Castello Banfi has proven that it is possible to both spark a winemaking renaissance and maintain a leadership position as new names and styles raise the stakes. It redefined an obscure denomination and helped build its reputation as a leading ambassador of “Made in Italy”.
Teodolinda Banfi made history when she became the first layperson allowed to preside over the papal household of Pope Pius XI, whom she had known since childhood. But the influence of this stern woman and astute wine connoisseur went beyond the Vatican to inspire a business that repeatedly changed the wine world. Her gourmet selections greatly influenced her nephew, Giovanni Mariani, born in Connecticut but sent to Italy as a young boy to be raised after the tragic death of his father. In 1919 he returned to the US and took her name for his new business in New York: Banfi, an importer dedicated to the finest elements of Italian culture. He introduced America to the great wines of Italy, and later his sons John and Harry were determined to see Italy’s winemaking standards reach their fullest potential success. They brought a new generation of American consumers to Italian wine with a fresh version of a historic wine, Riunite Lambrusco. Their next step was to show the wine world how Italy could interpret classic varietal wines and compete with its own native varietals such as Sangiovese. They purchased mostly virgin land to plant their vines, and built a state of the art winery from scratch. They restored the medieval fortress at the heart of their property as a hospitality center. To make a more consistently outstanding Brunello di Montalcino, they undertook a 10-year study to isolate and propagate the clones of the Sangiovese grape that would endow Brunello with ideal structure, color and body. “All ships rise with the coming tide,” said Cristina Mariani-May, third generation family proprietor. “If our neighbors also make better Brunello, it is good for us, it is good for the community, it is good for all those who love fine wine.” Thanks to the Mariani family efforts, Brunello’s reputation surged; Banfi continues to lead in innovation and improvement that make wines more organically, healthful and expressing their unique sense of place. In return for its efforts, Castello Banfi is the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility as well as an international leader in customer satisfaction.
Castello di Poggio alle Mura
53024 Montalcino (SI)
Tel.: +39-0577 840111