Italy’s ambassador to Canada found a little slice of his home country tucked away at a West Kelowna winery Wednesday afternoon.
Ambassador Claudio Taffuri and his wife Maria Enrica, stopped by Ciao Bella Winery for several hours Wednesday, chatting, sipping wine and nibbling on an Italian meat-and-cheese plate while Tony Serka played the accordion and sang.
Taffuri was on an official visit to Alberta and British Columbia, meeting with businesses and politicians in Western Canada.
Earlier in the day, Taffuri had stopped at a Kelowna Canadian Italian Club reception in Kelowna.
Taffuri stopped in Kelowna at the invitation of Mauro Chiocchetti, an honourary consular agent in Kelowna for the Consulate General of Italy.
Taffuri had been in Calgary Monday and headed to Vancouver Thursday.
“He has never been here and there is a vibrant Italian community here,” said Chiocchetti, who was also responsible for Taffuri’s visit to Ciao Bella Winery as an example of an Italian entrepreneur who worked hard to create the winery.
“Italians and Canadians go all the way back to Giovani Caboto, misnamed John Cabot,” said Roberto Fiume, owner of Ciao Bella.
After introducing Taffuri and his wife to his family, Fiume offered them tastings of Ciao Bella’s 2018 Pinot Grigio, 2016 Pinot Rose, 2018 Pinot Rose and double gold winner 2016 Pinot Nero.
Along with local politicians, a number of Fiume’s neighbours came over for a casual afternoon of conversation, wine, food and music, giving an example of an authentic Italian family winery.
“It was amazing,” said Fiume. “It’s neat to have the recognition. We’re the outer limits of Italian culture and where it reaches.”