Italian Wine Academy

Welcome to the Native Grapes Italian Wine Academy. Our stand-alone programs can also act as useful stepping stones to continuing your educational journey with WSG’s Italian Wine Scholar™ (IWS) or Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) certification study program, the gold standards in Italian wine courses. These lessons will introduce you to the wealth of Italian native grape varieties, which is fundamental to understanding Italy’s complex and fascinating wines.


Our courses

At the Native Grapes Italian Wine Academy, our courses are:


Use our carefully crafted learning materials to complete courses in your own time. Your progress is saved every step of the way.

Designed by industry experts

The content for these courses was designed by the highly experienced certified Italian Wine expert, Hugh Preece.

Aligned with further qualifications

These courses will prepare you for the Italian Wine Scholar and Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) certification study programs.


The academy

The focus on native grapes and regional appellations sets this prep course apart from many others and provides a unique depth of knowledge and understanding.

The goal of Native Grapes IWA is to prepare and develop a cadre of enthusiasts who are highly knowledgeable about Italian wine, can speak and write about Italian wine with authority and will be credible representatives for the Italian wine community.

Get to know

Our founder

Hugh Preece is a well-known Restauranteur, Executive and Director with over 30 years of successful experience. Hugh is an Italian Wine Ambassador, certified by the Vinitaly International Academy, and an Italian Wine Scholar, Sommelier and 5 Star Wine Judge, certified by the Wine Scholar Guild. As an Italian Wine Educator, Hugh is certified through the Vinitaly International Academy Educator Program, WSET Level 2.

As a scholar of Italian history and culture, Hugh is author to Counting Castles in Abruzzo and Veneto Beyond the Obvious. He is also a host on Clubhouse Day Drinking, and was featured in various media appearances as an expert on Italian Wine. 



  • Walt Disney Delivering the Difference Award
  • Operator of the Year
  • Most Profitable Region of the Year
  • Culinary Operations


Our courses

Frequently asked questions

Who should take these courses?

Some of our courses are aimed at novices to the appreciation of Italian Wine, whereas other courses are for intermediate or advanced students. Please take a look at the overview page of the particular course you want to take to determine whether it is the right fit for you.

Are there in-person classes?

No. All of our courses are self-paced, so you will not be required to be in a specific place at a specific time to complete the course, except where the course includes an exam. Information on exams are included in the course overview information where required.

How can I choose my courses?

In our course catalog, you can read through the description of each course prior to purchasing the course. The course overview will give you an idea of the core topics that will be covered, who the course is aimed at, and how long the course will take to complete.

Will I get a certificate?

Yes, you will receive a digital certificate from the Native Grapes Italian Wine Academy. Our courses will also prepare you to further your studies with the Italian Wine Scholar and Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) certification study programs.

Get in touch

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