Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) aims to be the gold standard of Italian wine education. VIA offers a complete educational path with standardized courses that will teach professionals and educators to master the diversity of Italian wine in a rigorous, organized manner. 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. VIA’s ecosystem comprising the main institutional bodies and associations in the Italian wine industry strives to be the conduit between the leading players in the Italian wine scene and international professionals.
VIA was originally launched in February 2014 in the shape of Executive Wine Seminars to accompany Vinitaly International’s events abroad. The Executive Wine Seminars continue to be an integral part of Vinitaly International's guided tasting program, both during Vinitaly in Verona and during its stops abroad. The VIA wine Certification Course as we know it today started in April 2015 as a five-day intensive training to teach a chosen international group of wine educators, journalists, and trade a highly specialized curriculum of Italian wine. To date, VIA has trained 170 Wine Ambassadors, of which 13 have also gained the highest level of certification, the Italian Wine Expert title.
ATTILIO SCIENZACHIEF SCIENTIST, VINITALY INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY Attilio Scienza is a full professor at the University of Milan in the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences where he teaches courses on genetic improvements to the vine; he also teaches Viticulture in the Master’s program of the University of Turin in Asti. He has been the lead for many national research projects in the field of physiology, agricultural techniques, and vine genetics. He is the author of over 350 publications on vine and viticulture in national and international journals, conference proceedings, text books, and monographs. He also authored 23 books in Italian and English on cultural topics related to wine. From 1985 to 1991, he was the Director of the Istituto Agrario di S. Michele all’Adige (the research and training institute part of the Edmund Mach Foundation). He is a member of the Accademia Italiana della Vite e del Vino and of the Accademia dei Georgofili. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and writing, including the AEI Prize for scientific research (1991), the international Premio Morsiani (2006), and the OIV Prizein viticulture for the best scientific book on vine topics and viticulture (2003, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012). Since June 2018, Scienza collaborates with Vinitaly International as the Chief Scientist of the Vinitaly International Academy.
Vinitaly International Academy: core values
Vinitaly International Academy's core values are based on the following pillars:
• Scientific focus on the native grapes of Italy and on the characteristics of the 20 Regions’ biodiversity, history, culture, and business;
• Vinitaly’s proven track record in the wine sector for fifty-two years coupled with an advisory committee including the most authoritative professionals working in the Italian wine industry. Led by prominent Italian wine scientists and professionals, the Advisory Board is also supported by institutions dedicated to the Italian wine industry;
• Highly-qualified faculty already certified as VIA Italian Wine Experts and possessing additional credentials such as Master of Wine, Master of Sommelier, and WSET levels guarantee VIA’s standing;
• Rigorous training courses with a strong emphasis on the tasting component designed and delivered by VIA Faculty for the upper levels and by certified Italian Wine Educators for the lower levels provide an exemplary step-by-step educational path for a well-rounded and complete understanding of Italian wine;
• Facilitation of a dynamic interaction between Italian wine trade professionals (consortiums, producers, institutions, promotional bodies) and the international VIA community through incoming activities all year around both in Verona (e.g. Vinitaly, 5StarWines, wine2wine, and others) and in wine-producing areas throughout Italy.
Levels of Certification
The highest level of Italian wine knowledge certified by VIA.
1. Italian Wine Expert (IWE)
VIA’s backbone in terms of Italian wine education and promotion.
2. Italian Wine Ambassador (IWA)
The Italian Wine Educator title is awarded to IWAs and IWEs at the completion of the Italian Wine Educator course. Scheduled start date: Fall 2018.
3. Italian Wine Educator
The intermediate certification course taught by Italian Wine Educators offers a unique understanding of Italian native grapes and serves as the stepping stone to the Italian Wine Ambassador certification course. Scheduled start date: Fall 2018.
4. Italian Wine Maestro
The basic level is designed for new entrants in the Italian wine industry and also appeals to the larger community of wine lovers around the world. Scheduled start date: Spring 2019.
5. Italian Wine Fellow
Certification courses and Educator program
Italian Wine Ambassador Certification Course
Delivered by the VIA faculty and will be assessed through an exam comprising a theory part and, starting from the Hong Kong edition, also a tasting part.
The VIA Italian Wine Ambassador Certification Course will:
1. Issue the Italian Wine Ambassador title to candidates who will score between 65 and 89 points in the exam;
2. Award Candidates who score between 80 and 89 points the “Italian Wine Ambassador con lode” special mention;
3. Candidates who score over 90 points and subsequently pass the additional blind tasting will be designated as Italian Wine Expert.
Prerequisites to participate the Italian Wine Ambassador Certification Course: candidates should have completed WSET Diploma or equivalent wine education program or qualifying score from the Italian Wine Maestro course.
VIA Italian Wine Maestro certification course
The course is to be conducted by VIA Italian Wine Educators. Candidates who pass the exam will be awarded the title of Italian Wine Maestro.
The top 2 highest scorers of each Italian Wine Maestro class are automatically admitted to the upcoming VIA Ambassador Certification Course.
VIA Italian Wine Fellow certification course
The course is to be conducted by VIA Italian Wine Educators. Candidates who pass the exam will be awarded the title of Italian Wine Fellow accordingly.
Candidates with an Italian Wine Fellow certification are automatically admitted to the intermediate-level Italian Wine Maestro certification course.
Italian Wine Educator Program
The VIA Educator's Program is an online course devised for certified IWAs who wish to teach the Italian Wine Maestro certification course and the Italian Wine Fellow Course. IWAs are licensed to deliver both the Italian Wine Maestro and the Italian Wine Fellow certification courses upon the successful completion of the Italian Wine Educator program.
The prospective VIA Italian Wine Educator can be waived from the Educator Program if:
1. He or she has obtained the Ambassador title and has taught WSET Level 3 Course or higher level course for at least 2 years;
2. He or she holds the tilte of Italian Wine Experts.
Though exempted from attending the Educator program and the assessment, it is highly recommended that prospective educators audit the Educator program and complete all the quizzes.
All the certification holders and certification courses will be supported by the community of VIA Supporters, regional consortiums, institutional bodies, and leading producers. They will also be able to take advantage of the incoming and networking opportunities provided by the world's leading wine exhibition, Vinitaly.