella. I love the rich history and stories behind each grape, each wine, and family. Italy is truly unique in its diversity in grapes and wine culture, and I look forward to continuing to expand my knowledge and in turn share with others.