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    Italian Wine 101

    Discovering Alto Piemonte

    The best-known wines of Piemonte, such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero Arneis and Moscato d’Asti are produced from grapes grown in the southern sector of the region; this includes the province of Cuneo and Asti, in districts such as the Langhe and Roero. But farther north, Alto Piemonte is a territory that is home to some of the region’s most complex, yet least understood wines. Gattinara, Boca and Ghemme are a few of these selections, and these days, greater attention is being paid to these wines and this relatively unknown viticultural outpost.

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    History, origin and all about Montepulciano with Ciro Pirone

    Drinking and discovering Montepulciano (the grape) d'Abruzzo is like looking at a painter's palette, so many colors, so many shades and so many possibilities. Montepulciano is one of Italy's most versatile grapes that can produce terrific rosatos, quaffable reds for any occasion but also some of Italy's boldest and age-worthy wines, worth every sip.

    Presenter: Ciro Pirone

    Ciro Pirone, Director of Italian Wines for Horizon Beverage Company, is a graduate of the Istituto Alberghiero (Hotel and Restaurant Management school) of Salerno, Italy.  Traveling and working in Italy, England and the US, Ciro developed an incredible passion for wine, food and culture. After all, growing up in Italy, wine was always a very important part of his family’s lifestyle and traditions.

    In 1999, Ciro moved to the US permanently.  He landed in Boston, where he continued his wine studies at Boston University, the International Sommelier Guild and the London –based Wine & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET). In 2007, Ciro accepted the position of Italian Wine Specialist for Horizon Beverage. After successful growth at HBC, Ciro accepted on a new challenge as the US Brand Manager for the Arnaldo Caprai Winery of Montefalco (Umbria), the top producer of worldwide recognized Sagrantino di Montefalco. In June 2011, Ciro returned to Horizon Beverage with a new position of Director of Italian Wines in support of their expanding presence in the New England marketplace.  Ciro is happy to share his passion for Italian wine and culture in an effort to give the American wine consumer  a better understanding and appreciation for Italian wine!

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    Jimmy’s Red Hot Sicily with Jimmy Smith

    This fascinating webinar will focus on the ‘red hot’ wines of Sicily from regions such as Etna and Vittoria. Jimmy will cover how the very distinctive soils such as lava rock and limestone craft a wonderful array of elegant but complex styles of wine. Jimmy will set the scene by guiding you through the complex history of this large island, and through discovering the volcanic effect from Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano, he will explain how these volcanic soils craft different wines from mainland Sicily. 

    Presenter: Jimmy Smith

    Jimmy Smith is the Founder and Head of Education at West London Wine School. Jimmy was named Drinks Business Man of the Year in 2019, and Wine Scholar Guild’s Italian Wine Scholar Educator of the Year in 2018. He is also has educated over 6000 students through the WSET Level 1, 2 and 3 Award certification programs. It’s the all-important infectious enthusiasm and passion for the world of wine that enables Jimmy to communicate to his audience without the use of confusing (& boring!) technical facts often detailed in wine tastings.

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    Orvieto: The Magic and Mystery of the Place and Its Wines with Tanya Morning Star Darling

    The Orvieto wine-producing region in Umbria is a whole package of beauty, history, cultural richness, and extraordinary wines, a region that sometimes flies under the radar beside its famous neighbors in Tuscany.

    Orvieto wines were the prize of the renaissance period in Italy, but in recent history the wines have been better known for deliciously democratic wines led by cooperatives and wines bottled by Tuscan giants like Antinori, and Ruffino. In the last 40 years Orvieto has undergone an Estate bottling revolution, which has spurred a culture of quality and pursuit of terroir values in the region, yet the pleasure to be found here is still under-recognized. Did you know, for example, that Orvieto is the only DOC in Italy to regulate the production of Noble Rot, or that Orvieto has both marine sedimentary soils, as well as volcanic ones? Well, these little known facts, just scratch the surface of wonders to be discovered in Orvieto!

    In this class, we will uncover the magic and mystery of this region: the town, the terroirs, the wines, and the people who create them.

