The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2018

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Page 52 of 134

50  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2018 EVENT RECAP T his spring saw the launch of a new initiative by the Italian Trade Commission geared toward elevating the image and prestige of Italian wines in the United States. The three-year program was officially unveiled in New York at the Italian Wine & Food Institute's 33rd annual Gala Italia, the longest-running promo- tional event for Italian wine in the U.S. Italian Wine – Taste the Passion, a $25-million program slated through 2020, will focus on a series of initia- tives to bolster awareness of Italy's vast and diverse winemaking industry without focusing on any particular regions. "The Italian wine landscape is incredibly diverse with so many different wine-producing regions and appellations, and the production and quality of Italian wines across all of Italy has never been higher," says Maurizio Forte, Commissioner of the Italian Trade Commission. "We feel the time is right to get people to think of Italian wines in a more modern way." As part of the campaign, the Italian Trade Commission collaborated with some of Italy's most influential promotional entities to set up a series of programs to help Americans, both trade and consumers, immerse themselves in Italian wine culture. Included are education programs intended to expand knowledge of the country's enological heritage, as well as a Facebook page that regularly features interesting tidbits on Italy's wines, wine producers, and winemaking history. On the trade-specific side, the com- mission will implement a number of informational programs to help mem- bers of the industry better understand and source Italian wines. The creation of a "Wine Desk" within its New York offices aims to help foster and maintain close relationships between members of the trade and Italian companies and wine producers. Another key element will be the creation and maintaining of a "Newcomers List" of Italian wine producers looking for representation in the U.S. marketplace, as well as the formation of sponsored partnerships with retailers and restaurant groups to help with promotion and education. At this year's Gala Italia, Forte received the Italian Wine & Food Institute's Special Award of Merit for his own substantial contributions to the growing importance of Italian wine. "I am personally honored to have received an award this year," he told attendees. "We all owe a lot to [Italian Wine & Food Institute founder and President Lucio] Caputo, who has dedicated his entire life to raising awareness of Italian food and wine culture here in the U.S. He has done a tremendous job in this respect." Lucio Caputo, founder and President of the Italian Wine & Food Institute, with Italian Trade Commissioner Maurizio Forte. On a Roll THE ITALIAN TRADE COMMISSION LAUNCHES ITS TASTE THE PASSION CAMPAIGN IN THE U.S. by David Ransom Italian Wine & Food Institute founder and President Lucio Caputo speaks during the Gala Italia awards presentation in New York. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE THOMAS COLLECTIVE

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