Initially planned as the flagship Verona edition in April 2020, Vinitaly International Academy swiftly transformed the format of the 16th Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) Italian Wine Ambassador Certification Course from a physical course into an ag-ile Edition which was held in two modules: from 8 to 12 June 2020 (online theoretical lectures); from 8th to 10th March 2021 the virtual tasting/examination session, in re-sponse to the global pandemic.
The new format entails 5 sections (4 hours in length for each session) of online lecture supported by additional warmup sessions and a special seminar on VIA systematic tasing in module 1 from 8 to 12 June. While Module 2 comprises intensive guided tastings of 36 wines selected to give the students an overview of the archetypal Ital-ian wines, bringing flexibility that allows students to keep up with trends and innova-tions in the Italian wine industry.
This edition was characterized by students from all over Europe. The class was com-posed of not only sommeliers, importers, and distributors, but also educators, and importers, engaging with leading Italian wine producers and creating a global wine business & education network.
Bearing in mind the goal to allow our candidates to understand and learn the differ-ences between each grape variety and wine, as well as the confidence to talk about what each wine, wine tasting session of this edition was strengthened by showcasing 36 labels of wines during the 2nd module.
The application to the course was open to wine professionals all over the world, ap-plicants were required to provide relevant wine education certificates as well as stat-ing their motivation to participate in the course.
This year, we continued to facilitate the candidates to get hold of the necessary ma-terials by creating a WhatsApp group chat, allowing real-time interaction between students, faculty, and the VIA Team before, during, and after the course. This has al-so promoted the notion of the broader VIA community and we are pleased to report that interaction continues even after the close of the course.
In addition to the reading materials, a significant focus was given to the recent work done with Prof. Atillio Scienza and the “Italian Wine Podcast.” Key episodes on the origins of Sangiovese, Aglianico, and the native grapes of Sicily were required listen-ing for candidates and featured as the basis for exam questions.