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If you love Italian wine, Vinitaly 2016 is a festival that you simply cannot miss. Held in Verona every April since 1967, Vinitaly has become one of the world's leading wine competitions, bringing together over 3,000 wines and assessing which vintages qualify as the year's champions.
If you adore Pinot Grigio from Friuli, Moscato from Piedmont or sparkling Prosecco from Veneto, Vinitaly is the place to be: providing a chance to taste the best wines of the year before anybody else.
When wines are certified as bronze, silver or gold by the expert panels at Vinitaly, it means that they are of truly exceptional quality. Among thousands of wines on display at the festival, only 90 or so will be granted a medal, so it's an exclusive club that all producers want to be part of.
In 2016, Vinitaly opens on Sunday 10th April and closes on Wednesday 13th April, so it will make a great basis for a short springtime break in the Verona region. A day ticket to the festival costs 80 Euros (with a discount if you purchase online in advance), and getting to the Exhibition Centre at Veronafiere is easy, with free shuttle buses from the city centre and airport.
When they get there, wine lovers can tour 4,000 exhibitors from different wine regions of the world (although the emphasis is on Italian wines). There are traditional varieties, biodynamic and organic wines and a special section dedicated to organic foods from the Verona region.
Some of the leading names in the world of wine will be hosting conferences, discussing everything from the health benefits of wine to its environmental impact and how to pair wines with cheese.
Vinitaly isn't all about the technical and economic side of the wine industry. Gourmet food is available on site, with live cookery shows to entertain visitors. If you want it to be, Vinitaly 2016 can be an all-round culinary adventure. Pair up the finest wines of the year with a finely cooked Veronese risotto, a bowl of gnocchi or a hearty plate full of polenta and meat. You can also stock up on organically produced olive oil, as well as other drinks like grappa.
It all adds up to a great window into Italian culture, and will be a great event for anyone who wants a true taste of the finest wines and foods that modern Italy has to offer.