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Italian Wine Maestro Course

Course Schedule:

Session Schedule TBD





$995 (includes all sessions with study materials, wines, and textbook)

What is the Italian Wine Maestro program?

Travel By Wine is proud to be the first in New Jersey to offer the intermediate level program from the VinItaly International Academy (VIA). In line with the VIA philosophy, this course provides a scientific focus on the native grapes of Italy and the regions with which they are associated. Each of the sessions is designed to explore the wines produced from individual, groups, or families of grapes that are native to the region being discussed. Theoretical lectures will be accompanied by guided tastings with benchmark wines.

The course will be led by VIA Italian Wine Ambassador and Certified Educator, Christopher Sachs, DipWSET


Why should I take this course?

There are currently three levels of certification available through the VIA program: Italian Wine Maestro, Italian Wine Ambassador and Italian Wine Expert, the latter being VIA’s highest qualification level.

The goal of the VIA certifications is to develop a cadre of enthusiasts who are highly knowledgeable about Italian wine, can speak and write about Italian wine with authority, and will be credible representatives of the Vinitaly International Academy. Students who successfully pass this course and wish to further their study may apply to enroll in the rigorous VIA study program held annually in Verona and abroad, wherein students pursue either the Ambassador or Expert credentials.


Who is this course for?

This program aims to develop a group of highly knowledgeable and skilled specialists who are able to speak and write about Italian wines with authority and will be credible representatives of VinItaly International Academy.  This course is suitable not only for those working in the wine industry as sommeliers, buyers and educators, but also for the Italian wine enthusiast. Whilst it is rigorous in its approach, it also aims to be enjoyable and pass on our enthusiasm. Wine education is ultimately for anyone who wishes to better understand and appreciate fermented grape juice! 


Learning Objectives

Outcome One: The theory of Italian wine and native wine grapes

  • Understand and explain the history, geography, wine laws and labelling of Italian wines and styles.

  • Describe and understand the key factors that influence the characteristics and differences between Italian native grape varieties.

  • Describe and understand the key production factors that influence the characteristics and differences between Regional Italian wine styles, including sparkling, dry, fortified & sweet wines.

  • Be able to provide accurate, authentic and credible information and advice on Italian wines.

Outcome Two: The analytical tasting of Italian wine

  • Identify and assess the characteristics & quality of Italian wines and styles correctly.



Unit One (1 hour): Written exam

50 Multiple Choice


Unit Two (20 minutes): Tasting exam

One white wine and one red wine using the VIA Tasting Grid


Passing grade: 75%

(A number of outstanding students from the VIA Maestro course may be eligible for direct entry to the VIA Ambassador Certification course.)


Course Structure and Curriculum

The course consists of 24 hours of lessons and tastings and is divided in 8 sessions of 3 hours each. At the end of the course, the students will have a deep and complete understanding of Italian wines. 

  • Session 1: Introduction, families and groups & focus on Italian sparkling

  • Session 2: Native grapes of Piedmont

  • Session 3: Native grapes of Veneto & Valle d’Aosta

  • Session 4: Native grapes of Friuli-Venezia Giulia & Trentino-Alto Adige

  • Session 5: Native grapes of Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany & Umbria

  • Session 6: Native grapes of Le Marche, Abruzzo & Puglia

  • Session 7: Native grapes of Lazio, Campania & Calabria

  • Session 8: Native grapes of Sicily & Sardegna

The sessions are complemented by core wine tastings, to connect each lesson with practical tasting experience. 

During the course, we will taste over 85 wines, exclusively chosen from the most important producers of each and every region and some of which are the highest scoring wines of their category.

We will also be utilizing the textbook Italian Wine Unplugged 2.0. Mamma Jumbo Shrimp, 2022. by Prof. Attilio Scienza and Stevie Kim.



Ideally, students should come to the course with a basic understanding of viticulture and winemaking techniques, as this will not be covered in the scope of this course, and that knowledge is required in order to fully grasp the concepts covered in the VIA course.

Prior wine education such as WSET level 2/CSW/ISG level 1/or the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Level certification may be helpful but are not considered as compulsory.


Sign Up Now! 

To reserve a spot, please fill out the form to the right. You will be contacted via email with additional course resources and for payment information. 

Should you have any questions, please reach out.

Christopher Sachs DipWSET, IWA


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