Vinitaly: the International Festival that Made Wine a “Made in Italy” Product

After its 53rd edition, Vinitaly has become more international than always, contributing to spreading Italian culture and traditions abroad

April 11th, 2019
Maria Gobbi, News from Berlin

The Italian wine festival “Vinitaly” has been for over 50 years a powerful promoter of Italian culture abroad.

Nowadays, Italy is globally renowned for its heritage, good food, and wine; but it hasn’t always been like this. In the 1960s Italy adopted a new legislation to regulate the quality of the wine-producing sector, making it a product of interest for foreign markets, and it is not a coincidence that the first edition of the wine festival Vinitaly took place in Verona in 1967. The festival started as an Italian initiative, but it was soon recognized as the main promoter of the “wine renaissance”, and already in 1978 it opened its doors to foreign companies.

Year after year, the festival has grown at the international level, starting to tour not only around Europe, but also in the US, China, Russia, and many other countries around the world. What made Vinitaly special was its capacity to transform the idea of wine from purely drinking to an overall experience which is to be enjoyed together with food and good company. The festival has boosted not only Italian economy, but also the image of Italy abroad, shaping its cultural relations.

In recognition of this role, the Italian President Sergio Mattarella attended Vinitaly in 2016 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. During his speech, President Mattarella spoke about the important role of the festival as part of the “wine renaissance” in Italy and abroad, raising the bar of quality at the international level. In particular, he highlighted the essential part played by Vinitaly in promoting Italian culture abroad. The governmental support to the festival is shown through the participation of the latter in the special “Made in Italy promotion plan” funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, and in its close collaboration with the Ministry for Agricultural Policies for the setting of standards and international promotion.

The 53rd edition of Vinitaly has just come to an end (7-10 April 2019), seeing the participation of people coming from 145 countries, with the top countries of origin being the United States (+2% compared to 2018), Germany (+4%), the United Kingdom (+9%), China (+3%) and Canada (+18%). Vinitaly reached this year its peak of attendance, receiving also institutional visits of the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers, the President of the Senate, the Minister of Agricultural and Tourism Policies and, on a European scale, the Commissioner for Agriculture. The festival is, after many years from its first edition, still a key promoter of Italian culture abroad.


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