The producers are descending upon London from Sicily to Trentino, and will pour well-known favourites such as Barolo and Pinot Grigio along with more obscure indigenous wines like Croatina.
Some are looking exclusive independent retail listings, while some of the larger producers are seeking to forge long-term relationships with UK importers.
Natasha Hughes MW will present an 11am masterclass called “Piedmont & Tuscany - Past, Present and Future” and Peter McCombie MW will lead one at 2pm called “Trentino Uncorked - Alpine Vines, Fragrant Wines”.
Italy is the second biggest country of origin supplying the UK off-trade, but still wine sales are down 8% in volume and 6% in value (Nielsen, year to January 2015).
But Prosecco is flying off shelves and retailers and suppliers alike believe still wine will soon turn its fortunes around.
Waitrose BWS boss Pierpaolo Petrassi MW said: “Italian wine has been both in and out of favour with the UK press over the decades but consumers have never fallen out of love with it. Keen observers now realise that the seemingly ubiquitous Pinot Grigio and Prosecco are part of a much wider and varied vinous landscape that UK consumers trust and feel comfortable exploring.”
Bruno Cernecca, managing director at independent wine merchant Vini Italiani, said: “Italian wines are becoming more and more interesting for the British public. This is due to their great variety, diversity and quality. Thanks to the ever-so-popular brands like Prosecco, Chianti, Barolo and Brunello, customers are now also keen to discover lesser known production areas and grape varieties.”
Liberty Wines managing director David Gleave MW added: “After years of Italy being the Cinderella country, it is gratifying to see how well the country's wines are now doing. And it isn't just Pinot Grigio and Prosecco; Barolo, Langhe, Nebbiolo, Soave, Valpolicella, and a myriad of Tuscans and native varieties from the South are all doing well. Italy's complexity, once seen as a weakness, is now viewed as a strength by those who, once they've tried a few wines, discover an endless world of flavours and styles. I'm confident that Italian wines will continue to go from strength to strength.”
The confirmed exhibitors for the tasting are:
Trentino: Maso Cantanghel, Maso ai Dossi, Cantina d’Isera, Maso Poli, Cesco,
Veneto: Trabucchi d’Illasi, Cantina Reale, Coste Petrai
Piedmont: Villa Penna, Cascina I Carpini, Dosio Vigneti, La Baretta
Tuscany: Vigna Vecchia, Villa Buonasera, Archipettoli
Umbria: Santo Iolo
Sicily: Icone Vini, Cantina Chitarra