A group of friends with one passion: Italian wines.
A group of Italian entrepreneurs and professionals linked by their friendship and sharing a deep passion for Italian wines, got together in 2010 with the idea of creating a space in London dedicated to promoting, discovering, learning and purchasing Italian wines. Having found an ideal location in South Kensington, opposite the West London home of the famed auction house Christie’s, the idea became reality and the company was incorporated at the end of that year.
Opened in November 2011, Vini Italiani (VI) is part store, part meeting space. Loyal to the proverbial warmth of Italian hospitality, VI provides a highly professional retail experience thanks to its staff of sommeliers within a space designed for courses, meetings and events.
VI’s vision is to promote Italian wines in London by educating and informing wine lovers, both experts and amateurs, about the large variety and impressive quality of the Italian wine scene.
Meet the team
When things get complicated you need expert guidance. With the widest variety of autochthon grapes and the largest production of wine in the world (yes, it’s hard to believe but Italy produces more wine than France) we have decided to help our customers by having a team of sommeliers in the store to help you to choose always the best and most appropriate wine for any situation.
Simone Semprini, Head Sommelier
Simone has been working as a Sommelier for more than 20 years in the luxury hospitality industry in Italy and UK. After obtaining his AIS (Italian Sommelier Association) Sommelier Diploma, he started his career working in Michelin starred restaurants and hotels in Italy. He then decided to move to London to gain International wine knowledge, working as Senior Sommelier for Gordon Ramsey’s Claridge’s and afterwards as Deputy Head Sommelier for The Ritz London. Among his recognitions, Simone has been awarded The Best International Sommelier by Bibenda Wine Trophy in 2010.
Alessandra Celio, Store Manager Sommelier
Alessandra Celio has been a sommelier for 4 years, serving in restaurants such as Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley Hotel and Brunello Restaurant at Baglioni Hotel London. She has awarded the Italian Association of Sommelier (AIS) Award for Innovation in the Profession. Alessandra has worked in the luxury hospitality industry in Italy and UK in leadership food and wine roles.
Luciana Girotto, Roaming Sommelier
Luciana Girotto has been a sommelier for more than 20 years, serving in Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy and the UK. She is currently a wine consultant and Italian wine broker. Luciana has been part of the tasting committee of different DOCs and DOCGs in Italy and judge for several international wine awards, among the development of the Italian Association of Sommelier (A.I.S.) in England.
Matteo Berlucchi, Co-Founder & Chairman
Matteo comes from the Fratelli Berlucchi family of wine makers from Franciacorta, an area between Milan and Brescia celebrated for its method-champenoise sparkling wines. Matteo is a ‘serial entrepreneur’ in the digital sector and has been living in the UK with his wife and three children since 1993. Vini Italiani is both the first wine and non-digital venture he is involved with.
Bruno Cernecca, Co-Founder & Managing Director
Bruno has owned bars in his native Trieste since young age, then moving to the UK in 1997. In his career he has been managing bars, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs for Whitbread and Pals Leisure Group. He has been General Manager for Carluccio’s and then involved in the opening and management of Rocco Princi and Alan Yau’s famous bakery in Wardour Street.
Diuska Luppi, Co-Foounder & Head of Marketing and Communication
Diuska is a marketer with more than 15 years experience in product and brand management, Advertising and Communication gained through various roles at Nestle Italy and UK. She was also Managing Director at Chianti Classico Consortium for more than 3 years before relocating in London in 2005 with her husband and two daughters. She brings to Vini Italiani her professional background coupled with her passion for Italian wines.