This year's Hong Kong International Wine Fair partner country is one of the largest producers of wine in the world by volume, and also one of the leaders in terms of quality.
'Italy produced 49.6 million hectoliters of wine last year, which accounted for around 17 per cent of world production, and about 30 per cent of European Union production, becoming the first wine producer in the world surpassing France,' explains Italian Trade Commissioner Paola Guida.
'You will be able to taste some of the top Italian wines at many seminars and tasting sessions organised during this exhibition.'
In line with its partner country status, Italy has considerably increased its presence at this year's fair. The country has the largest group pavilion, with more than 200 exhibitors, an increase of about 80 per cent over last year.
Among the wine associations and regional organisations in the Italian Pavilion are Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, Enoteca Emilia Romagna and Vinitaly.
One of the returning visitors is Hong Kong-based Italian wine and food importer Valdivia, which has witnessed dramatic growth of local interest in the country's wines, according to managing director Claudia Capelvenere.
'Each of Italy's 20 wine producing regions offers an exciting, complex range of indigenous grapes and styles of wines, on a scale that perhaps no other wine producing country is able to rival. In addition, the exceptional value to quality ratio that Italian wines so successfully offer is exactly what the consumer is looking for in today's economy,' Capelvenere says.
Italy is the seventh largest wine supplier to Hong Kong and, in the first eight months of this year, the city imported more than US$17 million worth of red, white and sparkling Italian wines, representing a year-on-year increase of about 57 per cent.
Many big Italian wine names will be represented at the show, including the Barbaresco wines of Angelo Gaja on the Maxxium HK stand.
'We look forward to welcoming 16 of our wine producers hailing from 10 different regions,' Capelvenere says.
'The ever-popular double-fermented, velvety-smooth Ripassa from Zenato, as well as a top example of their limited production Amarone made from dried grapes will be available for tasting. From the historical village of Barolo, Fontanafredda and Bava will have their large selections available. From Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico Riserva, plus lesser-known wines, mainly sold on the domestic market will be featured, and for white wines, the ever-popular, elegant cool-climate Pinot Grigios from Marco Felluga, Elena Walch and Ca'Vit can be swirled and compared - not to mention Carpene Malvolti, the inventor of the wonderful, fashionable, fresh sparkling Prosecco from the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the Veneto region.'
According to Guida, the Italian Trade Commission is setting up events such as a wine tasting seminar organised by Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, and a series of seminars to be held by Friuli Venezia Giulia.
'As part of the Italian Cuisine World Summit, top Italian chefs from all around the world, many of them Michelin-starred, will host master cooking classes at the Italian Pavilion, which is sponsored by Vinitaly, throughout the exhibition period,' Guida says.