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Black Tie International:
Ms. Gloria T. Cressler International Editor Black Tie International Magazine, Gabriele Massa (Sorrentino), Luca Branzanti (Sorrentino), Ross Weinberg (Exec. Chef, Figs by Todd English)
Ms. Gloria T. Cressler International Editor Black Tie International Magazine,
Gabriele Massa (Sorrentino), Luca Branzanti (Sorrentino),
 Ross Weinberg (Exec. Chef, Figs by Todd English)
By: Gloria Consolacion T. Cressler, International Correspondent 
Photographs by: Bill Lee Lanndis

More than 300 of the most famous, distinct and renowned American wine and food editors participated at another fabulous event of Gala Italia - the 31st Edition took place February 18th held at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The success of this challenging and prestigious event reached an unprecedented high. The event celebrated and acclaimed leading personalities who through their reputation, accomplishments and hard work dedicated their lives and careers to food and wine. The President of the Italian Wine & Food Institute Lucio Caputo presented well and was widely-applauded by his welcome remarks, in which he highlighted the success achieved by Italian wine in the U.S. with over 3.5 million hectoliters for a value of $1.5 billion exported to the U.S. in 2015.

GALA ITALIA featured a tasting of select wines from major reputable Italian wineries (particularly those that appeal more successfully to the American market) and a Gala Dinner that comprised of nine great wines paired with their favorite five-course meal. Over 300 guests attended the tasting event at the Pierre Hotel in their elegant ballroom where all the guests enjoyed the delicious food and the smart pairing of the superb wines. This was specially designed to give maximum tasteful emphasis to the presenting of the wines.

Three thousand Luigi Bormioli Parma glasses were placed on top of special “Glass Mats” on the guests’ tables and illuminated by candlelight giving a beautiful ambience to the ballroom and further emphasizing the wines. The dinner was enhanced by a presentation of men’s fashion house, Eredi Pisanò of Rome which enjoys great success in the American market thanks to its stylish, chic, high-quality manufacturing of Italy.

Awards were presented to some who contributed most to the affirmation of Italian wines.  The night began with the Italian Wine Excellence Award - given to Adam Strum, Publisher and Editor of Wine Enthusiast, who, after taking a trip to Verona with Dr. Caputo to visit Vinitaly (in the 1980s), discovered Italian wine, which he has since then always promoted. The IWFI President Dr. Lucio Caputo when giving awards was thanked personally by the awardees in their acceptance remarks. All the award recipients stressed how Italian wines have become part of their lives and for the sublime opportunity to discover and appreciate them all these past years, and particularly flattering were the comments made by Wine Enthusiast Editor Adam Strum. 

Next in line was the Wine Leader Awards presented to John Mariani, the well-known journalist and author of best-selling books, including How Italian Food Conquered the World, then Florence Fabricant, the famous New York Times reporter and icon of American journalism followed by Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, the Director of the International Wine Center and the first American woman to be awarded the title of Master of Wine. Several restaurateurs were also awarded, first was Sirio Maccioni who had elevated Italian gastronomy to unprecedented levels, and Fabio Granato, who, with Vittorio Assaf spread high-quality Italian wine and food across the world through their restaurant Serafina. 

The tickets sold amazingly fast, a week in advance. GALA ITALIA was strictly reserved to the most qualified American wine and food press one could see the presence of the hundreds of the most key and salient TV and print journalists, including guests from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, as well as many distinguished authorities, such as Consul Isabella Periotto, and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. In attendance was yours truly, Gloria T. Cressler International Editor and Host of Black Tie International Magazine with photo Journalist Bill Lanndis also with Black Tie Magazine who took great photographs of noted and influential wine producers, their fabulous programs, and of their significant representatives.

Great wine tastings were made available early evening complemented with remarkably good tasting food from several restaurants. In addition to the wines presented during the Wine & Food Tasting, guests were served nine high-quality wines briefly illustrated by the wineries’ representatives all had traveled to New York to attend this dinner. The wines were presented in following order: Ferrari, Riserva Lunelli, Trento DOC, 2006;  Planeta, Chardonnay, Sicilia IGT, 2014; Tenuta Santa Caterina, Silente delle Marne, Monferrato Bianco DOC 2013; Marchesi Antinori, Villa Antinori Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, 2011;  Tenute Lunelli, Carapace, Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, 2008; Condè, Sangiovese di Romagna DOC Riserva, 2008; Mezzacorona, NOS Teroldego Rotaliano DOC Riserva, 2007; Bertani, Villa Arvedi, Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena DOCG, 2012, and Sorrentino, Fior di Ginestre, Passito IGT Pompeiano, 2011. I personally tasted every one of these wines and they were all excellent.

GALA ITALIA’s prominence is due to it being the longest running “Made in Italy” promotional event in the world (excluding fairs). Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio provided a personal message offering his “many thanks” to and congratulating the Italian Wine & Food Institute and the participating companies, the journalists and the prestigious award-winning personalities. A polished colorful program detailing all the information of the event was specially prepared for GALA ITALIA and was organized by the Italian Wine & Food Institute under the patronage of the Italian Ambassador to Washington, and under the sponsorship of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the ICE - Italian Trade Agency.

We want to commend them all for a job well done, especially to hardworking Dr. Lucio Caputo (President of the International Wine and Food Institute) and his staff for another successful annual event, and the Italian Ambassador of Washington DC and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the Italian Trade Agency. We also thank all the wine producers and there representatives who participated in this event and all the support of our guests. We can hardly wait for the next year’s Gala. Join us at this event next year by emailing Dr. Caputo at or check out their website: 

This is Gloria T. Cressler signing off until next time… Any questions regarding this article contact us at or Mobile: 1-917-575-9578


Dr. Lucio Caputo (President of the Italian Wine & Food Institute)
Dr. Lucio Caputo (President of the Italian Wine & Food Institute)
 Mary Ewing-Mulligan
 Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW
(International Wine Center / First American woman to become Master of Wine)
Florence Fabricant (New York Times)
Florence Fabricant (New York Times)
gives remarks after accepting the "Wine Leader Award"
Chiara Condello (Conde’), Pietro Romani (ID Beverage Group), Alessandra Fiorini (Conde')
Chiara Condello (Conde’), Pietro Romani (ID Beverage Group),
Alessandra Fiorini (Conde')
Jamie Stewart (Ferrari)
Jamie Stewart (Ferrari)
gives formal presentation on the Ferrari sparkling wine served at dinner
Kristin Calmes (Palm Bay International / Planeta) ,  Riccardo Legnaro (Palm Bay International)
Kristin Calmes (Palm Bay International / Planeta)
and Riccardo Legnaro (Palm Bay International)
Ms. Gloria T. Cressler International Editor Black Tie International Magazine,
Kristin Calmes (Palm Bay International / Planeta)
Kristin Calmes (Palm Bay International / Planeta)
Rocca delle Macie Wine Exhibitor
Rocca delle Macie Wine Exhibitor
Lunetta Wine Exhibitor
Lunetta Wine Exhibitor
Giorgio Milos (Illy) Ms. Gloria T. Cressler International Editor Black Tie International Magazine and Adam Paige (Illy)
Giorgio Milos (Illy) Ms. Gloria T. Cressler International Editor Black Tie International Magazine and Adam Paige (Illy)

Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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