The Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) certification course is recognised as the gold standard of Italian wine education. The VIA community comprises over 1000 candidates, of whom 290 have achieved the title Italian Wine Ambassador and 15 of those qualified as Italian Wine Experts. There are currently 9 Italian Wine Ambassadors in the United Kingdom.

Swirl Wine Group is proud to be the UK partner for VIA London, working in collaboration with Just Do The Work and Veronafiere in Italy.


The course is inspiring and content rich, and the exams are challenging. The pass rate is 29%, so why do it? Alumni of the Vinitaly International Academy recall their experiences as life changing and exceptionally worthwhile. “I highly recommend the VIA program,” said Paul Bologna, Italian Wine Ambassador class of 2021.

“The curriculum offers the opportunity to learn the most cutting-edge information on the origins of hundreds of native grapes as well as the top producers who are changing the future of Italian wines.”

Annie Replogle IWA, from the same VIA class commented,

“The experience of the VIA course is great for those seeking the utmost knowledge of Italian wine and made me fall even more in love with Italian wine, which I didn’t think was possible.”

Students who take the VIA course come from every aspect of the wine sector, including educators, journalists, importers, hospitality, retailers, and beyond.

Faculty member Henry Davar IWE summed up the experience,

“At VIA we expand on the bird’s eye view not only by appreciating Italy for the breadth of its geography and wealth of native grapes, but for the wealth of its history.”


It’s an exciting time for Italian wine in the UK market. Italy has been a stalwart of sales by volume for decades. But it had lagged behind France in average price, prestige, and on the fine wine trading indices. This is changing, and quickly. An October 2021 report by LivEx called Italy a new “dominant force” on the UK fine wine market. The world’s most trusted fine wine market report revealed that Italian wine is taking 16% of the secondary market, 3rd only to Burgundy (20%) and Bordeaux (40%).

“The number of Italian wines that made it into in the 2021 Liv-ex Classification, which ranks the wines of the world by price, rose 112% from 2019…More Italian brands have entered the secondary market, pushing trade across a wider array of vintages too. Between 2010 and 2021, the increase in Italian traded has been an impressive 2,566%.”

Key markets are waking up to the incredible quality and diversity of Italian wine: it’s time for elite wine trade education to catch up.


Despite the current challenges around the world, VIA is undaunted in its commitment to bringing excellent, high quality content, Italian wine education to students across the globe. On July 27-29, VIA will head to Europe, with the course held in London and Austria, and to Asia, with the course held in Hong Kong.

VIA Faculty member Sarah Heller MW will teach the class live from London, with contemporaneous links to the two satellite locations. The internationally respected course is now in its 24th edition, having successfully pivoted to an agile format during the first wave of COVID lockdowns in early 2020. Since then, the course has continued to develop and adapt, with more international venues planned for the future.

The London course will be held in the classroom at the Institute of Masters of Wine building on Riverlight Quay near Vauxhall, London.


The course is divided into two sections:

Section One is self-study online.  It provides access to a student-only learning platform with instructional videos created by VIA Faculty Henry Davar IWE and Sarah Heller MW.

Section Two is an in-person practical session. It is firmly focused on the tasting aspect of the course and master classes covering particular soils, climates, grapes, regions and denominations. All elements of the course are carefully curated by the VIA Faculty team, assisted and advised by scientific advisor Professor Attilio Scienza. The ethos behind the course is a sound scientific focus on the native grapes of Italy and on the characteristics of the 20 regions’ biodiversity, history, culture, and business.


27 July 2022
8am to 12:30pm

· Early Morning Tasting Session 1

· Break

· Late Morning Tasting Session 2

28 July 2022
8am to 12:30pm

· Early Morning Tasting Session

· Break

· Late Morning Tasting Session 2

29 July 2022
8am to 12:30pm

· Examination (3 sections) in the morning (2.5 hours)

· Blind Tasting of 2 wines

· Two Short Essay Questions

· 100 Multiple Choice Questions

· Afternoon Awards and Pinning Ceremony


COST €600 for new students, €300 for students re-sitting the exam

JULY 2022

27th – 29th

Vinitaly International Academy comes to London for the very first time, with in-person practical sessions taught by VIA Faculty member Sarah Heller, MW and supported by Sarah Abbott MW.

Promoted by Swirl Wine Group on behalf of VinItaly International Academy and Just Do The Work.



Wed 27 July 2022
08:00AM – 12:30PM

Thurs 28 July 2022
08:00AM – 12:30PM

Fri 29 July 2022
08:00AM – 12:30PM


The Institute of Masters of Wine
6 Riverlight Quay
Kirtling Street (off Cringle Street)
SW11 8EA
United Kingdom