Wine Exhibitors


Thursday, February 15, 2018 ~ JW Marriott Essex House, New York City



For thirty-three years, GALA ITALIA has been the most important and  most prestigious promotion of Italian wine and food in the United States to the mainstream media. Hundreds of wine editors across the country come to GALA ITALIA each year to meet with wine industry professionals – many of whom traveled from Italy – and to taste the finest wines Italy has to offer, discover the latest innovations in wine production, and celebrate the outstanding achievements made by Italy in the U.S. wine market.

Strictly reserved to the press, the Gala attracts the most influential publications and news organizations with its unique format, including Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Bon Appetit, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Forbes, Newsweek, Hearst Magazines, Food & Vine Country, Dessert Magazine, Beverage Media, The New York Times, and Town & Country, among many others. Also in attendance: the main press agencies, TV reporters (including RAI TV), and correspondents of the most prominent Italian media organizations.

One of the key attractions of GALA ITALIA is its awards ceremony.  During the Gala Press Dinner, leading wine editors, educators and restaurateurs are presented with the “Wine Leader Awards” and “Gold Medals” in recognition of their many contributions to the wine industry. Among the previous “Wine Leader Award” recipients are Adam Strum (editor and director of Wine Enthusiast), John Mariani (author of “How Italian Food conquered the World”), Florence Fabricant (New York Times journalist) and Joshua Greene (Editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine); as well as wine educators, including Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, Marc Taub and Kevin Zraly; and wine producers, including Piero Antinori, Jacopo Biondi Santi, Pio Boffa (Pio Cesare), Matteo Lunelli (Ferrari), Chiara Lungarotti and Lucio Tasca.

As Italian wine shines in the spotlight at GALA ITALIA, so too does Italian cuisine. Every year, the Italian Wine & Food Institute invites chefs from the top Italian restaurants in New York to come and show off their finest dishes at the Wine & Food Tasting Reception. Additionally, the menu for the Gala Press Dinner is specifically designed to compliment the wines offered to guests. Throughout the course of dinner, Italian wine producers illustrate the unique characteristics of their wines as guests taste them with their food, providing a truly memorable and unique experience to the press and wine enthusiasts in attendance.

Fashion presentations, music by Italian song artists, and art displays are just some of the other special highlights of GALA ITALIA that further promotes “Made in Italy.”

GALA ITALIA is unique in that it greatly benefits from the success of its past editions, and consistently updates its formula in order to keep people coming back year after year.

GALA ITALIA is organized by the Italian Wine & Food Institute under the high patronage of the Italian Ambassador to Washington, D.C.

Read more at our ABOUT GALA ITALIA page!



GALA ITALIA: 33rd Edition
February 15, 2018

Wine & Food Tasting Reception
(6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)
30+ wines paired with hors d’oeuvres

Gala Press Dinner
(8:00 p.m.)
10+ wines ranging from Spumanti to dessert wines
Four-course meal designed to pair perfectly with the wines
Wine producers talk about their wines to guests

Awards Ceremony
(9:00 p.m.)
Presentation of “Wine Leader Awards” & “Gold Medals”
to honor the top wine and food editors & journalists




6:00 pm to 7:00 p.m. ~ Petit Salon of the JW Marriott Essex House

Format & Set-Up

  • The format is a walk-around tasting, where guests taste wines at each station while sampling Italian finger foods and talking directly with Italian producers and restaurateurs.
  • The reception will see the presence of the leading Italian wine and food producers and over 300 qualified and selected guests, restaurateurs, and journalists and reporters from across the Atlantic Coast of the U.S.
  • The Petit Salon will be specially prepared and supplied with all equipment necessary to implement this initiative.
  • Hotel staff will set up the wine stations assigned to the participating companies. The opening of the bottles, the pouring of the wines and the distribution of information to the guests will be the responsibility of the producers and/or importers.

