Last year saw the import of almost 1.8 million litres of Italian wine coming into the country. The amount of Italian wine coming into the country has more than doubled over the last five years, making Italy the third largest exporter of wine to New Zealand behind Australia and France.

Vino Italiano, an upcoming wine event on the 31st of August in Auckland, will showcase 150 Italian wines for tasting as well as being represented by 16 different leaders in the Italian wine scene. “Vino Italian is an opportunity for Kiwis to get to know the producers, talk to them about their wine, and understand the complex but highly rewarding world of Italian wine,” said Marco Nordio, organiser and director of leading Italian wine importer Sapori d’ Italia.

Italian winemakers attending the event include Antonio Benanti of Benanti Winery, and Pio Boffa, owner of renowned 138-year-old winery Pio Cesare. Furthermore, Masi Winery will be represented with master sommelier and Masi ambassador Cameron Douglas in New Zealand, to run a master class on its trademark Appassimento method (the practice of drying grapes to make wine).

With over 600 native grape varieties, the Italian winemaking scene presents itself as very unique to New Zealand’s industry. Nordio said, “Each variety is intrinsically connected to the region it is from and the history of that area. In this way, you can appreciate Italian wine much more if it is put into a historical and cultural context.”

“Having people from the likes of Mt Etna and Pio Cesare will mean New Zealanders can hear the stories behind Italian wine and have a greater understanding of these wines and the different varieties and their links to the culture and history of the regions.”

The majority of the wines available at Vino Italiano are usually only available in select restaurants, making it a rare opportunity to do tastings and here insider knowledge. Tickets can be found at