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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

#ChampagneWishes #ItalyPeachy #NIGHTLIGHT @GruppoItaliano1 Gruppo Italiano (GI) Italian Table Talks - Chapter 16 Irpinia: We Are Waiting for You

Gruppo Italian President, our pal Gianfranco Sorrentino
Teresa Petilia, Ilaria Petitto, Charles Scicolone; Randall Restiano leads panels discussion
Eduardo Sorrentino and Paula Bolla Sorrentino
Peachy Deegan and Gianfranco Sorrentino
Peachy Deegan and Vito Gnazzo
Italian Trade Commissioner, Antonino Laspina

SVA Theatre, on Monday, March 6, Gruppo Italiano (GI) brought back----after a long period of virtual Italian Table Talks events----its in-person version of its popular, original series. Aligned with its mission, the ITT - 16 topic, "Irpinia, We Are Waiting for You" forged head-long into education, this time educating its audience on the lesser known province of Irpinia and its determined efforts to forge an identity as a wine producing region worthy of note, and challenge to its more well-known northern neighbors of Tuscany and Piedmont to name a couple. We could not suggest a better event anywhere than a wine tasting with our friends at the fabulous 501c3 Gruppo Italiano!  Irpinia wines have been in the marketplace, and is not considered a new, but the efforts to push more significantly into the US market was wholly upon the minds of the region's wine producers, the Irpinia Consorzio Tutela Vino, spearheaded by its President Teresa Petilia and Vice President Ilaria Petitto, both wine producers in their own rights, of Petilia and Donnachiara.

To make the case, and discuss the issues, Gruppo Italiano called upon the Italian Trade Commissioner, Antonino Laspina to set the tone with opening remarks of advise and appreciation; advise, in that Irpinia needs to do more by way of events such a ITT; appreciation that province seems genuinely behind the Consorzio's ambitious push for more notoriety. The President of the Irpinia Foundation for the relaunch of the Irpinia Brand at an international level, Sabino Basso, added his remarks of thanks and enthusiasm for bringing their fine wines to the US. This followed by a spirited discussion lead by moderator, Randall Restiano Beverage Director, Eataly at Flatiron, NYC. His pointed questions were put to an able-bodied panel of experts on the region, marketing and Italian wines including: Charles Scicolone, noted Wine, Food and Travel Blogger; Nunzio Castaldo President at Panebianco Wines Import; Ferrante Di Somma Owner of Cantine di Marzo, oldest Winery in Irpinia; and Berardo Paradiso President of Italian American Committee on Education, (IACE); Head of the New York SoHo chapter of the Italian Academy of Cuisine---all of whom urged Irpinia to stay the course and keep presenting its Taurasi, Greco di tufo, and Fiano Aglianico wines to the trade. Meanwhile, Mr. Paradiso touted the region as a relatively undiscovered area worthy of the time to explore its beauty and culture.

For decades the Italian wine industry has been notably perceived by the global consumer as a northern providence commodity, namely from regions, among others, as the highly familiar and promoted Tuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy, and Veneto. Scan attention has been paid to the more central and southern regions such as the providence of Puglia, Campania which even those being overshadowed by Naples' touted reputation---that is until now with the revitalized emergence of Irpinia and its spectacular wine offerings.

Irpinia is an appellation in the Campania region of southern Italy. It lies in the northeast of Avellino province, in the lower reaches of the Apennine mountains. It gained DOC status in 2005. The ancient white Greco and Fiano, and Aglianico are the the key grape varieties for the zone's burgeoning wine production.

These grape varieties are primarily responsible for Campania's three DOCGs as well as Irpinia DOC wines. New and improved vinification techniques have allowed these lesser known grapes to truly surface with innate credibility, coupled with a redoubled effort of the region to promote itself: its history, medieval architectural charm, and prominent attractions such as the Santuario di Montevergine/ Mercogliano, Abbazia del Goleto/ Sant'Angelo dei Lombard, and the Museo della Cultura e della Civiltà Contadina di Guardia Lombardi/ Guardia Lombardi, among others.  Now we are waiting for the next wine region of Italy to grace our palate!

The evening concluded with wines of the Consorzio wineries offering their wines to guests eager to sample their fine wines:


Case d'Alto

D’elitè Cantine


Feudi di San Gregorio

Historia Antiqua


Podere Melone


Tenuta Sarno

Cantina die Monaci

Fratelli Addimanda

Machine Santamaria

Villa Raiano

Gruppo Italiano has successfully fostered the appreciation of Italian Cuisine in the United States since its inception in 1979.  Gruppo Italiano (GI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering Italian culinary culture and genuine products through educational series and scholarships. It offers timely and in-depth information to its members: restaurants, producers, importers, and distributors of authentic Italian products, as well as media, culinary schools, and to the general public with a serious passion for authentic Italian food and wine.  

Gruppo Italiano (GI) was officially formed in 2017, as an evolution from the original Gruppo Ristoratori Italiani (GRI), a non-profit association founded in 1979 to increase the awareness of authentic Italian cuisine and to promote Italian cuisine’s image through member restaurants, culinary scholarships and events.  Throughout its history, GRI made great strides in enhancing the perception of and passion for Italian food and wine throughout the hospitality industry in the United States, and now, Gruppo Italiano begins a new era in developing a stronger presence of authentic Italian culinary products and services in the United States.

The GI membership body consists of two segments reflective of the Italian restaurant industry itself: Trade/Journalists(influential Italian restaurateurs, distributors, importers, and other prominent business and cultural leaders), and enthusiastic and passionate members of the General Public, and continues to be one of the most respected culinary and cultural organizations in the country!

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