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Vinitaly Academy launches Buyer Program in the UK

Published:  15 March, 2022

Vinitaly International Academy, the educational arm of the Verona show which aims to showcase the breath and diversity of the Italian peninsula, is launching a brand new focus in the UK.

Through funding from the Italian Trade Commission, buyers and members of the press will be supported to visit the Verona show, with packages available to cover entry, travel and accommodation for 2022.

This is just one facet of the planned work. The academy also aims to place more focus on Italian wines, which – despite their popularity – remain largely undervalued in the UK.

“Though Italy has been successful in the UK to a point, the wines carry a considerably lower price point than France,” Sarah Abbott MW told Harpers.

“We just don’t have the same level of awareness and expertise in Italy despite fact there are many specialists bringing in fantastic wines. The UK academy has been set up to address this. If there’s one country where it really helps to know the detail, it’s Italy.”

Italy had found huge favour within the UK market, its top export market by volume. By value, however, Italy falls by the wayside. Average price for Italian wines in the UK sat at £5.81 for the past 12 months, behind French wine at £8.06, and also the USA, Spain, New Zealand and Argentina (WSTA figures, average RRP based on price per litre).

At the academy’s Italian Roadshow yesterday, Massimo Carnelos, head of economic affairs at the Embassy of Italy, said he increasingly sees the UK as key market.

Abbott, who presented six wines at the event, added: “We have lot of Italian wines in the UK. But if you look into the detail of average price and how they are presented on wine lists, they don’t have the same gravitas or depth of range compared to somewhere like France. Liv-ex’s recent reports have shown Italy is coming up in a big way. There is just so much to discover in Italy. Southern Italian reds are the sleeping fine wine of Italy.”

Stevie Kim, MD of Vinitaly International, said: “Sometimes we take for granted our European neighbours as we are so focused in Asia and America. It’s about time to give a bit of love here in the UK. We are looking to certify new Italian wine ambassadors in the UK to help us spread the gospel of Italian wine.”

The Vinitaly International Academy was launched to convey “the value and diversity of Italian wine” to international markets by fostering a global network of professionals such as Italian Wine Ambassadors and Italian Wine Experts. It organises Wine Expert and Wine Ambassador training courses every year in several countries, with the USA being a key market. The UK academy will officially launch in September, with funding packages available for those looking to visit this year’s show, running in Verona from 10 to 13 April.

Those interested in the Buyers Program to visit Vinitaly should contact Antonietta Kelly at the Italian Trade Commission.

For more information on the VinItaly International Academy, Sarah Abbott is available at