VERONA, Italy, June 25, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — June 20th of 2021 saw the return of the Vinitaly International Academy Flagship edition held in Verona. Traditionally held during the “marathon” of events surrounding Vinitaly in April, this year the event was moved to June to coincide with the 5Star Wine Selection and OperaWine events and allow for the safe travel for as many participants as possible. As a result, 67 students were able to join the team, with 65 new attendees and 2 returning to attempt certification as an Italian Wine Expert.

‘It’s been very different but very nice for all of us to actually have done this,’ explains Stevie Kim, Managing Director of VIA, ‘thank you very much for participating. And we’ve said this on numerous occasions, you’re already part of our family, and you’ll always be part of our family. For all of the activities that we do, like Vinitaly, as well as the other activities, especially the incoming program, we look forward to inviting you back, because it’s very important for us to have you back in Italy.”

This 18th edition of VIA saw Francesco Marchio IWE join the VIA Faculty, the first Italian member to teach the course. Marchio joined existing Faculty member Henry Davar IWE to jointly lead the Guided Tasting sessions, as well as aid with the translation of two special Advanced Seminar sessions lead by VIA Chief Scientist, and renowned vine geneticist Prof. Attilio Scienza. These Advanced Seminar sessions were part of a series of masterclasses available for students to enhance both their theoretical knowledge of Italian wines and grapes, and their tasting skills. ‘The most important thing for me about being an Italian Wine Ambassador,’ said Francesco Marchio, ‘is not only to know about Italian wines, and be a professional, but also to be able to communicate in the right way about the wines and regions of Italy.”

Students for this year’s Flagship edition benefitted from the new Hybrid format, whereby they had access to theoretical lectures on a new online platform ahead of the in-person Guided Tasting sessions. This allows learners to extra time with the material and also means that time with the faculty can be spent recapping key information, experiencing the Masterclasses and spending more time focusing in detail on the tastings, connecting the theory with what is experienced in the glass.

19 new Ambassadors were welcomed into the VIA community during the pinning ceremony this year.

Alberto Martinez-Interiano – Wine Writer, USA

Andrejs Batkilins – Wine Club Owner, Latvia

Annie Replogle – Wine Importer, USA

Chieko Hirano – Tour Operator, Japan

Cynthia Chaplin – Educator & Sommelier, USA/UK

Daria Pukhova – Fine Wines Brand Ambassador, Russia

Erin DeMara – District Manager & Educator, USA

Fanny Breuil – Importer & Exporter, France

Federico Casassa – Educator & Winemaker, Argentina

Jennifer Burgess – Change Manager, Sommelier & Writer – USA

John Irwin – Marketing Professional & Educator, USA

Juliana Colangelo – Wine PR, USA

“We’re honored to be a Trusted Testing Partner with the State of Hawai’i. At Ontario Airport, we’re committed to the safety and well-being of our passengers, and throughout the pandemic, we’ve implemented industry-leading health protocols, including our on-site testing clinic. Hawaiian Airlines’ new service to Honolulu has been very popular with ONT passengers, and we look forward to creating even more travel opportunities to the great State of Hawai’i,” said Alan D. Wapner, President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners and Mayor pro tem for the City of Ontario.