Italy's first wine academy is shortly to open in Rome – to teach Italians about foreign wines and foreigners about Italian wines.

The International Wine Academy of Roma opens its doors in June this year, in a restored Roman palazzo at the top of the historic Spanish Steps. Its five floors will house the wine school, a wine bar and restaurant, a library and areas for business meetings.

‘We want to make it a quality place,’ director Valentina Morriconi told decanter.com. ‘We think it should be a meeting place for wine lovers and business people – somewhere nice and quiet.’

The venture has been put together by Roberto Wirth of the nearby Hotel Hassler, together with a group of associates including wine experts Steven Spurrier and Hugh Johnson. The major Italian estates are also certain to take a key role.

Wine classes are being organised under the auspices of Spurrier – who founded L’Academie du Vin in Paris (and also one of Decanter’s consultant editors).

Courses will last half a day including lunch with the teacher, or three days. There will also be longer courses consisting of one day’s tuition a week. A half day course will will cost €250 (£154). Students from abroad will learn all about Italian wines, while classes for Italian students will centre on wines from outside Italy.

The school also owns a villa in Siena, where students will be invited for ‘wine holidays’.

Written by Adam Lechmere12 March 2002