    Presenter: Tanya Morning Star Darling

    Tanya Morning Star Darling is a full time wine educator with nearly 3 decades of industry experience. Her school Cellar Muse is the approved program provider for Wine Scholar Certifications (French, Italian, and Spanish) in the Seattle area. She also teaches WSET coursework, and is Faculty at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College.
    Tanya has family in Umbria, and recently completed a comprehensive research project in partnership with the Orvieto Consorzio, where she visited almost every estate and cooperative producer in the region, and tasted nearly every single wine produced in the DOC. Tanya is proud to be Orvieto’s first and only Ambassador of Orvieto Wines, and to have the pleasure of sharing these wines with the world!

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    Let's Tour Italy's Lesser Known Regions: Basilicata and Molise with Susannah Gold

    Join us as we delve into two of Italy's lesser known Southern regions, Basilicata and Molise. Home to wonderful wines made using indigenous grape varieties, Basilicata and Molise are regions to keep on your radar.

    In this webinar we will discuss the topography and climate factors as well as the denominations and producers that make these areas ones to watch.

    Presenter: Susannah Gold

    Susannah presents wines and wine regions and through her company Vigneto Communications promotes wine and food products in the U.S. with her team.

    She does media, trade relations and often helps to find importers and distribution. 

    She holds various wine certificates from schools around the world including an Italian sommelier certificate from  the Associazione Italiana dei Sommeliers (AIS), the Diploma in Wines & Spirits (DipWSET) from  the WSET, the CSW and CSS from the Society of Wine Educators and a certification from the Spanish Wine Academy. 

    She teaches wine classes, and has written for The Financial Times, Gourmet Retailer, Food, Food & Beverage Business, Snooth.com, the Organic Wine Journal, the Sommelier Journal, F&B Magazine and GDO Week.

    She pens a wine blog called Avvinare.com.

    Fluent in English, Italian, and French, she also speaks advanced Spanish and works with clients in all four languages.

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    Why Valpolicella and Valpolicella Superiore are Poised for a Comeback

    The wines of Valpolicella dance across the tongue with the same lift and loveliness as the name itself. Ideal with humble pastas as well as lighter red meats and game birds, it is well-suited to the table. As the  more modest bottling of the Valpolicella region, it is largely (and unfairly) overlooked among Italian reds these days.

    Valpolicella is the so-called “everyday” red wine of the eponymous production zone that is situated just north of the city of Verona, and extends west and east of the city. Other reds here include the iconic Amarone della Valpolicella as well as Ripasso, a wine made via a method of refermentation and remaceration, in which a Valpolicella is “repassed” over the skins of grapes used for Amarone.

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    What's new with Italian wine DOCs and DOCGs

    Learning Italian wine inside and out can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be confounding. The wrinkles in Italian wine law are numerous, and staying on top of the latest modifications to DOC and DOCG regulations can feel as time consuming as the slow train from Naples to Sorrento.

    Fortunately, we have Maurizio Broggi on our side. As Education Director for the Italian Wine Scholar™ program, he stays in close contact with Italy’s innumerable consorzi to learn about trends in the vineyards and wineries, as well as changes to their regulations — all so he can keep our education materials up-to-date.

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    Irpinia Who's Who: The Producers of Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo with Tom Hyland

    The province of Irpinia represents the heart of the Campanian wine industry. On the map, this is the province of Avellino, but vintners here refer to this territory by its ancient name of Irpinia. From this land, some of Italy's most complex and longest-lived whites wines, such as Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are produced, while Coda di Volpe and Falaghina are other local stylish whites. As for red wines of Irpinia, the most celebrated is Taurasi, an Aglianico-based red that is among the country's most renowned and most cellar worthy reds. We will examine this province, discussing its lengthy history - vines were first planted here several thousand years ago - as well as its status quo, discovering the finest producers of each major type of wine.

    Presenter: Tom Hyland

    Tom Hyland is a Chicago-based wine writer/educator and photographer, specializing in Italian wines.

    He has authored two books on Italian wines, and has conducted seminars for the trade on various Italian wines in Chicago, New York and in Bordeaux at VinExpo.

    He has been writing about these wines for 19 years, and today is a contributor to Decanter and wine-searcher.com. He is also the U.S. ambassador for the consorzio, I Vini del Piemonte.

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