About Vinitaly International Academy
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.
In April 2015, VIA hosted its first Italian Wine Ambassador Certification Course and after 10 editions in Italy and abroad, VIA has trained over 450 wine professionals and certified over 170 Italian Wine Ambassadors, of which 13 have also gained the highest level of certification, the Italian Wine Expert title.
In 2017, VIA initiated developing the intermediate level course "Italian Wine Maestro Certification Course" and held the pilot course in Canada on that same year. Entering into 2018, VIA embarked on several major upgrades to its design, including the creation of the VIA Ecosystem. Proving to be a tangible development, VIA Ecosystem is harmonized by its 4 pillars (Chief Scientist, Advisory Board, VIA Faculty and VIA supporters).
In addition to this, there was a reformatting of the flagship Ambassador Certification Courses as well as the introduction of an online Maestro Educator program. VIA is excited to welcome their first batch of Italian Wine Ambassadors set to attend the online Educator program.
Please also make sure to sign up for the Vinitaly International newsletter and remember to update VIA staff of any changes to contact information should they occur.
Moreover, Via Ecosystem is designed to act as the keystone for personal development in the VIA community; it enables competent alumni to assume more teaching roles and promotes receptiveness and cooperation with the VIA community.
VIA also makes every effort to involve the community in Vinitaly events; wine2wine, 5StarWines, and Operawine to name just a few. Vinitaly also takes part in new projects and oversees roadshows etc. As support for VIA grows, it will engage the community by offering various study trips and press opportunities on a more frequent basis.
Last but not the least, VIA is constantly updating its knowledge pool and spreading the gospel of Italian wine digitally as well as in person, to encourage community members to achieve higher certification and take on more responsibility.
VIA is building up an online library where access is strictly limited to Ambassadors and Experts, this would also largely improve the chance of an IWA to achieve higher scores.
The courses and certifications
The intermediate level Italian Wine Maestro certification course is to be officially released in 2019;
The foundation level Italian Wine Fellow certification course is currently under construction.
For the Italian Wine Ambassador certification course, applicants with WSET Diploma/Advanced Sommelier certificates or the equivalent wine knowledge or a qualifying score from the Italian Wine Maestro course are prefered.
VIA is responsible for evaluating the applicants based on criteria such as their wine education background, applicable past work experience as well as their current roles.
For the Italian Wine Maestro certification course - No prior course is required but the WSET level 3, or equivalent wine knowledge is recommended as a prerequisite to this course.
The Certified Educators are in charge of the entry evaluation. The Italian Wine Fellow course is open to the entire wine community.
2. Italian Wine Ambassador (IWA) – Is VIA’s backbone in terms of Italian wine education and promotion.
3. Italian Wine Educator - The Italian Wine Educator title is awarded to IWAs and IWEs at the completion of the Italian Wine Educator Program.
4. Italian Wine Maestro - The intermediate certification course is taught by Italian Wine Educators, it offers a unique understanding of Italian native grapes and serves as the stepping stone to the Italian Wine Ambassador certification course.
5. Italian Wine Fellow – This foundation level course is designed for newcomers to the Italian wine industry and also appeals to the larger community of wine lovers around the world.
About the Ambassador Certification Course
The course has a revitalised tasting program and has incorporated a group project that requires students to videotape a 4-minute presentation on a designated topic to help ensure that we are developing a community of great wine communicators.
The course structure has been adapted to focus on macro areas where native wine grapes are found based on their main planting area.
The warm-up sessions, different each time are dedicated to the most important grapes/regions, these are inserted on a rotational basis to ensure the novelty of each certification course.
Extra tasting labs are also introduced to ensure candidates are given maximum exposure to Italian wine.
Candidates who score over 65 and below 90 in Stage 1 (refer to "What is covered on the exam?" FAQ) part of the Exam will receive the title of Italian Wine Ambassador. Candidates who score over 90 in Stage 1 part qualify for Stage 2 (Blind Tasting and Oral Defense), upon the successful pass of the stage 2 exam, Italian Wine Expert title will be awarded accordingly.
The IWAs and IWEs are required to act in the appropriate manner, befitting the title they have been awarded. Each member must behave according to VIA’s code of conduct; contributing to the growth of VIA and its community, including paying the membership fee, contributing to the VIA publications, hosting promotional and educational activities, etc.
Sarah, with a record number of awards in the Master of Wine exams, brings a rigorous academic focus and Asian market perspective to VIA while Henry Davar is an all-around expert in Italian Wine, whose experience as a beverage buyer at the Michelin level, wine competition judge, as well as import and wholesale experience would prove valuable,, they both elevate VIA to the highest standards.
Candidates are encouraged to refer to online resources such as www.federdoc.com and www.italianwinecentral.com. VIA team is compiling another series of textbooks based on the major 5 macro areas of Italy.
100 multiple choice questions, 2 short answer questions, a blind tasting of 2 wines and a group video project.
The subjects are all covered by the textbooks and the lectures by the VIA faculty.
Based on our experience, we recommend that you start preparing at least one or two months before the course starts, in order to achieve desirable results. Please consult the course materials to guide you in your preparation efforts.
Please verify your eligibility for the fee reduction by contacting us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team is currently evaluating the possibility of hosting another 2 Ambassador Certification Courses in Chengdu (March) and in New York (June).
Essentially, every IWA will function as a local market reference point, cooperating with VIA and Italian producers, raising awareness and expanding the reach of the Italian wine market.
It will be delivered in the format of an advanced course and taught by VIA Chief Scientist Prof. Attilio Scienza over a two-day period. Advanced courses are comprised of 4 modules which will vary each time, in order to cover a wide range of information.
IWAs and IWEs are required to attend at least one of the advanced courses every year as one of the requirements to maintain the title of IWA or IWE.
Scheduling of the Advanced course is presently being finalized and the date will be released after wine2wine 2018.
About the Italian Wine Maestro Course
IWAs and IWEs who have obtained "Italian Wine Educators" title upon successful completion of the Maestro Educator Program will be entitled to run the course following the protocols.
Please contact email@example.com for Educator program sign-up instruction.
It is a prerequisite to complete the Maestro Educator Program before one can organise Maestro Courses.
Exemption from sitting the program is valid for IWEs and few IWAs, it is recommended that all of them sit the program.
Due to the size limit of every class, we do impose a quota system on those areas. Please write to us for more info.