31st Gala Italia at New York’s Pierre Hotel Celebrates Key Influencers — and $1.5 Billion in 2015 Italian Wine Exports

Monday, February 22, 2016

Top Left: Jameson Fink of Wine Enthusiast, Brian Freedman, Richard Fabricant with his wife honoree Florence Fabricant of The New York Times; “Mister Manners” Tom Farley, and Andrew Dornenburg; Bottom Right: Karen Page, honoree Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW, and Baroness Sheri de Borchgrave

“With the participation of over 300 of the most famous and important American wine and food editors, the 31st edition of the GALA ITALIA took place on February 18th at The Pierre Hotel in New York.”
GALA ITALIA official announcement

Where on earth have we been for the past 30 years, given that this was the first year we were able to join “300 of the most famous and important American wine and food editors” for the 31st annual GALA ITALIA?  Organized by the Italian Wine & Food Institute under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the ICE – Italian Trade Agency, the gala took place last Thursday at The Pierre in New York City.

Lucio Caputo, president of the Italian Wine & Food Institute, is a long-time proponent of Italian wine in the U.S., which in 2015 represented $1.5 billion in exports.  On Thursday night, Caputo shared the credit — and the love — with a number of Americans who have notably celebrated Italian wine and food.


Top Right: Wine Spectator’s Bruce Sanderson; Bottom Right: Baroness Sheri de Borchgrave, Wine Enthusiast’s Adam Strum, Emmy Award winning-host Michael-Ann Rowe; and Karen Page

Following a walk-around tasting, more than 300 guests gathered in the hotel’s Ballroom for dinner and the awards ceremony, including Caputo’s presentation of the Italian Wine Excellence Award to Adam Strum, editor and publisher of Wine Enthusiast magazine Strum was said to have joined Dr. Caputo to attend Vinitaly in Verona in the 1980s, which had made him a convert to their charms.

In addition, Caputo presented Wine Leader Awards to America’s first female Master of Wine Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW, director of the International Wine Center; New York Times columnist Florence Fabricant; Fabio Granato, who — with partner of Vittorio Assaf promotes Italian wine and food around the world through their restaurant Serafina; Le Cirque “master of ceremonies” Sirio Maccioni (whose son Mario graciously accepted on his behalf, while Sirio’s wife Egi beamed); and writer John Mariani, author of a number of books including How Italian Food Conquered the World.


Top Left: Lucio Caputo of the Italian Wine & Food Institute; Bottom Left: Emmy Award-winning host Michael-Ann Rowe and Andrew Dornenburg

The evening’s gala dinner showcased nine wines accompanying the five-course menu, each introduced by representatives from the wineries, all of whom had flown in from Italy to be a part of the event.  The wines included:  2006 Ferrari, Riserva Lunelli, Trento DOC;  2014 Planeta, Chardonnay, Sicilia IGT; 2013 Tenuta Santa Caterina, Silente delle Marne, Monferrato Bianco DOC; 2011 Marchesi Antinori, Villa Antinori Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva;  2008 Tenute Lunelli, Carapace, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG; 2008 Condè, Sangiovese di Romagna DOC Riserva; 2007 Mezzacorona, NOS Teroldego Rotaliano DOC Riserva; 2012 Bertani, Villa Arvedi, Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena DOCG and 2011 Sorrentino, Fior di Ginestre, Passito IGT Pompeiano.

The dinner was punctuated by a fashion show of men’s apparel from Eredi Pisanò of Rome.


Top, left to right: Lucio Caputo with Florence Fabricant of The New York Times; Adam Strum of Wine Enthusiast; Fabio Granato of Serafina restaurants; Center: The Ballroom at The Pierre; Lower, left to right: Author John Mariani, etched awards, author Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW

GALA ITALIA is the longest-running “Made in Italy” promotional event in the world, aside from fairs, which led to Mayor Bill de Blasio sending along a message of thanks and congratulations to the Italian Wine & Food Institute, participating companies, award winners, and “famous and important” journalists alike — including at least two first-timers.


GALA ITALIA is produced by the Italian Wine and Food Institute, 60 East 42nd Street, New York, NY  10165.  212.867.4111.  Additional photos from the 2016 GALA ITALIA can be found on the IWFI’s website at iwfinews.com.

Categorized: Global