A festival showcasing the best of the Italian wine production

On October 11, The Melbourne Royal Exhibition hosted the Vinitalia Food & Wine Festival, the largest display of Italian wines ever held in Australia.

Organised by The Italian Chamber of Commerce, all of Melbourne has been invited to join the celebration, to be indulged and enlightened by Italian food and wine, with a sophisticated twist of Italia jazz.

For the first time fully open to the public, this unique festival will feature a special selection of premium Italian wines presented by local importers and retailers. More than 40 companies - conversant in their understanding and passionate about sharing a taste of the products they love - are expected to be there to offer their most prestigious Italian labels to taste and buy. Amongst these, a special "Anteprime" zone where you'll be able to try and preview labels and varieties not yet available in Australia.  Selections of premium spirits, liqueurs, grappa and artisanal beer will all be included, accompanied by delicious Italian food.

A word from the wiseIcons of Melbourne's restaurant scene will bestow words of wisdom and conduct live demonstrations in the Italian Lifestyle Theatre, alternated with live jazz and swing performed by Italian virtuoso Mirko Guerrini, who recently performed at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival alongside Stefano Bollani.

Enrich your knowledgeA series of master classes presented by international experts, representing the most prestigious Italian sommelier associations from Italy (AIS - Associazione Italiana Sommelier) and Australia (ANZIS - Australia New Zealand Italian Sommeliers), will complement the already brimming program of activities scheduled on the show floor. Your chance to enrich your knowledge and be guided by leading experts.

Wine list competitionVinitalia will also draw attention to the finely crafted wine lists from Melbourne's top restaurants through its inaugural Wine List Review. A specialist panel composed of renowned Italian and Australian wine experts will review and award lists submitted by participating restaurants based on a range of different criteria to suit even the most discerning palate. For those working in hospitality, it's an unmissable chance to hear expert opinions and swap notes on developing your selections. It is also a great occasion to source new wines to add to your list and set your restaurant apart.

For the wine trade

VinItalia is a great opportunity to meet and connect with leading members of the hospitality industry and build new professional relationships. In recent years Australian consumers have shown a growing desire for Italian wines, illustrated by the value of Italian wine imported into Australia has been rising by about 21% p.a since 2011 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014).

The breathtaking Royal Exhibition Building will provide the sophisticated backdrop for this enticing food and wine opera, presenting guests with a visual feast as you weave your way through tables of over 400 premium wine labels and delicious and authentic gourmet food, whilst you let yourself be transported by Mirko's jazz tunes. The day promises to be a real experience, rewarding the palate and evoking emotions with its casual mix of refined flavours and dynamic notes… and an unexpected finale.