Having changed its name to include “food”, rest assured this year’s Sydney Italian Wine and Food Festival still has its nose firmly in the glass. For that you can thank festival founder/director Lara Caraturo, previously head sommelier at Pilu at Freshwater. Now in its second year, the festival aims to promote and simplify the diverse and often confusing world of Italian wine.

For many the easiest way to begin exploring this world will be a visit to the tasting hall. More than 250 wines will be showcased and available to taste throughout the day. The wines will be organised by region, allowing tasters to focus on what makes each region distinct. This is how Caraturo herself learned about Italian wine. Also on show in the tasting hall will be beers and digestives.

Those with a few more Barolo-drinking notches in their belt can take part in a range of wine masterclasses. The five sessions will cover a variety of topics, including classic Italian grape varieties at Fiasco to Triumph (Sangiovese), a regional focus with Wines With Alititude (Mount Etna) and Italy’s Royal Reds (Piedmont). There will also be a debate on the topic of natural wine called, Orange is The New Black. Expect lively conversation from a panel made up of Australia’s top wine writers, sommeliers, importers and winemakers.

If you need a break from wine, head to the Negroni Bar. Not only will the iconic Italian cocktail be on offer, Aperol and Cinzano will be available too, mixed to your liking. Beer seminars will also run throughout the day, presented by Italian beer specialists.

For those who need lunch, don’t worry. The festival will have plenty of other activities, including a food market, cooking demonstrations, coffee, language classes and the Lasagne Challenge – the winner of which will be crowned Australia’s top home-lasagne maker.

The Sydney Italian Wine and Food Festival is happening on Sunday, September 14 at Town Hall.

sydneyitalianwinefood.com.au