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Huge Turnout of Capitol Hill Staffers for Italian American Wine Tasting Competition


contact: Elissa Ruffino, 202-939-3106,


*Event Held in Cooperation with the New Italian American Congressional Staff Association*

(WASHINGTON, D.C.—July 31, 2015) More than 200 Capitol Hill staffers attended the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) Wine-Off Tasting event held in cooperation with the new Italian American Congressional Staff Association (IACSA). The event was held in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building on July 30, 2015.

NIAF’s leadership, including the Foundation’s President John M. Viola, Government Relations and Public Policy Committee Chair Mark Valente lll and Co-Chair John F. Calvelli, were joined by Board Member Anita Bevacqua McBride and Representative Eliot Engel of New York.

At the podium, Viola welcomed the enthusiastic staffers and guests, and was joined by Calvelli who said, “As a former Congressional staffer, I know how hard it can be to stay connected to your heritage. The partnership between the NIAF and the Italian American Staff Association is a welcome collaboration to bring the best of our Italian American culture to Capitol Hill.”

IACSA President Geoff Browning, who works for Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, credited his former colleague Ivana Brancaccio for initially bringing the association together. Browning noted that the response from staffers has been overwhelmingly positive and the association is not limited to Italian Americans.

Guests moved around the room to visit four tables serving American and Italian sparkling, red, white and dessert wines, and voted for their favorite wines at each station The wines served included Italian Prosecco by Zardetto; Italian Chianti imported by Ruffino; California Ravenswood Chardonnay; Italian San Pietro Alto Adige Pinot Grigio; Tabarrini Adarmando; Tabarrini Sagrantino; and Val Cerasa Etna Rosso 2008.

The wines were donated by Rodman’s, a Friendship Heights’s grocery and wine store; Via Umbria, an Italian import store in Georgetown; and Italian wine importer RWK Imports LLC in Front Royal, Va.

NIAF is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works closely in Washington, D.C., with the Italian American Congressional Delegation and The White House as a national voice of the Italian American community to promote stronger economic, social and cultural relations between Italy and the United States.  Our cornerstone programs include scholarships and grants to support educational and cultural activities at many colleges and universities.  For more information, visit