Key Players

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Cristina Mariani-May

CMMCristina Mariani-May is the family proprietor of the internationally renowned Castello Banfi vineyard estate in Montalcino, Tuscany, and co-CEO of Banfi Vintners, a leading U.S. importer of fine wines. The youngest daughter of Banfi Chairman Emeritus, John F. Mariani, Jr., Ms. Mariani-May, together with her cousin James Mariani, represents the third generation of family leadership in the company founded by their grandfather, John Mariani, Sr. in 1919. Soon after completing her studies at Georgetown University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, Mariani-May joined Banfi in 1993.

Among the first of many forward-thinking initiatives introduced by Mariani-May was the creation of progressive new tracking and monitoring systems at Castello Banfi, designed to elevate performance and establish new goals in the fields of customer satisfaction, environmental responsibility and social responsibility. In 2006 those procedures were rewarded when Castello Banfi became the only winery in the world to achieve ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and SA 8000 certification acknowledging leadership in these areas. This accomplishment underlines the strategic long-term vision, coupled with an ability to execute, that characterize her management of Castello Banfi.

A “pursuit of excellence” serves as a personal mantra for Mariani-May. It extends to every aspect of her work, in particular her family’s wines and nowhere more so than with the Brunellos for which Castello Banfi is renowned. Enterprise and readiness to experiment also factor into Mariani-May’s leadership, as illustrated by the recent innovation of new hybrid fermentation tanks at Castello Banfi. Most winemakers are faced with a choice: ferment in wood for added richness and roundness, or use stainless steel for maximum freshness. Mariani-May has been the guiding hand behind the development of new hybrid fermenters, comprising a unique combination of a steel base and head and a wood middle section. Seven years of trial and experiment preceded the launch of the ne w,patented 4,600 gallon tanks (1/3 steel, 2/3 wood), which combine the best of both materials, balancing the flavor and aeration supplied by oak with the temperature control, ease of use and hygiene offered by stainless steel. Inaugurated in September 2007, 24 composite fermenters at Castello Banfi are currently used in the production of the estate’s Brunellos, Tuscan cuvées and singlevineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

Mariani-May’s immediate family includes her husband, Marshall May, and their three young children. A hands-on mother, she divides her time between Montalcino and Long Island, NY, home to Banfi Vintners. She freely admits that much of her best thinking comes during her early morning work-outs. An avid runner, in November 2010 Mariani-May completed the New York City Marathon in an impressive 3 hours 30 minutes (and 12 seconds). The virtues of self-discipline, determination and endurance demanded of a long-distance runner might equally well apply to a sustained and successful leadership role in business.

Alberto Lazzarino- Chief Winemaker, Banfi Piemonte

alberto-lazzarinoAlberto Lazzarino, has been principal wine maker at Banfi Piemonte since 2002. He was born in Turin, in the region of Piedmont, Italy. Mr. Lazzarino graduated from the Agricultural University of Alba, one of Italy’s – and the world’s — leading enological schools. Earning his degree required six years of study, including a two-year internship at a local winery where he became versed in all phases of the winemaking process.

One of his first positions was at the F.lli Martini cellar, followed by employment at Bersano winery, where he garnered invaluable experience in the vinification and bottling of typical Piemontese wines, such as Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, Gavi.

In 1994 he joined the Cantina S ociale of Maranzana (Asti, Piedmont), as Head of Production. Later he served as Head of Safety of Employees and as Manager of Quality and hygiene control. Today he directs the Banfi Piemonte cellar and enjoys a direct relationship with the Mariani family, proprietors of Banfi Vintners.

Luciano Castiello – Castello Banfi Brand Ambassador


Luciano Castiello is the official ambassador for Castello Banfi, Banfi Piemonte and Rosa Regale. Unofficially, he is the ambassador for Italy’smelody-filled, wine-charmed, “slow food” culture.

An industry veteran of over 30 years, Mr. Castiello leads sales of ultra premium wines to upscale restaurants and wine shops, focusing his efforts mainly in the leading metropolitan areas of the United States and the islands of the Caribbean, as well as international markets in conjunction with the Banfi sales team. As ambassador, Mr. Castiello is a passionate and inspiring spokesperson for these family wineries. The multi-lingual Mr. Castiello (he has fluent command of English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Punjabi and Creole) concentrates on building brands through personal contact with sommeliers and wine professionals, acting as a liaison between grower and consumer.

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