Cristina 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.
Enrico Viglierchio – General Manger, Castello Banfi
Enrico Viglierchio was born in Savona, the provincial capital and key port city in Northwestern Italy’s Liguria region. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the “Universitàdegli Studi” in Genoa in 1990.
Mr. Viglierchio joined Banfi in 1998 to manage the vineyard and winery operations of Castello Banfi’s sister estate Vigne Regali Cellars, in Strevi, Piedmont. His tenure at Castello Banfi has been marked by implementation and execution of a forward-looking policy of opening new markets and expanding existing ones. His keen focus is on communicating and enhancing Castello Banfi’s prestige as Tuscany’s premier vineyard estate and its role as the “Builder of Brunello” as described by Wine Spectator Magazine. Under his direction, pioneering clonal research on the native Sangiovese vine was brought to fruition, and ground-breaking winemaking techniques such as hybrid wood and stainless steel fermentation vessels were developed. These and other key technological updates keep the winery at the cutting edge and affirms its “dedication to a finer wine world.” The team that Mr. Viglierchio leads, along with the proprietary partners who guide them, are young contemporaries, the second generation of Castello Banfi’s dynamic leadership. Their inspiration lies with visionary founding brothers John and Harry Mariani, who in their own turn brought the wine merchant interest founded by their father to unprecedented heights.
Rudy Buratti – Winemaker
Rudy Buratti has been part of the winemaking team at Castello Banfi for over 30 years, and its leader since 1999. Fittingly, one of his first duties at the renowned vineyard estate in Montalcino, Tuscany, was quality control. Today he oversees a team of nine managers and 50 cellar workers, and enjoys a direct rapport with the Mariani family proprietors of Castello Banfi. The family’s focus is on producing more organic wines that are lower in sulfites and histamines.
“With a constellation of single vineyards producing a range of innovative Super Tuscans as well as traditional Brunello di Montalcino,” notes Mr. Buratti, “quality control is fundamental to expressing our unique terroir, maintaining a consistent style and upholding the reputation that we have earned over the past three decades.” Buratti was part of the original team that isolated and registered 15 optimal clones of the Sangiovese vine to make consistently outstanding Brunello di Montalcino tailored to the micro-climate of the Castello Banfi estate, where he continues “zonation” studies designed at pairing grape varieties to ideal soils and sites on the domain. He is also a co-author, together with colleagues at Banfi and professors from the universities of Pisa and Milan, of the 444-page case study detailing Banfi’s research and development over the past three decades.
Most recently, Buratti led Castello Banfi through its third technological makeover since its dedication in 1984, overseeing development of a new micro-vinification area for the estate’s top wines, including the creation of new and innovative wood and steel fermentation tanks developed and patented by the Banfi winemaking team to incorporate the best features of each material. Buratti has also implemented a move away from filtration for Castello Banfi’s top estate wines and an upgrade of filtration systems for premium wines to enhance individual expression and flavor.
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.Print This Page