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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Anastasia Edwards

The Italian Trade Commission (ICP) has announced the creation of a new wine trade fair, Vitigno Italia, to take place in Naples from 3-5 June. The fair, which will showcase wines made from native Italian grape varieties, was the idea of a trio of Naples businessmen, none of whom has a background in the wine trade: Andrea Romano, Fabrizio Khne and Chicco de Pasquale. De Pasquale, president of Vitigno Italia, said: It is the first time that a private company has organised a wine trade event. I and my partners are convinced that now is the time for such an event. Although Italy has more than 350 indigenous grape varieties, the range and diversity of the Italian offer is not known overseas. We cannot hope to compete on export markets with a New World country such as Chile, which has clear brands.' De Pasquale added: We want to share our message that we are not looking for just one "made in Italy" wine. Our range is our asset.' Rosari Lupa, of Italy's ministry of agriculture, said: Naples is an important place in the Mediterranean economy. We are very sure that there will be an economic return to holding the fair here.' Raffaele Cercola, head of the conference facility at Mostra d'Oltremare in Naples, where the event will be held, said: When I met de Pasquale, I knew that we were on to something and made up my mind. We are proud to have wine back home in Naples. We don't want to imitate the big trade fairs but to rely on quality, tradition and native grape varieties.' De Pasquale added that there were three main reasons why producers would benefit from Vitigno Italia: it would give them access to foreign markets, it would give them a chance to showcase their USP of the huge variety of native grape varieties, and it would enable northern and central Italian wine producers to recapture the southern Italian market for their wines that they have lost in part due to the soaring quality of Southern Italian wine in the past decade. The South has always been neglected,' he said. Now the north has the opportunity to target the south.'