Wines to be Served at the Wine & Food Tasting Reception

  • At the Wine Tasting, each winery must present only wines produced by its own company, and up to a maximum of three wines, one of which must be of particular importance and vintage.
  • Based upon an expected attendance of over 300 guests at the event, it is suggested to deliver to the JW Marriott Essex House at least one carton (12 bottles of 750 ml.) for each exhibited wine (to avoid the risk of running out of wine before the conclusion of the Wine Tasting).
  • All the unused wines can be collected at the end of the event. The participating wineries should agree with their importers on their participation details and on delivery of the wines.
  • Wine producers should also make sure that the vintages of the wines delivered to the hotel by their importers are the same as those indicated in the participation form and in the catalogue.
  • See “Wine Delivery” information below.


7:00 p.m. ~ Grand Ballroom of the JW Marriott Essex House

Format & Set-Up

  • At 7:00 p.m. (sharp) guests and participating Wine Exhibitors move into the Grand Ballroom, which will be appropriately set up by hotel staff, for the sit-down Gala Press Dinner.
  • At least one representative of the company must be present. The representative is requested to prepare personalized remarks about the wine, and then give these remarks when the wine is being served to the guests at dinner. The remarks should be limited to two minutes.
  • The Italian Wine & Food Institute will provide instructions in advance to Wine Exhibitors on when to present their remarks.

Wines to be Served at the Gala Press Dinner

  • At the Gala Press Dinner, each winery must present one wine produced by its own company. This wine must be of particular importance and vintage.
  • At least 36 bottles of 750 ml. of the wine for the dinner are required (one bottle for each table).

Wine Delivery

  • All the wines for the Wine & Food Tasting Reception and Gala Press Dinner must be delivered to the JW Marriott Essex House in advance of the event.
  • To download the Delivery Label for the Wine Tasting, click HERE.
  • To download the Delivery Label for the Press Dinner, click HERE.


  • The most qualified wine and food editors and a select number of industry leaders and restaurateurs from across Northeastern U.S. will be invited to the Gala Press Dinner based upon a frequently-updated mailing list. The Italian Wine & Food Institute will follow up with e-mails and letters to invitees, ensuring a high attendance level at the Gala.

Public Relations Campaign

  • An intensive public relations campaign will be conducted to publicize the event and its participants, and a series of press releases will be sent to wine and food editors and American press.


  • For GALA ITALIA, the Italian Wine & Food Institute will prepare and distribute an informative catalogue (in color) to guests in attendance, listing the following for both the Wine & Food Tasting Reception and Gala Press Dinner:
    • All wine and food stations with each producer’s name and station number (Wine & Food Tasting Reception only)
    • Specific details of each wine presented, including its brand, denomination, production details and unique characteristics
    • Descriptions of the wine presented
    • Each wine’s importer and contact information
    • Each wine’s producer and contact information
    • Advertisements from sponsors. (Special recognition will be given to the sponsors of the event)
  • In addition to their visibility in the catalogue, participating companies will also have the benefit of being publicized (at no extra cost) on the website of the Italian Wine & Food Institute in the “Exhibitors” category where, thanks to the producers’ full contact information on display, website visitors can easily contact them.

Registration for Guests

  • Participating Wine Exhibitors automatically receive two complimentary admission tickets to the Gala Press Dinner as part of their participation. If participating Wine Exhibitors wish to invite additional guests, these guests pre-register on the Gala Italia Registration Page (OPENING JANUARY 2018) and pay the cost of admission.
  • Only wine and food editors are invited to the GALA ITALIA.
  • All guests are pre-registered on-line (unregistered Guests will not be admitted).
  • The deadline to RSVP is February 12, 2018.

Cost of Participation

  • The contribution for participation in the Gala Italia Wine Tasting and the Gala Press Dinner is $4,000 for each producer, and includes Two Admission Tickets to the Gala Press Dinner (Value: $1,000).

To Participate as a Wine Exhibitor:

You can participate in the GALA ITALIA  by filling out an on-line participation form and paying via credit card. To download the form, please click on the link directly below and follow the instructions:

Electronic Participation Form

Alternatively, you can participate in the GALA ITALIA by filling out a paper participation form and paying by check or bank wire transfer.To download the form, please click on the link directly below and follow the instructions:

Paper Participation Form



  • Have a question for us? Please contact the Italian Wine & Food Institute at (212) 867-4111 or We will be happy to assist you!

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