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Andrea Sartori-Proprietor

andrea-sartoriAndrea is the great-grandson of Pietro Sartori, founder of the Sartori di Verona winery in 1898. Today one of the Veneto’s “Big Five” wine producers, Sartori has expanded significantly under Andrea’s leadership. As a testament to his reputation within the Italian wine industry, Andrea served an unprecedented two terms as president of Italy’s principal wine producers’ trade group, the Unione Italiana Vini (Italian Confederation of Vine & Wine), from 2004 through 2010. The UIV represents about 60% of the Italian wine industry. In his capacity as the owner of a major Italian winery, and former head of the UIV, Andrea maintains a global view of the wine business. “There is little demand for good quality wines. Today they have to be very good indeed!” Sartori dryly observes.

Andrea studied business at Verona’s University of Economia e Commercio and attended the Cuoa business school in Vicenza. He perfected his English at New York’s Columbia University. Upon his return, Andrea began selling Sartori wines in the Italian market, but soon expanded to US, Canadian and other European markets. In 2000, he was named President of Sartori di Verona.

Also in 2000, Sartori joined forces with Cantina Colognola to ensure a reliable supply of high-quality grapes. The high-profile enologist, Franco Bernabei, was recruited to consult in 2002. Venturing beyond the Veneto, Sartori now also markets and sells the wines of two other highlyrespected family-run estates: Cerulli Spinozzi in central Italy’s Abruzzo region, and Feudo Sartanna in Sicily.

Underlying this activity is extensive research conducted in partnership with the University of Verona’s Department of Agriculture. Since 2002, more than 2 million Euros have been spent on a complete analysis of all Sartori vineyard holdings. Andrea feels strongly that research is vital for both Sartori, and the Veneto region to enjoy a competitive edge in the global marketplace. This significant investment in the Veneto is just the beginning. The impact of climate change is evident, and, Sartori contends, must be addressed. One solution is to revive higher altitude plantings, for which Luca Sartori, Andrea’s brother and current president of the Valpolicella Consorzio, has successfully secured government funding.

Andrea’s work and his vision has made him an active member in a host of influential organizations: Assindustria in Verona; Confederazione della Vite e del Vino (former president); EME which organizes Simei — wine trade fairs (president); Premio Morsiani, which awards a yearly prize to wine personalities and university researchers (president); Federvini (former vice president); the marketing group Italia del Vino (board member); CEEV to lobby the EU in Brussels (former board member) and the Veronese bank Crever (board member). Andrea also
contributes to Corriere Vinicolo, the weekly journal of the UIV. His unusual combination of competitiveness, diplomacy and community leadership has made Andrea Sartori a popular, effective and well respected leader throughout the industry.

Franco Bernabei-Consulting Winemaker

franco-bernabi“My goal is to make wines that express ‘costanza’ – consistency from aroma to flavor to finish.” -Franco Bernabei.

Franco Bernabei is considered by many Italy’s foremost consulting enologist. Since 2002, he has quietly practiced his virtuoso brand of winemaking artistry at Sartori di Verona, where his initiatives are being credited for unprecedented new levels of quality at this well-known wine producer. Bernabei is an integral part of the Sartori winemaking team, and has been truly hands-on. In 2006, the family introduced a premium line of Veneto classics crafted by Bernabei under the I Saltari label (a winery located in the Mezzane Valley, east of Verona).

Born to a family of wine wholesalers near Padua in northeast Italy, Bernabei worked alongside his father from an early age, helping vinify wines distributed to several top hotel chains. By his early 20s, Bernabei had learned enough to formulate his own brand of winemaking philosophy, a development that led to a difference of opinion with his father, and a sudden move to Tuscany. As Bernabei puts it, “Tuscany offered immense possibilities for an adventurous young winemaker and fertile terrain for testing out new concepts.”

During a four-year apprenticeship at a leading Tuscan estate, the young winemaker’s initiatives helped catapult its wines into international awareness. Bernabei then began to his independent career as a consulting winemaker. Successful collaborations in Tuscany and elsewhere in Italy ensued. Predictability has no place in Bernabei’s approach to winemaking: “On the contrary,” he asserts, “I make it my mission to uncover the individual nature of every wine I work with, and give it self-expression,” adding, almost as a mantra: “And individuality begins in the soil.”

Bernabei is anything but a solo act and is a firm believer in teamwork. “My input is beneficial,” he will acknowledge, “but the human capital I work with is of critical importance.” Bernabei has been profoundly involved in reshaping existing Sartori wines and creating new releases, rising to the challenge set by owner Andrea, to realize the winery’s full potential. Judging by the approving response from critics and consumers alike, Bernabei’s input is having a very positive effect.

Roland Marandino-Brand Ambassador

rolandRoland Marandino is passionate about wine. His enthusiasm is contagious as he describes not only the wines he represents, but the role they can play in our lives. One of his recurring themes is that, for Italians, wine is food and consequently their wines are made not for the judges’ stand but for the dinner table. They are intended to complement a menu–not to dominate it.

Roland followed a somewhat circuitous path to the wine industry. He started his career as an academic with a doctorate in Renaissance English Literature. When he realized that a university career would not allow him to indulge some of his more worldly interests, — such as wine, food, travel, and opera, he left university life for the business world. He parlayed his talents for teaching and writing into a career as a technical writer, a skill that he then applied on his own behalf to share a passion for wine that he attributes to his father. Hoping to de-mystify the world of wine through clear and simple expression, he started and met the inter est of the internet’s young audience in affordable wines for everyday drinking. For example, his first feature, “Wines for Pizza” focused on reviewing selections that would provide ideal matches for this popular dish. He wanted people to have fun while they learned about wine and how to pair it with food. He acquired quite a following on the web and by the time he decided to turn the hobby into a full-time job, had almost 3,000 subscribers and 12,000 hits a day. He always tries to find a common ground with his audience and can therefore talk as comfortably to the wine novice as he does authoritatively to the oenophile – and always with sincerity and contagious passion.

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