The world’s first wine school will soon open in Italy

Wine lovers rejoice - the world's very first Wine School will be opening soon thanks to an agreement signed on Friday, in the Umbrian city of Perugia.

The world's first wine school will soon open in Italy
Photo: Lori Branham/Flickr

Just weeks ago, the country's first free 24-hour wine fountain opened in Abruzzo, offering locals and tourists the chance to help themselves to a glass.

And now, Italy is opening a school where you can extend your knowledge of the beverage beyond the practical.

The Wine School in Perugia, Umbria, will be the world's first educational centre dedicated to wine. 

It's the product of a partnership which was made official today, between Perugia's University dei Sapori, which offers a wide variety of culinary courses, and the Umbrian branch of Italy's Foundation of Sommeliers (FISU). 

The first courses will kick off in November, and will include an advanced level of training for professionals in the wine industry, as well as a selection of programmes for amateur wine enthusiasts.

Additional courses, including lessons on pairing wine with cheese and even courses on other drinks such as beer and champagne, are planned for the future, along with plenty of talks and tastings.

The president of the university, Anna Rita Fioroni, told Perugia Today she believed the school “can only bring positive results”.

“We are delighted to share the wine culture of our region,” said Davide Marotta, chairman of FISU. “This has always been our mission.

“We have a dream of contributing to a greater awareness of food and drink in Umbria, and ensuring more people are well-prepared to receive wine tourists,” added Marotta.

In fact, studying wine is far from a radical idea in Italy. 

Earlier this year, politicians put  forward a bill to introduce classes on the history and culture of Italian wine in the country's schools.

The proposals, which have been laid out in a draft bill, would see schoolchildren spend one hour a week learning about Italy's thriving wine industry as part of the national curriculum.

“We're not trying to teach kids to drink – although even if we were it wouldn't be so bad,” Dario Stefàno, from Italy's Left Ecology and Freedom party, told Il Fatto Quotidiano.

“I've put the idea out there and it's been met positively,” Stefàno said.

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‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's Universities Minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

Ranked: Italy’s best universities and how they compare worldwide

“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.