Frank Corr meets Banfi Ambassador
It’s a small world.
When I met up with Banfi Wines brand ambassador Dante Cecchini, in Bray this week, we went for a coffee to Carpe Diem, my very favourite coffee shop just off the seafront.
Before we even sat down, Dante was chatting in animated Italian to the barista . It turned out that they were both from the same town in Italy.
Eventually we got to talk about Banfi, one of the most interesting of American-Italian wine businesses, best known as the producer of ‘Reunuite’ Lambrusco, which has, for many decades been the biggest-selling imported red wine in the USA.
The business was founded in 1919 by John F Mariani Snr, just as New York went ‘dry’ under Prohibition and it was named after his aunt Teodolino Banfi. Almost out of business before it started, the fledgling wine importer survived Prohibition by importing spices but then got around to importing quality Italian wines. Sons John Jnr. and Harry expanded the portfolio by adding German, Swiss and French wines to the list, but with the launch of ‘Reunite’ the emphasis turned back to Italy.